Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

October 4, 2013

United Way launches annual campaign

ASHLAND — Autumn is a time when the leaves change into colors of red, orange and yellow, the days and nights become cooler, children dressed in costumes go door to door in search of candy at Halloween, thousands of fans cheer on their favorite high school and college football games and the United Way of Northeast Kentucky conducts its annual fundraising campaign to support more than 60 nonprofit agencies in Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Lawrence and Elliott counties.

Officially, the United Way campaign began Tuesday and continues until the end of December. Unofficially, it started before the first of October in a few area companies and it will not end until all the in-house campaigns by participating employers in the five counties have been completed. That often is not until the middle of February and sometimes even later.

The goal for this year is $750,000, the same amount as the goal for the 2012 campaign, and Jerri Compton, the new executive director for the United Way of Northeast Kentucky, hopes her first campaign continues the record of  the United Way campaign annually achieving its goal established during the 14 years the United Way was headed by former executive director Steve Towler.

Towler announced  he was stepping down as executive director soon after the 2012 campaign ended in February of this year, but he stayed on to help Compton get acquainted with her new job after she was named Towler’s successor in early April. Towler is running for Boyd County judge-executive.

But Compton is not the only new face in the office of the United Way on Carter Avenue. Erica Berry succeeded Marlena Ross as the assistant director of the United Way in the five counties in July. Ross, the former director of the United Way of Greenup County, became assistant director of the United Way of Boyd and Greenup Counties when the two United Ways became one soon after Towler became executive director in 1999. She stayed on as assistant director as Carter, Lawrence and Elliott counties joined Boyd and Greenup to form the United Way of Northeast Kentucky.

Thus, the 2013 campaign begins with both United Way employees being new. Like Compton, Berry spent a number of years working in the health care field, and first learned about the United Way while helping with the campaign as an employee of Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital.

While Berry and she are both new to the United Way staff, Compton said there will not be major changes in the annual campaign.

“It’s not broken so we don’t need to fix anything,” she said. “Anything we do that’s different, probably will not even be noticed by most people.”

Calgon Carbon started its in-house campaign early, and as the fifth largest giver in the 2012 campaign, she expects the results of the Calgon campaign will inspire other companies and their employees to match or surpass what Calgon does.

Marathon’s Catlettsburg Refinery, the top giver in the 2012 campaign, already had its annual golf tournament, which is always a major fundraiser for the United Way, and employees of Calgon and Marathon will face each other in a corn hole tournament later this month to raise funds for the United Way. Calgon managers said the carbon plant’s employees are very competitive and love to play games, and the corn hole tournament evolved from that conversation.

“It’s a way to have some fun and enjoy some fellowship with workers from another company while raising money for the United Way.” Compton said.

King’s Daughters Medical Center was the second-largest giver in the 2012 campaign, followed by AK Steel at No. 3. In fact, giving at AK Steel topped $100,000 for the first time, Compton said. Representatives of both management and organized labor at AK serve on the United Way’s board.

The 2013 campaign officially began with the United Way offering tours of United Way agencies for those who chair the campaigns for local employers. This year the tours included stops at the Shelter of Hope and the Salvation Army and the five agencies in The Neighborhood: River Cities Harvest, the Community Kitchen, CAReS, the Dressing Room and Clean Start.

The tours are intended to better inform United Way volunteers about what agencies receiving funds do and hopefully tell those they work with about the agencies and inspire them to give generously to the United Way.

Sixty-six took part in one of the three tours this fall, Compton said, and they had a lot of excellent questions for the agencies.

Compton said she would like to see more giving by employees of area school systems and by employees of local governments. She also would like to see more giving from individuals.

“We have never had a Toqueville Society giver which the United Way nationally awards to those individuals who donate $10,000 to the United Way,” Compton said. “That would be really something if we did have someone give that much.”

Kipp Barker is chairman of the 2013 United Way campaign, and for the most part, Compton and Berry see their role as facilitators of the campaign.

“We let individual employers decide how they want to conduct their campaigns,” Compton said. This is their campaign, not ours. But if they want our help, we have a wealth of ideas of what to do and many materials to help them.”

And if Compton and Berry have any questions or problems, they know Towler and Ross are just a phone call away.

“We would be foolish not to tap into their wealth of information,” Berry said. “They have both been wonderful.”

JOHN CANNON can be reached at

jcannon@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2649.

Text Only
Local News
  • State’s longest trail system turns 35

    The Sheltowee Trace was officially dedicated as part of the National Recreation Trail system in 1979. After 35 years, the trail remains Kentucky’s longest distance trail, estimated at 307 miles.

    July 21, 2014

  • Pancake releases new album

    The top of the Sky Tower in downtown Ashland was booming Saturday night with music from Larry Pancake’s new album “Fair Weather Friend.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Telephone scammer fleeces man of $5,000

    A telephone scammer claimed another area victim when a Williams Avenue man paid $5,000 after the con artist told him he had won a sweepstakes but had to pay taxes on the prize money before collecting it, according to Ashland Police Department reports.

    July 21, 2014

  • Murder defendant pleads guilty on lesser charge, sentenced to 8 years

    One of four charged with murder in a 2008 double killing pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Monday just before his trial was to start.

    July 21, 2014

  • MIA Rush Marine to rest in Arlington

    Finding Dottie McCoy’s uncle after 71 years was the biggest part of the struggle.

    July 21, 2014

  • Morehead gets Trail Town status

    It has been two and a half years in the making and it happens today.
    Morehead will officially be designated a Kentucky Trail Town following Dawson Springs and Livingston.

    July 21, 2014

  • Fallsburg’s traditional haunt attracts unique talents

    Brian Cassidy said there is no substitute for individual talent while tackling tasks ranging from sculpting a massive hillbilly to inventing paintball gun brackets capable of withstanding the pressures caused by an incoming zombie attack.

    July 21, 2014

  • Local in brief: 7/22/14

    The Kentucky Interagency Coordination Center on Sunday mobilized two fire crews to assist with firefighting efforts in the western United States.

    July 21, 2014

  • marine3.jpg MIA Rush Marine to rest in Arlington

    Finding Dottie McCoy’s uncle after 71 years was the biggest part of the struggle.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0722burger2.JPG TIM PRESTON: Burgers for Boyd County bragging rights

    Looking at Saturday morning’s rainy skies, I assumed my duties as a judge for the first tailgate and burger grilling competition at the Boyd County Fairgrounds would be canceled.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone