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Palmer Pharmacy Building Will Soon House Newest WayPoint Center

United Way of the Bluegrass (UWBG) is honored to announce that the Marksbury Family Foundation has committed the lead gift for the newest WayPoint Center, located in the former Palmer Pharmacy building in the East End of Lexington. To commemorate this investment, the newest Center will be named the “Marksbury Family WayPoint Center at the Historic Palmer Pharmacy” upon its anticipated opening in Fall 2023.


This investment is the largest program-based grant in United Way’s 102-year history. “The Marksbury name is synonymous with thoughtful generosity,” said Matt Briggs, Vice President of Development for UWBG. “Their family continually looks for ways to help strengthen our community. We are proud, and excited, that they see the tremendous value in assisting United Way of the Bluegrass to better serve our neighbors through the Marksbury Family WayPoint Center at the Historic Palmer Pharmacy Building. This partnership joins two organizations making powerful impacts in the lives of Central Kentuckians who need it most. We are grateful to the Marksbury family for their generosity and trust.”


The Marksbury Family Foundation invests in innovative projects that provide sustainable and measurable growth for individuals, communities, and local economies. They do this by partnering and collaborating with leading non-profit organizations to design new, financially self-sustaining projects like the WayPoint initiative. “We at the Marksbury Family Foundation take pride in partnering with United Way of the Bluegrass, an organization with a long standing and well-established reputation in Central Kentucky,” said Marksbury Family Foundation President Logan Marksbury. “We are excited to see the restoration of the Palmer Pharmacy, which will highlight the incredible work of Dr. Zirl Palmer and bring his life story back to the surface of Lexington, where it belongs. We are also looking forward to witnessing the impact that moving the East End’s Neighborhood WayPoint Center to a larger, more centrally located building, will have on the neighborhood. We are excited to have the opportunity to have a part in United Way of the Bluegrass’ acquisition of a permanent space for the WayPoint Center and hope this grant will be a catalyst for other foundations to invest in permanent WayPoint center locations in Central Kentucky.”


United Way’s objective for its WayPoint Initiative is to create an access point for families and individuals, and to provide vital programming to people living in underserved neighborhoods and communities of color, whereby promoting and growing resiliency in these areas. Each WayPoint Center brings together the region’s most effective nonprofit, government, and business organizations to leverage their strengths against our community’s biggest issues.


“United Way of the Bluegrass and the City of Lexington have been working together to find a way to breathe new life into the former Palmer Pharmacy located in Lexington’s historic East End,” said UWBG President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy Johnson. “This building has a rich history that we want to ensure stays intact and true to its past as a community resource and jewel of the East End of Lexington. This space will go from an abandoned building to a busy community hub, with nonprofit partners and other stakeholders at the ready to serve our community.”


In addition to the hallmark social services found at WayPoint Centers, the renovated building will also include community meeting space, offices, and more. This newest WayPoint Center will also serve as a place to memorialize Dr. Zirl Palmer Sr. and his accomplishments and contributions to the Lexington community.


With this renovation, UWBG will be able to move the East End WayPoint Center from one room in the Charles Young Center to a permanent home of over 3,000 square feet. “Being able to own a space and move permanently into this neighborhood will not only allow us to serve the members of our community more effectively, but also to become a true part of the East End. We hope to build upon the trust and rapport with our new neighbors that has started in the Charles Young Center and work with the community to ensure that everyone has the tools they need to grow and thrive right here in our neighborhood,” said Gerri Botts, Director, WayPoint Initiative.


United Way of the Bluegrass opened their first WayPoint Center in the West End on July 1, 2021, and has since expanded into two additional spaces, one in the East End of Lexington (Charles Young Center) and one in Paris, KY (Paris-Bourbon County YMCA). UWBG has been a convener, collaborator, and catalyst for change and impact in Central Kentucky for over 100 years. Each day, they fight for the education, financial stability, and health and basic needs of every person in the ten counties they represent: Anderson, Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Jessamine, Madison, Montgomery, Scott, and Woodford. UWBG has developed systems to evaluate the quality and success of the programs and partners that their investors help fund, so they can be assured that their dollars will have maximum impact.


To learn more about the WayPoint Initiative, visit our website at www.uwbg.org/waypoint. To learn how you or your business can sponsor a WayPoint Center, contact Matt Briggs, VP of Resource Development, at matt.briggs@uwbg.org.

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