Kickoff not about the money

An­nual goal un­veiled at United Way cam­paign kickoff, but that wasn’t the fo­cus of the evening

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - FRONT PAGE - HEATHER RIVERS HRivers@post­media.com

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.

HEATHER RIVERS/SEN­TINEL-REVIEW

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.

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