Our Mission is simple, but powerful. United Way of the Bluegrass wants everyone in Central Kentucky to have the opportunity to live their best lives.
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United Way, Lexington, Bluegrass, Education, Basic Needs, Human Services, Financial Stability, LIVE UNITED, It Matters
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100 Midland Ave Suite 300
Lexington, KY 40508 USA
Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (S01)
Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (P01)
IRS Filing Requirement
This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.
How does this organization make a difference?
United Way of the Bluegrass is a leader and motivator of change for long-term solutions for Central Kentucky communities. We have a Big Bold Goal of moving 10,000 more families in the Bluegrass to self-sufficiency by 2020. This is a community goal and one that will be accomplished together. United Way is committed to four key drivers for community and economic success: Basic Needs, School Readiness, Student Success and Financial Stability. This change in approach has fostered a great deal of cooperation and innovation in the community. We have established systems to evaluate and measure the quality and impact of the programs we invest in. This functional shift in our operation has made it possible for us to be more mindful to all of our constituents. Donors can be assured their dollars have the maximum impact on the community and are being used in accordance with their wishes. Those seeking services can be confident that programs affiliated with United way of the Bluegrass are monitored for maximum effectiveness. Join us and invest in your community through United Way of the Bluegrass.
What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?
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United Way 2-1-1 an easy to remember three-digit phone number that connects callers with important services like food, shelter and counseling. 2-1-1 receives more than 23,000 calls annually, connecting those in need with vital assistance.
Each day, thousands of Central Kentuckians search for information about health and human services such as food, shelter, medical care, substance abuse treatment, protection from domestic violence or disaster relief - the list is endless. While nonprofit and government services are ready to help, the large number of providers - with more than 1,000 different telephone numbers - makes it hard to find the right place quickly. The result is often repeated calls and frustration.But, not anymore.2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember phone number that connects people with the help they need. It's accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in more than 150 languages.
The benefits of 2-1-1 are obvious: providing those in the Bluegrass with a simple and centralized way to access local social service information. There are also direct benefits to companies as well. United Way 2-1-1 extends employee assistance services at no cost to the company. It provides a time-saving information resource for human resource professionals. Because 2-1-1 connects employees with solutions to personal and family issues, it can reduce absenteeism. Uninsured workers can find free or sliding scale services to help them stay healthy - and on the job. And a quick call to 2-1-1 during tax season could help employees find out if they qualify for he Earned Income Tax Credit which would mean a thirteen percent increase in their average pay.
2-1-1 touches the lives of every person in the community. Whether you are in a situation where you need help or find yourself in a situation to give help, 2-1-1 is always there. United Way 2-1-1 maintains the integrity of the 9-1-1 system, saving that vital community resource for life-and-death emergencies. And for United Way and other community organizations, 2-1-1 is a useful planning tool. Based on aggregate data about the types of calls that the 2-1-1 center receives, United Way is in a better position to anticipate demand for services and mobilize resources to meet changing needs.
Back On Track
Back On Track is designed to help hardworking individuals succeed by matching savings 2-to-1 through Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Simply by saving $2,000 to use toward purchasing an asset such as buying a first home or going to school, an individual could receive an additional $4,000! It's not a loan - it's the participant's money to use.
United Way works with participants to build assets through free tax preparation and filing, financial education classes, access to financial assistance programs and much more. With a little help, these hardworking individuals can achieve their dreams.
There is little doubt that the recent economic hardships have left many struggling to reach their dreams. Your friends and family may have had to put things on hold to focus on providing for their own families. Now hardworking individuals can get Back On Track through this United Way of the Bluegrass program.
If you or someone you know is interested in applying to the program, please download an application packet at www.uwbg.org/backontrack or dial 211 to have an application mailed to you. The application packet includes an overview of the program, eligibility requirements for applicants, and the application itself.
CKEEP (Central Kentucky Economic Empowerment Project)
The Central Kentucky Economic Empowerment Project (CKEEP) is a coalition, led by United Way of the Bluegrass, that partners with the IRS to provide free tax preparation to low-income families, raise awareness about the Earned Income Tax Credit and help families build assets. Thanks to the work of hundreds of volunteer tax preparers, families are able to save their much needed money while strengthening our overall economy.
The impact of CKEEP in Central Kentucky is significant. A recent study commissioned by CKEEP and United Way of the Bluegrass highlighted the huge impact of CKEEP refunds on central Kentucky. The "multiplier effect" explained what returning these federal funds can do for our community as a whole, not just the individuals who receive them. Individuals and families who receive refunds go on to spend this money by paying local utility companies and businesses such as groceries and clothing stores. The regional multiplier effect for CKEEP clients' tax refunds is estimated at 79 percent. This means that for every dollar CKEEP clients receive in tax refunds, they respend 79 cents in our local economy. The net local economic effect of the $5.32 million in tax refunds received by CKEEP clients in 2011 is over $10 million.
