Kelly Davis

Kelly Davis

The United Way of Paducah-McCracken County has a new face among its organization with the addition of Chief Operations Officer Kelly Davis.

“I’m extremely excited and honored to be in this position,” Davis told The Sun.

“I think the United Way is a huge part of our community. I’m really excited to be able to be involved more on helping the people in the area, getting out to the businesses and being able to talk to and meet so many more people.”

Davis started her new position on Monday, which coincides with the hiring announcement by its board of directors and United Way CEO Betsy Burkeen.

As United Way’s chief operations officer, Davis will be responsible for improving its overall operations, fundraising efforts and efficiencies. She also will engage the donor community to help support United Way’s mission, according to the organization.

“It’s an evolved, kind of elevated position,” Burkeen said. “It was formerly the development manager’s role, and we’ve elevated the leadership responsibilities and changed the title to chief operating officer.”

Burkeen praised Davis’ work ethic, describing her as a “tenacious” and dedicated person who is willing to go above and beyond.

“I think I’m the most excited about just having somebody of her caliber that’s going to serve the people of our community,” she added.

Before coming to United Way, Davis worked as the member services director for the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce. She joined the organization in 2015 and helped establish and direct Paducah Young Professionals. It aims to connect, engage and develop young professionals age 21-40 who live or work in the Paducah area.

Davis is a graduate of Murray State University, according to United Way. She earned a master’s degree in journalism and undergraduate degrees in both public relations and organizational communications.

In the community, Davis serves as president-elect for the Kiwanis Club of Paducah. She is committee chair for American Cancer Society’s Dancing with Our Stars event and director of the Dancin’ Divas, which is an adult dance troupe that helps support the mission of Norton Children’s Hospital.

Helping children through United Way is one thing that appealed to Davis.

“The United Way does so much with the local school systems through the reading PALS program, along with a couple of different events like ‘Stuff the Bus’ — things that would help the kids be prepared for the school day and also just help them be prepared for life,” she said.

She also said Kiwanis Club has a similar aspect and “everything” the service organization does is for children. The Paducah club, specifically, keeps all of its funds local, such as from ham sales and its Christmas auction.

“Any event that Kiwanis has, like participating in Barbecue on the River, 100% of those dollars stay in our community and they go to children’s organizations like Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club or Paducah Day Nursery,” she added. “That’s definitely one of the things that attracted me to this United Way position.”

Meanwhile, Burkeen explained that United Way works to improve conditions in Paducah-McCracken County in the areas of education, income and health.

The organization does that in two ways: supporting its local partner agencies, including the Family Service Society and Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center, and through its community impact work, such as the PALS program in schools, “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive, Project United and more.

Visit unitedway paducah.org or call 270-442-1691 to learn more information.

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