Kickoff not about the money
Annual goal unveiled at United Way campaign kickoff, but that wasn’t the focus of the evening
We just want people to know about the impact we’re making. It’s not about a dollar value. Kelly Gilson, executive director of United Way Oxford
It’s not about the money — it’s about what they do with it that really maters.
That’s the message United Way Oxford wanted to convey to agency partners, community members, volunteers and donors at their annual kickoff held Thursday night at Sally Creek Bistro.
“We just want people to know about the impact we’re making,” explained Kelly Gilson, executive director of United Way Oxford. “It’s not about a dollar value.”
Campaign chair Leslie Farrell explained that United Way has evolved in the last few years due to changing needs in the community.
“It’s about listening to the community and what its needs are,” she said. “They aren’t the same as they were 15 years ago.”
Over the last two years the agency has undergone a lot of change to their funding model, opening funding up and saying goodbye to member agencies.
Hearing from those with lived experience helped to craft a new set of strategies for the organization.
“We have adjusted and honed in and we are much more targeted,” Gilson said.
Farrell also said the evening was about education and information.
“We used to assume people in the community know what we do,” she said. “Tonight is about inspiring and motivating people to support their community.”
For the first time ever, the United
Way also introduced 12-year-old Morgan Vording, a youth ambassador and spokesperson for the organization, who will speak about how the United Way “changes lives.”
Farrell said the idea behind the
youth ambassador is to start youth early “understanding the needs of their community and how they can make a difference.”
“Morgan was picked because she has fabulous confidence and ability
to share a message,” Gilson said.
And while it may not be number one on the agenda of the evening, funding is necessary to run their programs.
While they didn’t even state a goal
last year, this season’s campaign goal is $1.2 million.
“Raising money is necessary but what we do with those dollars is what really matter,” Farrell said.
United Way campaign chair Leslie Farrell, left, executive director Kelly Gilson and youth ambassador Morgan Vording at the Oxford County campaign kick-off Thursday evening.