Over the course of 2021, we are featuring 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.
What is your role with UWBG?
I have been on the Board of Directors at UWBG for three or four years. I am currently the Vice Chair of the Board and will be the Chairperson starting this summer. This is very exciting because we have the Centennial, a big fundraising campaign and the launch of our WayPoint centers coming up. It’s a wonderful time to be involved and really make a difference in our communities.
I’m also a member of the Tocqueville Society. I’ve been involved with the Board of Directors for the United Way of Brown County in Wisconsin, and was a part of the United Way of Central Ohio, so I’ve been involved with multiple United Way organizations over the past fifteen years.
What does this role include? What would a normal day look like for you?
In my current role, I attend all of the board meetings and stay current with UWBG’s initiatives. More importantly, I help Timothy Johnson in his community outreach and support him in his fundraising development efforts. We want to educate other business leaders in the community about United Way’s mission and encourage them to support our efforts so we can have a bigger impact in the community.
Can you describe the partnership between UWBG and Valvoline?
I am Valvolvine’s Chief Financial Officer and we have had a very long relationship with United Way. Valvoline is committed to providing support to the communities where we live and work. We do this in multiple ways, including supporting United Way and the community agencies that they collaborate with. We work to provide safety nets to those most in need in our community and help determine the root cause of those needs. That’s really what UWBG’s WayPoint initiative is all about - serving those in our community with the greatest need. Valvoline has been a part of United Way’s annual campaign for many years and will continue to do so.
When UWBG partnered with the Bluegrass Community Foundation to form the Coronavirus Response Fund, Valvoline was one of the first business sponsors to support the initiative. We were very much involved in driving leadership from other businesses in the ten counties that UWBG serves to support the overall Coronavirus Response Fund, which successfully raised over a million dollars to help those in need in our community who were most affected by the pandemic.
What do you think is the most special thing about UWBG?
I think the most special thing is its people and its ability to bring community partners together to have a bigger impact on the communities we serve. Whether it’s their donors, partner agencies or other interest groups that are serving people in need, United Way is in a really unique position to drive a stronger collective impact from bringing those people together. I think that’s what makes United Way so unique and special.
In your opinion, what positive change has UWBG made in the Bluegrass over the past 100 years?
They have provided safety nets to those in our community who are most in need and have been able to address the root causes of some of the underlying challenges we have in the community. Because of this, they have been able to fundamentally drive change in order to reduce the number of people in need in our community. I think this has made a meaningful difference in the lives of many people and I’m really excited about the future and what we can do to serve our communities moving forward. UWBG is uniquely positioned to be able to make the community where we live and work much better for all members of the community, regardless of where they are in their lives today.
What’s your favorite place in the Bluegrass?
I love my drive in to work where I get to see all the beautiful horse farms. I live a little bit out of town, so I get to see the different seasons with the horse farms. It’s just a beautiful part of the world.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bluegrass?
I love going to Keeneland to see the races. I’m somewhat new to the Bluegrass area and in the last five years have been introduced to thoroughbred racing. This is very interesting and exciting to me, so I love to visit Keeneland.
“Kudos to Timothy Johnson and his team for preparing UWBG for the next 100 years! We’re celebrating a big anniversary this year, but the really important work we’re doing is determining how we can impact the communities we serve moving forward. So I'm very excited to be playing a role in supporting the team and the work that United Way will be doing to help the communities moving forward. It’s about the future and how we can collectively make a difference in our communities.” -Mary Meixelsperger
Thank you for being such a strong part of UWBG, Mary! 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!