Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

February 25, 2013

15 years in a row

Area United Way campaign again surpasses its goal

ASHLAND — When Ashland Inc. moved its corporate headquarters from Russell to Covington in the late 1990s, some thought it would greatly curtail area fund-raising activities at the annual United Way campaign. But the United Way of Northeast Kentucky not only has survived the departure of its largest employer from this community, it has thrived.

At Thursday night’s annual recognition dinner for the United Way of Northeast Kentucky, it was announced that the annual fund-raising campaign of the United Way in Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Lawrence and Elliott counties had surpassed its goal for the 15th consecutive year by raising more than $750,000. When one considers the economy of this region since the Great Recession began in 2008, that’s an impressive string of success and yet another indication of what a giving community this is. 

To be sure, the departure of Ashland Inc. and all of its employees who were so active in the life of this community was difficult to overcome. After all, Ashland Inc. contributed more than $200,000 a year to the United Way with half of it coming from the company and half coming from employees. Fortunately, Ashland Inc. continued to give smaller amounts to the local United Way after moving to Covington to lessen the impact on this community. At the same time, local employers like King’s Daughters Medical Center, Marathon Oil, AK Steel and Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital met the challenge and increased their giving to the United Way. So did dozens of smaller employers in the five counties. Carter, Lawrence and Elliott counties also joined Boyd and Greenup counties to form the United Way of Northeast Kentucky. The United Way now involves far more companies and their workers than it ever did when most of the giving came from four or five large employers.

Executive Director Steve Towler also deserves much of the praise for the success of the local United Way. Towler returned to his home town after 20 years as an award-winning school superintendent. He became the first full time director of the local United Way 14 years ago, and quickly developed a passion for the United Way. Not only did the United Way achieve its fundraising goal every year Towler was the executive director, it also branched out into new areas that have little to do with fundraising. It became a catalyst in the creation of The Neighborhood, the former Johnson’s Dairy building that now is home to five non-profit agencies. It developed a volunteer center and the BankOn program that is helping unbanked residents learn to take advantage of banks. With most federal checks, including Social Security, going to direct deposit payments beginning March1, the timing of the program could not be better.

Towler announced Thursday that he is stepping down as executive director. He certainly will be missed, but he is leaving an organization that is in excellent shape. He has paved the way for what should be an easy transition in leadership.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Good opportunity

    Morehead State University is using a highly successful program for outstanding high school juniors and seniors at Western Kentucky University to launch a similar program beginning this fall on the MSU campus.

    April 20, 2014

  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO region with its own electrical company.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • In Your View

    Letters to the editor

    April 3, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014