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New United Way of Murray-Calloway Co Exec Director Seeks Greater Transparency, Results

Kate Lochte, WKMS

Gerald Washington says fundraising is all about dream development, helping people meet their need for a legacy or footprint they've had in this lifetime and matching it with the needs of the community around them. He's the new Executive Director of United Way of Murray-Calloway County and visits with Kate Lochte on Sounds Good to talk about his first couple of months settling into the role and a preview of what's to come with his leadership.

Washington has a 35-year career in fundraising experience, raising money for Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, South Carolina State, Nasvhille's Cumberland Heights, Tennessee State University, Fisk University, Caterpillar Corporation and many smaller clients. He says he feels blessed working with people who want to do the things that they desire and who want to see their legacy continued in a way that makes sense for them.

United Way is a large organization with over 1,500 chapters in the country, raising over $8 billion dollars last year, he says. The organization partners with local groups that target one of three categories: Education, how do we a achieve K-12 competencies; Heath, improving our physical health and strength, making sure we have a healthy living lifestyle; Financial Sustainability, helping people achieve self-sufficiency financially in life. Washington says there are 10 United Way partnered organizations in Murray.

He says he hopes to meet people and spread awareness that the people who, for instance, go to a food bank are neighbors, who at some point simply don't have enough to take care of their family. He wants to make the impact and the scenario more transparent and relatable. What does a battered household look like, he says, and why is it important that we have ways to improve or counsel people in those situations? He wants transparency and results to be broader than in the past. Some events coming up include a bike-a-thon, picnic gathering, an all-volunteer agency day and partnerships with athletic events.

United Way of Murray-Calloway County's website

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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