By Brad Bowman
When Executive Secretary Judy Tingle and Special Assistant Jan Velez accepted the challenge of coordinating the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s (EEC) 2020 Kentucky Employees Charitable Campaign (KECC), they understood that this campaign would be like no other before it.
So many families across Kentucky were hurting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, cabinet employees were working remotely and not able to benefit from an in-person special event fundraisers and the social connection of prior years.
What followed in the months-long campaign was a tribute to their leadership and to the outstanding spirit of giving from EEC employees. In January, the cabinet received the KECC Outstanding Performance Award for increased total giving (large cabinet) and the KECC Best Overall Award for best overall performance in per capita giving (large cabinet). Velez and Tingle both received the “emerging leader” KECC award presented to successful first-year KECC coordinators.
Despite their personal awards, Tingle and Velez said the cabinet’s recognition by KECC was very much due to a team effort.
“This year with COVID, I felt like it was even more important for people to give,” Tingle said. “There are so many families that are hurting, whether due to loss of jobs or health issues, and for those of us that have been able to continue to work, I felt that it was important for us to reach out to those who needed help in so many ways.”
For the 2020 KECC campaign, EEC had one of the highest performing KECC campaigns in state government this year, more than doubling the amount raised in the previous year.
EEC pledges totaled $31,684 compared to $15,288 in 2019. The campaign supports various organizations working to improve the lives of Kentuckians in need.
Jan Velez, who works in office of the secretary, said she is honored and proud of the cabinet’s success. She emphasized the success would not have happened without directors, coordinators, commissioners and leadership doing the heavy lifting.
“The secretary, deputy secretary and commissioners were very involved and supportive and their involvement really motivated our team,” Velez said. “The EEC KECC team of coordinators were fantastic. They provided many great suggestions and had very creative ideas for fundraising during COVID. They gave 100% and made this campaign successful. Getting to know the EEC staff involved was truly rewarding.”
Secretary Goodman praised the efforts of all who contributed to the cabinet’s successful fundraiser and especially to all employees who donated.
“I’m very proud of Jan Velez and Judy Tingle for their leadership during this defining moment for our state and the efforts by all of our cabinet coordinators and employees to help Kentucky families,” said Secretary Goodman. “Everyone has gone above and beyond the scope of their day-to-day duties showing not just their passion for public service but the compassion we must have for our fellow Kentuckians in need during these challenging times.”
United Way Recognition
United Way of Kentucky President Kevin Middleton said the EEC more than doubled its payroll deduction pledges, increased participation and overcame the challenges presented by COVID-19 shutting down traditional fundraisers like golf scrambles or carnival celebrations.
- The EEC had the greatest increase in participation for large cabinets, those with more than 1,000 employees, with a 3.72% higher participation than last year. EEC participation for 2020 was 7.73 % compared to 2019’s 4.01%.
- The EEC overcame the loss in special event fundraising and increased total dollars raised by $10,059. In 2020, EEC raised $35,085 compared to 2019’s $25,025.
- The EEC had the highest per capita giving for large cabinets at an average of $20.23 per employee.
“The KECC relies on our donors, and our volunteers like Judy Tingle and Jan Velez, because when this campaign succeeds, we can help when disaster strikes, or in this case, when a pandemic strikes,” Middleton said.
“We can be there for families needing utility assistance or rent assistance, or to cover basic needs like food through the hundreds of programs and services KECC donations support,” Middleton said. “The day to day challenges that Kentucky families face don’t stop because of devastating viruses. In fact, they are compounded due to lost jobs, illness, social isolation and more.”
The KECC charities are there to help, whether it is assisting children with special needs, providing backpacks with food each weekend for those who may not otherwise eat, keeping children safe from abuse and neglect or helping mothers with newborns after a complicated pregnancy, he said.
“Judy Tingle and Jan Velez, and specifically the priority support they received from Secretary Rebecca Goodman, were instrumental to the success of the campaign this year,” Middleton said. “From their creative efforts to incentivize payroll deduction giving, to their collaboration with the EEC communications team to overcome barriers in visibility under current circumstances, Judy Tingle’s and Jan Velez’s leadership was instrumental in making the campaign a success.”
New Fundraising Techniques
In the wake of work disruptions and social distancing measures caused by COVID-19, the fundraising efforts required a different approach this past year.
EEC Department for Environmental Protection Commissioner Tony Hatton, Department for Natural Resources Commissioner Gordon Slone, Deputy Secretary John Lyons and Secretary Goodman recorded short videos to employees on the importance of giving during this unprecedented time.
The first online silent auction, Velez and Tingle said, broke new fundraising ground with its dedicated website. Velez said division coordinators went above and beyond to put this together, reaching out to businesses for donations items, purchased items and delivered them to the highest bidders.
Another fundraising first, an online jar of buttons provided by Secretary Goodman, provided weekly prizes that ranged from two UK football tickets, to Visa and Amazon gift cards. Employees who gave a one-time donation of $25 or more, or who chose a payroll deduction donation, received an email with a picture of the jar of buttons. The employee who guessed the closest amount of buttons in the jar — which changed weekly — Tingle said, without going over, received that week’s prize.
Tingle said because of Lyons’, Slone’s, Hatton’s and Goodman’s prize donations, the button challenge proved a popular success over the five-week campaign.
The following KECC division coordinators contributed to the success of the campaign: Beth Wilson, Elly Hixon, Robyn Whitted, Nick Fields, Denise Profitt, Jennifer Sudduth, Jennifer Clark, Natasha Collins, Lainey Hamon, Jennifer Antle, Kathy Paige, Stacy Lyons, Debra Hayes, Jennifer Turner, Cynthia Clarke, Angie Smith, Stephanie Benassi, Kim Greenidge, Jennie Perry, Jody Necaise, Lisa Booth, Jill Bruckner, Susie Paul, Lena Seward, Melody Wideman, Judy Cunningham, Susanna Goodrich.
Visit KECC to learn more about its charitable organizations or coordinator resources.