At United Way of the Bluegrass, we are currently celebrating our centennial year, 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.
We recently spoke with Mayor Tom Prather, the Mayor of Georgetown, a Board of Trustees Member and a longtime supporter to learn more about his role and relationship with United Way of the Bluegrass.
How do you work with United Way of the Bluegrass as the Mayor of Georgetown and what does your typical day look like as Mayor and while working with UWBG?
My work with United Way of the Bluegrass as Mayor is very much influenced by my work with United Way of the Bluegrass as a board member. I’ve worked on the board of Scott County’s United Way and served one term on the UWBG Board of Directors. That interaction gave me a better understanding of how well this organization works regionally. We really struggle in Central Kentucky to do things regionally as well as we might want to. Philanthropies like United Way of the Bluegrass lead the way in doing things on a regional basis. I think that helps influence my thinking, and I think it helps UWBG be a more effective and efficient organization.
How did the partnership between the City of Georgetown and United Way of the Bluegrass originate?
It originated out of need. We have so many social needs in our community and the government can do many of those things, but we cannot do them all. We desperately need non-profit partners, church partners and civic group partners to help us meet the total needs of the community. Since the City of Georgetown can’t be all things to all people, we rely on philanthropic organizations like United Way of the Bluegrass to perform very critical functions within our community when we are unable to do so as a local government.
How has United Way of the Bluegrass changed your life or how have you seen UWBG change the lives of others?
Serving as a United Way of the Bluegrass board member has had a very humbling effect on my life. I have a better understanding of the need that exists in our community and understand the remarkable efforts that nonprofit groups are making to address the needs of our citizens. From a personal point of view, the awareness has been helpful and the humbling effect is something that I’ve appreciated.
What I’ve seen United Way of the Bluegrass do for others' lives is so much more powerful. We see the number of people helped, the number of different causes of pain and discomfort in our community and the way those are addressed. When you put the names and human faces with those numbers, you know that those are citizens of Georgetown and Scott County that are receiving help that is essential to their well-being. That’s the powerful thing that I see, and that is far more important than what it means to me personally.
In your opinion, what positive change has United Way of the Bluegrass made in the Bluegrass over the past 100 years?
There are a great number of people and families that have been brought into self-sufficiency and are better able to care for themselves and their families because they were given assistance with the tools that were necessary. Tax assistance, education for job promotions, family literacy and the entire concept of self-sufficiency and how many people have been shown the uplifting nature of self-sufficiency and being able to provide for themselves is a wonderful gift that UWBG has given over and over again. I think that, multiplied by the thousands, would be the obvious thing for me.
If you were trying to convince someone to move to the Bluegrass area, how would you convince them?
I would have them visit and enjoy the beauty of the region. I’ve been told by a lot of corporate folks that Kentucky represents a personnel manager’s most difficult situation. Due to stereotypes, sometimes folks are reluctant to move to Kentucky or the Bluegrass. After they move here and they enjoy the quality of life and the types of relationships our people have, it’s hard to get them to move away and accept another assignment. I think simply visit here. Pick any one of the four seasons to visit the Bluegrass and you’ll be convinced it’s a beautiful place to live.
What is your favorite local restaurant in the Bluegrass area?
I would have to mention Rodney's on Broadway. Chef Rodney and his wife Elizabeth do an outstanding job and it is a wonderful restaurant. Justin Thompson and his wife own Local Feed. Both are distinctly different restaurants, are independent and are in Georgetown. I would invite any of my friends to try them. If you just wanted a good sandwich at a brewery, Country Boy's Kitchen is awfully good as well.
Thank you for being such a strong part of UWBG, Mayor Tom Prather! We appreciate you and all that you've done and continue to do.
“We sometimes get discouraged by watching the evening news or with the magnitude of problems we tend to see, but what we have is the ability to get engaged locally, make a difference locally and in our region through United Way of the Bluegrass.” ~Mayor Tom Prather
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!