A large part of CKEEPs' work deals with the EITC. Each year, millions of dollars are lost by hard-working Bluegrass families who do not file for their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) during tax time. That money is lost to them and the local economy. The EITC is a federal tax initiative for people who work but do not earn much money. The EITC has several important benefits, including reducing the tax burden on workers, supplementing wages, making work more attractive than welfare, reducing income inequality, and helping low-income families build assets. The EITC has become the leading federal program for boosting the income of the working poor. The IRS estimates that approximately 20-25% of those eligible for the credit do not claim it because they don't know they are eligible for it, they don't know how to claim it, or they don't know where to go for assistance. CKEEP's goal is to make eligible households aware of the credit and help them claim it without having to pay for services.
The free tax preparation provided by CKEEP and its volunteer tax preparers offers immediate savings to Central Kentuckians. This past tax season, CKEEP saved its clients at least $375,450 in tax preparation fees. By preparing and filing tax returns free of charge, each household saves an average of $150 - $300 in basic tax preparation fees or $500 if they opt for a refund-anticipation loan.
United Way of the Bluegrass is recruiting people age 55 and over with passion to make a difference in this area by becoming aTrailblazer. United Way is galvanizing people to read with elementary students, tutor middle schoolers and mentor kids who need a caring adult in their lives.
In Central Kentucky, two teenagers drop out of school every day. The two that will drop out today didn't suddenly wake up and decide to make this decision. They have been going down a path for a number of years. Maybe even since birth. Together, we can do something about it through Trailblazers.
Being a Trailblazer can take a number of forms. Some volunteer within the school, while others work with children in the community through local nonprofit programs. Objectives run the gamut, from focusing on academic achievement, school retention to job preparation, substance abuse prevention and youth development.
The challenge is real, but United Way is well positioned to meet this need. The evidence is clear — volunteers can pave the way to academic success by reading with children, tutoring students who need extra help and mentoring young people who need a caring adult in their lives. Trailblazers can make a real impact on academic achievement.
Bank On Bluegrass
Bank On Bluegrass is a collaborative effort between area social service agencies, banks and credit unions, and city and county governments that seeks to address the barriers to banking faced by low- to moderate- income individuals in Central Kentucky. This initiative provides free financial literacy education to low-income (<$30K) and moderate-income ($30-$50K) individuals, certification of which qualifies them to establish free or low-cost checking accounts regardless of their previous banking history or credit rating (excluding fraud). Bank On Bluegrass will help individuals establish mainstream banking relationships that allow them to save money, avoid predatory fringe financial services, reduce their risk of theft or financial emergency due to natural disaster and create a culture of financial responsibility.
Financial Education is a core component of the Bank On Bluegrass initiative. Bank On Bluegrass will provide free financial education to participants through local financial education partners. Financial education gives participants knowledge and confidence about the banking system while mitigating risk for financial institutions. The financial education provided under this program and the benefits of gaining access to a bank account will assist participants to make better financial decisions and promote a more sustainable economic position.
In order to effectively monitor and evaluate project performance and the effectiveness of financial education, United Way of the Bluegrass has developed a comprehensive Evaluation Plan. As a learning organization, UWBG places tremendous emphasis on performance measurement, outcomes tracking and reporting, assessing community impacts, and rigorously evaluating its projects in order to continuously improve. In that spirit, the project evaluation plan will encompass the following criteria: 1) Were the project goal, strategies, and outcomes fulfilled; 2) How well did it perform from an operational standpoint (e.g. was it carried out in time, within budget, were participants and the community generally satisfied, etc.); 3) The extent to which the project contributed to long term strategic directions and outcomes (increase in use of other financial services, financial management behavior change); 4) What follow-up steps used need to be taken in the community as a result of the project.
The Bank On initiative has been very successful in other communities, particularly in this region. Bank On Louisville has reported over 11,000 Bank On accounts opened and Bank On Cincinnati has reported over 1,000 Bank On accounts opened. Bank On Bluegrass hopes to have the same level of success.
Community Development, General/Other
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.
William ""Bill"" Farmer is President of United Way of the Bluegrass. Bill brings extensive experience in building lasting change through work in education, income and health to the Bluegrass.Bill serves as a member of Board of Visitors of the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky. He has been appointed by the Governor to serve on the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Services. Bill is a member of the Kentucky Nonprofit Leadership Initiative Advisory Council. He also serves as a member of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Department of Social Services Advisory Board.Bill served as President and CEO of The Farmer Group, a consulting firm assisting business and nonprofit organizations in issues associated with public and social policy in Charlotte, North Carolina.Bill's United Way experience in multiple communities includes serving as Vice Chair of the United Way of the Capital Area Board of Directors in Jackson, Mississippi as well as several others. He has led United Way organizations in fundraising, marketing and other public policy work.While in North Carolina, Bill served on several boards, committees and commissions, including the state's Dropout Prevention Committee as Co-Chairman, Valuing Education Committee as Chairman, New Schools Project Board of Advisors, and Commissioner on Workforce Development and Banking Commissions.Bill previously served as Vice President of Corporate Development for Time Warner Cable. His responsibilities with Time Warner Cable included issues that effect education, economic development, workforce development, housing, healthcare, transportation and diversity. He works closely with the company's management team and policy makers, to help shape future plans and also to maximize their contributions as a corporate entity. He is a 28-year veteran of Time Warner Cable and has been an active member of every community in which he has resided.
Lu S. Young
Fayette County Public Schools, Central Office
Term: July 2014 - June 2015
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Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?
Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?
Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?
Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?
Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?