Over the course of 2021, we will feature 100 Heroes who have been instrumental in our fight for the basic needs, education and financial stability of our neighbors for the past century. To learn more about how we are continuing to serve the Bluegrass in 2021, click here.
Today we are interviewing Donna Crain Drury, who is a member of our hardworking Anderson County Board of Trustees, a volunteer with our RSVP Trailblazers program and long-time supporter of our mission.
What is your role with UWBG?
I serve on the UWBG Board of Trustees here in Anderson county where I do fundraising with our board, at least before the pandemic hit, and just try to be an ambassador for United Way. I like to spread the word about UWBG with other people, not just my friends. I also work as a volunteer in the Trailblazer program that United Way sponsors, where I go into the schools and work with children who are struggling with academics.
What did this role include? What would a normal day look like for you?
This includes numerous activities and responsibilities. One is meeting regularly with our board members, although it’s been difficult to meet in person lately. At those meetings we brainstorm and plan for ways that United Way can improve our community in areas such as youth community development, education and volunteering. We also work together on fundraising. I always want to make sure we can get as much money as possible donated to United Way and enable our community to be blessed with maximum financial support.
Another part of being on the Board of Trustees that I think is very important is using my voice and social media to advocate for sharing the positive work that UWBG does in our community. I think this has a positive impact on the residents here. Many people in our county know of United Way, but don’t know exactly what they do, so I use my voice as an advocate for that.
What do you think is the most special thing about UWBG?
I think there are so many special things about UWBG. First, I read on the internet that United Way is labeled as a “fighting agency”. That really appeals to me as a citizen because I’m kind of a fighter as well. I always want to make things better and help everyone in any way that I can. Anderson county has a reputation of being strong and very supportive of our people in need. We’re small, but we’re known for having a big heart. People are willing to give in any way that we can, and United Way does that too. They help in areas like basic needs in day-to-day life, education and community growth.
I also think UWBG is a strong leader and motivator for change. That’s something I’ve learned since I got involved. They work on long-term solutions and help communities work to improve how things are, helping us be stronger and fight harder for the underdogs in our community. I focus on that a lot whenever I’m talking to organizations or groups of people about UWBG. They are more than just an agency over in Lexington - they fight to make life better for people all through central Kentucky.
“Having lived in poverty at one point in time, I have a passion for what the United Way is doing to break the cycles of poverty. It’s a rough life and I think unless someone has lived it, it’s hard to understand. I think what UWBG is doing in regards to education, preventing high school dropouts, empowering people who are struggling with everyday needs by helping them get employment and resources is a wonderful thing. That’s something that’s close to my heart.” - Donna Crain Drury
In your opinion, what positive change has UWBG made in the Bluegrass over the past 100 years?
I wish I knew everything that has happened over the past 100 years! There are so many things UWBG has done that mean so much. One positive thing is the community grants that United Way provides that are such a blessing for our community. I’m a grant writer, so I was able to help some organizations here get grants from UWBG.
Another positive change has been the 211 contact center, which is a lifesaver for people who don’t know where to turn for help. People will come to different organizations to get help, but unfortunately it’s often not enough. I’ve had numerous people reach out to me and ask how to get help, and I tell them to call 211. 211 connects them to who they need to talk to.
The newly created Coronavirus Response Fund that focuses on central and eastern Kentucky is also a great thing. Fundraising and donations that come through this fund are for rapid response grants that help provide support for vulnerable people. I encourage people to make donations to this fund because it reaches so many people who need it. This is just another way that UWBG is fighting for the betterment of people and their communities which I think is a wonderful thing right now.
What’s your favorite place in the Bluegrass?
Anywhere out in the country where the beauty of God can be enjoyed. I grew up on a farm with a big house over 200 years old. That was one of the most wonderful parts of my life. I’m a country girl at heart, and like to spend time walking out in the country or just sitting in the outdoors - whether it’s by a pond, lake or out in the woods. That’s where I feel closest to God. I can talk to Him about everything, personal or pandemic-related, and I think that’s really important during this time of struggling.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bluegrass?
As I’ve gotten older, I began to enjoy traveling to other communities, far away or nearby. I like to get in the midst of everything, learn what they have going on and how they live. I like to discover how they may be similar to or different from our community in Anderson county. I like to get out and go to the communities where there are lots of things going on - I especially enjoy festivals.
I’ve also gotten to the point where I really like old architecture. I like to visit different courthouses around the Bluegrass area and see how it compares to ours, although I think the Anderson county courthouse is the most beautiful. I think it’s fascinating how lifestyles can be so different from county to county.
“I recently read a quote about UWBG that said: ‘United Way is meeting the needs of today while reducing the needs of tomorrow by focusing on education, income and health in central Kentucky.’ I think that sums up why United Way is being celebrated for all the important work that they have done for the past 100 years. I speak on behalf of the Anderson county Board of Trustees when I say that we are very proud to be a part of United Way and even more proud to be a part of this year’s Centennial celebration.” - Donna Crain Drury
Thank you for being such a strong part of UWBG, Donna! We appreciate you and all that you do.
Do you know someone who has worked alongside United Way of the Bluegrass in the past century who should be considered for our 100 Heroes series? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your nomination!