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United Way hopes to expand to Washington, Marion Counties

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By Brandon Mattingly

Representatives from the United Way of Nelson County visited the Springfield Rotary Club meeting last week to discuss the possibility of extending their service to Washington County.

The meeting came just two weeks after the group visited Marion County for the same cause.

Kenny Fogle, Jamie Sizemore and Nicky Rapier of the United Way discussed the benefits of the organizxation, and emphasized that there is no negative aspect to the county jumping on board.

“I’ve been involved with United Way for about 27 years now, and I cannot find a downside to it,” Fogle said. “If you ever find a project with all pros and no cons, you want to stick with that project.”

Fogle went on to explain that the United Way allows companies to donate to various charitable agencies, while not being bothered with the hassle of deciding what money goes where. Instead, the United Way collects a pool of funds, then works with organizations to determine how much money needs to be distributed where.

Fogle also pointed to a map of Kentucky, showing the more than 20 United Way groups across the state, which include anywhere from one to 10 counties.

“If you look in the middle of the map, there’s a glaring hole there with Marion, Washington and Spencer Counties, which United Way doesn’t serve right now,” he said.

It was also mentioned that a voluntary payroll deduction of a few dollars is the route most companies take that are involved with the United Way, and that that some companies even match what their employees donate. The United Way of Nelson County raised $200,000 last year.

“We have 30 employees at The Kentucky Standard and PLG, and the majority of them give,” Sizemore said. “What they love about it is just what Kenny said, they want to help their neighbors, and they can’t afford to dish out $100 or $200 on the spot, but over the course of the year, they can, so they donate the $2 or the $4 every payroll.”

The group said they weren’t looking for any type of commitment, nor any donations last week. They said they simply wanted to spread the word and allow Springfield Rotary or another local group to spearhead the initiative.

Fogle said the United Way gives businesses an easy way to be involved with the community, and that the program allows small organizations that don’t typically get much recognition to access funds as well.

Sizemore said that combining Nelson, Washington and Marion Counties into one organization makes sense.

“The three counties have a lot of the same families and friends, and we collaborate on so much that it’s a natural fit,” she said.