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 Janet Beard, who is a former member of the UWBG Board of Directors.
What is your role with UWBG?
I am a past Board member of United Way. When I was on the Board, I had the opportunity to serve on a couple of committees as well. I helped provide financial education through UWBG’s partnerships in the community.
What did this role include? What would a normal day look like for you?
We would have monthly board meetings, various committee meetings and volunteer work aligned with those committees. I would work on financial education, evening events, teach classes at the library and volunteer with other nonprofit organizations.
Can you tell me about the partnership between UWBG and WesBanco?
We’re committed to serving the communities that we live and work in, and are passionate about the time, talent and treasures we give to United Way. We have an employee who is currently serving on UWBG’s Board. Another employee has helped coordinate golf outings and other events with United Way. Our employees also volunteer with UWBG agencies on the outside.
We also had a group of employees collect toiletry items and assemble care packages that were given to a women’s shelter as a part of UWBG’s Share Your 24 initiative. Every employee is encouraged to support United Way through our annual workplace giving campaign. United Way is important to the bank and shared with all of our employees.
What do you think is the most special thing about UWBG?
The most special thing about UWBG is that they are bridge builders and they are good at it! They are very strategic at building bridges and forming partnerships to make a lasting difference in our community.
In your opinion, what positive change has UWBG made in the Bluegrass over the past 100 years?
Each year, many low-income families are charged hundreds of dollars to have someone prepare and file their taxes for them. But with CKEEP, it’s free! CKEEP, which offers free tax preparation and filing for low-income individuals and families, is one of my favorite programs under the UWBG umbrella. Many low-income families across Kentucky are leaving the Earned Income Tax Credit on the table, which allows families to keep much-needed dollars in their household.
I went back and looked, and last tax season, CKEEP brought back over 4 million dollars to the Bluegrass. CKEEP has changed lives by helping people save more so they can put a down payment on a home. It has made a difference for thousands of Kentuckians.
What’s your favorite place in the Bluegrass?
I was born and raised in Winchester, so the Bluegrass has always been home. I’d say that Lexington is probably my favorite place in the Bluegrass, mainly because it has the best restaurants and shopping, but there are also so many beautiful things here like the Horse Park. It’s also centrally located. If you’re driving to and from the area, there’s just such beautiful scenery.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bluegrass?
About five years ago, my husband and I became empty nesters and started biking. The Legacy Trail is probably our favorite place to go since it’s paved and peaceful. It’s just a safe and fun way for us to get out, relax, and get some exercise.
Thank you for being such a strong part of UWBG, Janet! 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!