Centre invests in community through Heart of Kentucky United Way campaign

Posted by Centre News in Campus, Community Service, News 04 Nov 2014

unitedwayThe mission of the Heart of Kentucky United Way (HKUW) complements a resounding sense of community and service on Centre College’s campus. This connection also underscores a longstanding relationship with the organization, as the College launches its annual campaign throughout the month of November to benefit HKUW—a meaningful investment that promotes positive change and profoundly impacts lives of those in need.

The campaign officially launched with a breakfast in Cowan Dining Commons on Nov. 4, during which Centre faculty and staff learned more about HKUW’s dedication to making real, lasting change in the local community. HKUW supports 28 community partners that oversee more than 40 programs seeking to improve health, income and education for thousands of people in Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties. These programs strive to help children and youth reach their potential; promote financial stability and independence; and increase access to quality healthcare. HKUW funds agencies that consistently produce tangible, long-term change for the better and include the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center, Centro Latino, Habitat for Humanity, Heritage Hospice and Wilderness Trace Child Development Center, among many others.

The connections between HKUW and Centre College run deep. Five Centre alumni—Director of Counseling Services Kathy Miles ’71, Paige Stevens ’71, John Rodes ’80, Aaron Rowland ’01 and Charlie Boyd ’06—serve on HKUW’s board of directors. Many faculty and staff regularly participate in HKUW’s community investment process, in which funded partners are carefully selected by a diverse group of community members. Current Centre students, most notably Bonner Scholars and the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity, are highly involved in volunteer and fundraising efforts for HKUW and its partners.

In addition, recent Centre graduate Jordan Shewmaker ’14 now serves as HKUW’s resource development director and says he prizes these close ties to the College.

“Centre is important to our organization in a lot of ways,” he says. “We rely on volunteers for their talent as well as the College’s participation in our campaign.”

All of the money HKUW raises stays in the community, and Shewmaker notes that making positive change is a responsibility shared by everyone.

“We all have a role to play in our communities and we all have a vested interest in making sure we live and work in a community that is safe and healthy and vibrant,” he says. “We have an opportunity to create change right here, and that is what is most powerful to me.”

For the members of DKE, doing their part for HKUW is about showing their gratitude to the Danville community. This past academic year the fraternity raised $11,794.67 for HKUW through events such as the Lion Chili Cook-off and the Favors Auction. According to the chapter’s philanthropy chair Tanner Lyons ’16, DKE plans to top last year’s total and has set a goal to raise $13,000. They will once again host the Favors Auction to support HKUW, which will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 12, in the Nichols Dining Room of Cowan. Among this year’s exciting auction items are a University of Kentucky football signed by head football coach Mark Stoops; reserved parking spots around campus; dinner with the Roushes; and paintings by H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor Ken Keffer.

The College’s campaign will run until Wednesday, Dec. 3, ending with the Piece O’ Pie Wrap-Up event from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Ewen Room of the Campus Center. Donors are invited to bring in their HKUW pledge forms and enjoy a free slice of pie.

Shewmaker adds that when deciding whether or not to give, it’s important to remember that more often than not everyone is touched by the work of HKUW.

“We have such a diverse group of programs that serve so many different people that it’s likely that people at Centre who invest will have their investment paid back to them,” he says.

For more information on levels of giving or participating in the HKUW on Centre’s campus, contact Committee Chair Sallie Bright at sallie.bright@centre.edu or 859.238.5424. Pledge forms may be given to Meredith Sizemore in Human Resources.

View the complete list of HKUW’s 2015 funded community partners.

To learn more about HKUW, visit their website or contact Jordan Shewmaker at jshewmaker@hkuw.org or 859.238.6986.

by Caitlan Cole