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 Paige Bensing, a Lexmark employee, former YLS member, current Women United member, volunteer and longtime supporter.
What is your current or former role within UWBG and what does a typical day look like in this role?
I initially got involved with United Way because of Lexmark being a main corporate partner. Lexmark really encourages volunteer hours. Every year we would volunteer with a local agency. Then I heard about the Get on Board program. I liked it because I didn’t feel like I knew what was required to sit on a nonprofit board, or that I knew the right people or had anything to offer. This program gave me the feeling that I did have something to offer and that my perspective and skillset was important to round out typical non-profit boards. This encouraged me to get involved with many different boards and I enjoy contributing at that level. Currently, I am most involved with Women United.
I’m an engineer. I like process, structure and strategic planning. That has been a big focus that I’ve cultivated and grown over time. With Women United and the Young Leaders Society, I like the hands-on volunteering pieces like Sweet Dreams and making valentines one year. Anytime we get to get in there and make a small difference is always nice.
I like that United Way has connections with so many different agencies. You get to see your contributions in a lot of different ways. I’m a very curious person, so I like to know all the different things going on and how they are affecting people positively. Between many things, United Way of the Bluegrass has sucked me in.
What is your favorite project that you have worked on with UWBG or that you have seen UWBG work on?
There are so many that have had so many cool impacts. The easiest one for me to remember is Sweet Dreams. We’ve done it multiple years. I’m a huge reader and I love that students get a book as a special holiday gift. If I had to pick a favorite off the top of my head, it would have to be Sweet Dreams.
If you were encouraging someone to get involved with UWBG, what would you encourage them to do throughout their time with UWBG, or what advice would you give them?
I would tell someone to take advantage of the exposure you get to so many different local programs and nonprofits across the region. Since I moved here from Chicago, I didn’t know the area very well, and I didn’t know what the local non-profits were. Being able to get the exposure was really beneficial to me. United Way can help you see all of the needs across Central Kentucky. No one organization can attack all of those issues and needs alone, so it is important to help facilitate those that know what needs to be done, so they can focus on solutions. I would encourage people to take advantage of all that United Way has to offer in that way.
In your opinion, what positive change has UWBG made in the Bluegrass over the last 100 years?
It’s probably not easily quantifiable. I think they touch so many different areas. I like the focus on education, finance, and helping people succeed on their own. I would like to get involved with the free tax preparation program they offer every year. Making sure people get their tax return brings more money to the area that can be spent in the local economy. There are so many different layers of goodness by helping. There are so many different things that add up that it’s hard to quantify the biggest positive change.
If you were trying to convince someone to move to the Bluegrass area, how would you convince them?
I moved here from the Chicago area. I really like how easy it is to get out in the country. The weather is way better than up north. I think Lexington, in particular, has the beauty of big city things with a small city life. I also enjoy the southern hospitality. There’s a lot of things that make the Bluegrass area extra special
What is your favorite place and thing to do in the Bluegrass?
It has changed over time. I’m a big escape room fan. My family enjoys hiking, so we like to go to Red River Gorge, Raven Run and the Pinnacles. We’ll go anywhere we can find nice waterfall hikes.
"United Way is approaching things the right way and really making a difference." ~ Paige Bensing
Thank you for being such a strong part of UWBG, Paige! We appreciate you and all that you've done.
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!