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In Memory of Samuel “Sam” Barnes -

United Way of the Bluegrass (UWBG) is currently celebrating our centennial year, and are highlighting 100 Heroes who have been important in our fight for the basic needs, education and financial stability of our neighbors over the past century.

Today we are remembering Samuel “Sam” Barnes, a former Board Chair and Campaign Chair.

Sam Barnes used his success and experience to give back to the Central Kentucky community in many ways. Mr. Barnes held numerous leadership roles with UWBG, including Board Chair and Campaign Chair, as well as chairman of the Tocqueville society. He also served as Chair for The Sanders Brown Center on Aging Foundation and LexArts, and in various board leadership roles for many other organizations during his tenure as president of Fifth Third Bank.

In 2003 UWBG presented Mr. Barnes with the Outstanding Kentucky Volunteer Award, and in 2013 established the Samuel G. Barnes Outstanding Workplace Campaign Award. This award is given annually to an organization that runs an extraordinary workplace campaign that involves new ideas, participation and growth over time.

Sam valued the importance of community and his strong leadership inspired giving and engagement across multiple organizations. Samuel G. Barnes passed away in July 2010 and was survived by many loving family members and friends including his wife, sons, sister, and grandchildren.

We celebrate Sam’s lasting legacy and are thankful for the support he gave to United Way and to many other organizations across the Bluegrass.

To learn more about how we are continuing to serve the Bluegrass in 2021, click here.
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 to share your nomination!

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