At United Way of the Bluegrass, we are 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.
Recently, we interviewed the President of United Way of Kentucky, Kevin Middleton, to learn more about his role and relationship with United Way of the Bluegrass.
What is your current or former involvement with United Way of the Bluegrass and what does a typical day in this role look like?
I am the President of United Way of Kentucky, the state membership association for the 21 local United Ways across the Commonwealth. Each day, I develop and execute opportunities to provide resources to the United Way network, from public policy, to funding, to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, to board development and community engagement.
What made you want to get involved with United Way?
United Way is the big player. It’s the organization that stands at the intersection of government, non-profits, corporations and community leaders to bring all of their expertise and knowledge of the most challenging problems in any given community. To me, United Way is the only organization that has the type of mission and reach to be able to convene partnerships that help with the very difficult challenges that we face in the local communities and move the needle to make an impact. United Way brings together leaders to determine what it is that’s standing in the way of success for individuals and families and knock it down so individuals and families can get ahead.
What is your favorite memory with United Way of the Bluegrass?
Five or six years ago, for a couple of years running, United Way of the Bluegrass hosted the “Night to Unite” event that brought together community leaders, media outlets and organizations from across the region to shine a light on community needs and the amazing work happening in Lexington. There was a preliminary event held with a silent auction to raise funds for their important community services. That night, they had live music playing, and my wife and I had the chance to enjoy a night of swing dancing while celebrating the mission of United Way.
If you were encouraging someone to get involved with United Way of the Bluegrass, what would you encourage them to do throughout their time with United Way of the Bluegrass, or what advice would you give them?
I have heard questions like this before – and I always say to dive in and check out the work. The amazing thing about the United Way mission - from Lexington to Nashville to Dallas to Albuquerque and everywhere in between, is that there is a place for people to commit to their passion. United Way is here to improve lives and strengthen communities. If you care about kids or families, public policy, food insecurity, education or health, you have a place with United Way and we need you to help us move the needle on initiatives right in your neighborhood.
In your opinion, what positive change has United Way of the Bluegrass made in the Bluegrass over the past 100 years?
United Way of the Bluegrass stands at the intersection of community leaders, corporations, nonprofits, and governments to bring together the goodwill, generosity and expertise of the community, to elevate the voices of the underprivileged and people in need and move them from where they are today to achieving their full potential. There’s nothing more powerful than that.
What do you think is the most special thing about United Way of the Bluegrass?
United Way of the Bluegrass is a driver of innovation in Kentucky’s United Way network. Whether through their leadership role statewide in taking on 211 expansion to 62 additional counties over the last year, or their local spearheading of the WayPoint Center strategy, transforming human services in the Central Kentucky region, United Way of the Bluegrass is a thought leader and champion for Kentucky families.
What if your favorite local restaurant in the Bluegrass area?
I like Zen Sushi and Sake Bar on Lakecrest Circle.
If you were trying to convince someone to move to the Bluegrass area, how would you convince them?
If you are passionate about your hometown, love local sports, are a foodie and can’t get enough of restaurants and nightlife, an advocate for families or if you are just seeking a great education, the Bluegrass area is the place for you.
Thank you for being such a strong part of UWBG, Kevin! We appreciate you and all that you've done.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to share your nomination!