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UWBG announces Big Bold Goal to improve lives of families at ‘party with a purpose’

Kentucky basketball great Derek Anderson signed autographs during Tuesday's kickoff celebration of the United Way of the Bluegrass Big Bold Goal at Fifth Third Pavilion in downtown Lexington. (Photo by Judy Clabes)

Kentucky basketball great Derek Anderson sign ed autographs during Tuesday’s kickoff celebration of the United Way of the Bluegrass Big Bold Goal at Fifth Third Pavilion in downtown Lexington. (Photo by Judy Clabes)


United Way of the Bluegrass announced its Big Bold Goal at a public event in downtown Lexington Tuesday that included participation of dozens of partners that will help make the goal a reality.


The goal: 10,000 more Bluegrass families will be self-sufficient by 2020.


“United Way is committed to improving the lives of families and children,” said Bill Farmer, CEO of UWGB. “The Big Bold Goal will focus our efforts, hold us accountable, and produce results that matter.


“In listening to the community, we heard that a bolder initiative was needed. We are world class community – and what we are going to do as a community is make sure everyone has an opportunity to be successful.”


Success will be measured in four significant areas: Financial stability, Student Success, Basic Needs and School Readiness.


Derek Anderson, UK basketball great and a member of the 1996 Final Four championship team, was a special advocate for the United Way’s Big Bold Goal, telling the crowd that “Bold Goals matter.”


United Way of the Bluegrass CEO Bill Farmer with Derek Anderson. (Photo by Judy Clabes)

United Way of the Bluegrass CEO Bill Farmer with Derek Anderson. (Photo by Judy Clabes)

Anderson, author of the best-selling book “Stamina,” spoke of his own difficult childhood – not knowing his father, abandoned to the streets by his mother, living on his own as a child, finding basketball and education as a way out – and having “adults in my life who taught me to be courteous, how to be a good man, how to work hard and how to give back.” He tells of that journey in his book, which he said would be made into a movie, to be partly filmed in Lexington, next year.


“United Way’s Big Bold Goal will help thousands of families and kids have better lives,” he said. “Please support this important work – It Matters.”


UK Hoops women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell is heading the United Way campaign for the Univerity of Kentucky. He told the crowd of his commitment to his adopted homeplace and the importance of giving back – and making a difference.

“They may not let me coach some day,” quipped Mitchell, “but they can’t make me move.


A special part of the program was the unveiling of an original song for the UW’s “It Matters.” campaign. Micah Gaines, a UK freshman and associate minister at Consolidated Baptist Church, volunteered to write the music – and sang the song for its debut at the event.


Listen to “Live in a Mattering Way”[audio:https://www.kyforward.com/wp-content/uploads/Live in a Mattering Way.mp3]


Joining Micah in leading a sing-a-long with the crowd was Miah McCurry, a kindergartner from Georgetown, who is UWBG’s “poster child” for the success of the Big Bold Goal and will appear in campaign and marketing materials. Her struggling single mom credits United Way and several of its partners for helping her through tough times that allowed her to finish college, escape from domestic violence, become financially self-sufficient as a speech therapist, and provide a stable home life for her children.


“Miah represents what the Big Bold Goal can – and will – do for families and children,” said Katie Williams, UWBG’s director of marketing and engagement. “We want all children to have the opportunites Miah now has because her family got the support it needed at the right time.


“There are 40,000 families in central Kentucky struggling to make ends meet. We are going to change that in a big way by 2020.”


The festive event – “a party for a purpose” – featured live music by Superfecta, booths and giveaways by UW partners, a basketball “goal-shooting” game, and activities for kids.


Attendees included a “Who’s Who” of the community: Mayor Jim Gray, Lexington Legends’ Andy Shea and Big L, Dr. Lu Young of the Fayette County Public Schools, Janet Beard of Fifth Third Bank, Cliff Feltham of Kentucky Utilities, P.G. Peeples of the Urban League, Pat Dalby, general manager of WLEX-TV, Owen Cropper of IBM Global Service, Alan Cutler of WLEX, Dr. Augusta Julian of BCTC among others.

Food and drink providers included the Rolling Oven, Bradford BBQ and West Sixth Brewing.


To support the Big Bold Goal campaign, go to www.uwbg.org/itmatters

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