Media Contact: Mandy Hicks, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications


Bowling Green, Kentucky  (February 1, 2018) – A record breaking more than 280 Southern Kentucky residents joined United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) for the LIVE UNITED Awards and Annual Meeting on Thursday, February 1st at the Sloan Convention Center in Bowling Green.

The evening served to recognize the triumphs of organizations that excelled in furthering the mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky in 2017.  Forty-two awards were presented during the celebration to individuals and organizations representing Allen, Barren, Butler, Hart, Logan, Simpson and Warren counties.

Steve Thurmond, 2017 Chairman of the Board for the United Way of Southern Kentucky and Executive Director for the Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce, emceed the event as United Way of Southern Kentucky presented the following awards to organizations for their support in 2017:




Volunteer Investment Awards

Top Organizations with the largest % of employees volunteering in multiple United Way functions

                        The J.M. Smucker Company

                        Logan Aluminum

                        U.S. Bank - Area Wide

                        Warren, Butler & Simpson County Water Districts

                        Western Kentucky University



Organization that embodies the Live United spirit through year round support and enthusiasm for United Way

            Honorable Mentions:

                        Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake

                        Morgantown Bank & Trust


                        Ventra Plastics           


Greatest Giving Increases (employee and corporate giving combined)

Increase of $5,000 - $9,999

                  Graves Gilbert Clinic

                  Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College

Increase of $10,000 - $14,999

                        The J.M. Smucker Company

                        Ventra Plastics

      Increase of $125,000+

                        Logan Aluminum

      Campaign Milestone Award ($300,000+)

                        Logan Aluminum

      New Campaign Partner of the Year

                        The Murphy Construction Group

Leadership Investment Awards (employee giving)

Most leadership dollars (gifts of $1,000 or more) from organizations employing:

Less than 200 employees


More than 250 employees

                        Fruit of the Loom   


      Top 10 campaigns for overall corporate and employee giving in 2017:

            10. The Murphy Construction Group

             9. Warren RECC

             8. Georgia Pacific - Dixie

             7. Western Kentucky University        

 6. The J.M. Smucker Company

             5. Trace Die Cast

             4. U.S. Bank Area Wide

             3. UAW – General Motors Corvette Assembly

             2. Fruit of the Loom

             1. Logan Aluminum

Also recognized during the evening was a student organization that is working to support and promote United Way’s efforts. Student United Ways are campus based student led organizations that work in partnership with local United Ways. Currently there are more than 80 Student United Ways around the world spanning five countries. Here in Southern Kentucky, the following organization was recognized:

                  Western Kentucky University Student United Way

For the third year, United Way of Southern Kentucky presented the Shooting Star Award. The Shooting Star Award winner was chosen from applications submitted by United Way partner programs on behalf of clients who had exemplified courage and tenacity in overcoming obstacles and has used United Way services to build a better life. This year’s Shooting Star Award was awarded to:

                  Yohali Asende (Submitting Agency: Community Education/ Program: Hand Up Hand Back)

For the third year, Community Impact Partnership Awards were presented to organizations who have excelled in moving the needle on United Way’s Community Impact work through their partnership. Each has been instrumental with their impact in the areas of Education, Income, Health, and/or Safety Net. The Community Impact Partnership Awards were presented to:

                  The Foundry Christian Community Center: Kindergarten Readiness

                  U.S. Bank: Kindergarten Readiness

                  Junior Achievement: College & Career Readiness

                  Fruit of the Loom: Imagination Library

                  Hart County Chamber of Commerce: Imagination Library

                  Logan Aluminum: Imagination Library

                  WBKO: Advocacy

                  Butler County Fiscal Court: 2-1-1 Contact Center

                  The City of Glasgow: 2-1-1 Contact Center

                  The City of Scottsville: 2-1-1 Contact Center

                  Sublime Media Group: 2-1-1 Contact Center

Finalists for the premier award of the year, the LIVE UNITED Award, were presented via video throughout the evening.  This award was presented to the company that exemplifies United Way’s core Give, Advocate and Volunteer goals through outstanding campaign support including increased giving, high participation and per capita, advocating internally and externally on behalf of United Way throughout the year, and exceptional volunteer participation from a large base of employees. Special consideration was given to those organizations with specific support to United Way’s work in Education, Income, Health, and/or Safety Net.

The top three finalists for the LIVE UNITED Award included:  The J.M. Smucker Company, Logan Aluminum, and U.S. Bank.

Following the recognition of the three finalists, the Live United Award was presented to:

Logan Aluminum

During the Annual Meeting, three new incoming members of the United Way of Southern Kentucky Board of Directors were approved including:

  • Kim Newton, The J.M. Smucker Company
  • The Reverend Dr. Steven Pankey, Christ Episcopal Church
  • Melissa Watson, Wells Fargo Advisors

As well, the following members were approved for an additional term on the board:

  • Tommy Adams, Charles M. Moore Insurance
  • Gary Fields, Bowling Green Independent School District
  • Donna Harmon, Trace Die Cast
  • Kirby Jordan, Fruit of the Loom
  • Tad Pardue, Bell Orr Ayers & Moore
  • Todd Stewart, WKU Athletics
  • Tamara Vogler, BB&T

In addition, the following slate of officers were approved by the membership for 2018:

  • Donna Harmon, Trace Die Cast – Chairman
  • Mike O’Kelly, Farmers National Bank – Chair Elect
  • Tommy Adams, Charles M. Moore Insurance – Treasurer

Two board members were recognized for their long term commitment to United Way of Southern Kentucky as they retire from their service on the board:

  • Sherry Howell, Fruit of the Loom
  • Dewayne McDonald, Warren RECC

Finally, Steve Thurmond was recognized for his service and inspiration as the 2017 Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Debbie Hills, President and CEO for United Way of Southern Kentucky, said, “Tonight’s celebration is the culmination of a year of outstanding efforts by many partners in the community.  The accomplishments by the organizations recognized tonight will support long-term community change in our priority focus areas of Education, Income, Health and Safety Net.  And what a momentous milestone to recognize Logan Aluminum for raising more than $300,000 in one year and winning the Live United Award.  Most important are the thousands of lives that will be impacted through that work which is made possible by the combined generosity of those honored tonight, as well as hundreds of other organizations that support our efforts.  We were also excited to present multiple Community Impact Partnership Awards to organizations leading the way in impacting our platform of work.  We look forward to honoring even more partners as we continue to expand platform implementation in the coming year.”

For more information on how you can LIVE UNITED by giving, advocating, and volunteering with United Way of Southern Kentucky, visit or call 270-843-3205.

United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) is a local, independent, non-profit organization that works to identify and address the issues that matter most, change conditions and improve lives. The mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky is to be the leader in bringing together the resources to build a stronger, more caring community. United Way is focused on the building blocks for good quality of life – Education, Income, Health and Safety Net. Therefore, the vision of United Way is a Southern Kentucky where all residents are educated, healthy, and financially stable. Incorporated as a charitable non-profit entity in 1956, UWSK has long served a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and work.  ###