As the Thanksgiving and holiday seasons approach, they bring with them a spirit of thoughtful reflection and generosity—a timely reminder to consider giving back to our communities in a meaningful way. There is no better opportunity for Centre faculty and staff to rise to this occasion than during the College’s annual Heart of Kentucky United Way (HKUW) campaign, this year guided by the theme of “thoughtful giving.”
The campaign officially launched with a breakfast at Cowan Dining Commons on Nov. 5th, when Centre faculty and staff gathered to learn more about the campaign and the work of HKUW, an organization that serves more than 30 agencies and impacts the lives of thousands in Boyle, Garrard, Mercer and Lincoln counties each year.
Sallie Bright, Centre’s performing arts coordinator and chair of the campus United Way committee, explains that this year’s theme of thoughtful giving not only dovetails nicely with the holiday season—a time when we take stock of all for which we have to be thankful—but also challenges participants to give sincere and thoughtful consideration to levels of giving.
“If you’ve been giving $10 or $100 or $1,000, we want you to think carefully about that amount and look in your heart and your checkbook to see if you are able to do a little more,” she explains. “We’re asking you to look at the list of agencies funded by our United Way and to think honestly about giving.”
Bright, who has served on the HKUW campus committee for five years, finds great meaning in the mission of HKUW.
“I totally agree with their slogan, ‘Think We Before Me,'” she says. “When we all work together for a common good, things get done. People have better lives—not only those who need help but those of us who are able to help them. It is not just my duty but also my pleasure to join all the other folks who have become part of filling those needs.”
Bright stresses that this year’s ambitious fundraising goal of $50,000 is very feasible for Centre, whose previous $39,000 total came from just 29 percent of the faculty and staff, as well as a $3,100 leadership match from members of the College administration. This year, the campus committee hopes to inspire those who have not previously donated to give, no matter what the amount.
“It’s easy to forget that there are people around us, right here in the four counties served by HKUW, who suffer every day,” Bright explains. “Families who struggle to buy a Thanksgiving meal; elderly men and women who are alone and sick with no family to care for them; children with disabilities who struggle to learn. What would these people do without organizations like Salvation Army, Heritage Hospice and the Child Development Center? These are only three of the more than 30 agencies a donation to HKUW will benefit. These agencies are contributing to lasting change in our communities. We should all be a part of that.”
As part of the campaign, a Favors Auction will be held Nov. 25th, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Nichols Dining Room. Traditionally, faculty and staff offer up certain services, such as car washes or meals, either at homes or at a restaurant. Different campus offices and departments also make gift baskets for the auction. Students are the primary bidders on such items, allowing them to make a contribution to HKUW as well.
The Favors Auction is managed by members of Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. Last year, the event raised $4,200, which, when added to the $39,000 total from faculty and staff, resulted in an all-time high fundraising amount for the College. This year promises to be equally if not more fruitful. Luke Wetton ’15 explains how DKE came to partner with HKUW.
“Our chapter has worked with a number of different organizations, but we really wanted to find a single organization that we could tie ourselves to,” he says. “DKE International has philanthropic programs, but we wanted something local—something where we could actually see the results of our philanthropic effort. HKUW was the obvious choice. No other organization in Kentucky provides so much support for individual people, families and other smaller support organizations.”
Trina Kern, resource development director at HKUW, remains appreciative of the campus-wide effort to give.
“Centre is a place where folks tend to understand that the behaviors and struggles of one or a group of community-members affects the whole,” she says. “This is a place where people stand beside one another and hold one another up when necessary. Their gifts extend that sense of community beyond the campus.
“Because of Centre’s gifts,” she adds, “someone across town who may never even visit the College can be lifted up to a better life, creating a better community for all of us.”
For more information on levels of giving or participating in the HKUW campaign on Centre’s campus, contact Committee Chair Sallie Bright. Pledge forms may be given to Meredith Sizemore in Human Resources. To learn more about the local work of HKUW, visit their website or contact the local office at (859) 238-6986.
Dr. John Wilson explains why thoughtful giving to HKUW is important to him and his family.
By Mariel Smith and Amy Wise