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Meet Larry Kennedy



Learn more about Larry Kennedy, United Way of Southeast Arkansas Campaign Co-Chair, and why he believes our organization is changing lives in Southeast Arkansas. 



How did you become involved with the United Way of Southeast Arkansas? 


I first became involved with UWSEA upon volunteering to coordinate the JRMC internal campaign. I then joined the board of directors a few months later. I think this is my 6th of 7th year working with them. 


Can you tell me about the work the United Way of Southeast Arkansas does, and the programs it offers?


The United Way has 22 partner agencies that provide a wide variety of services to those in need throughout Southeast Arkansas. The partner agencies are the main focus. The United Way raises money to support them. Many think that those funds go to the United Way as a national organization, but in fact, 99% of the donations stay right here in our community to help the local partner agencies support our local population. That may include friends, family, or your next door neighbor. The allocation of the funds is determined by local volunteers from our businesses, schools or even churches who volunteer to serve on the allocation committee. We are blessed to have a hometown community oriented agency helping others in our community. 


How has the organization grown or changed over time? Since you have become involved?


The organization has become more creative and proactive in identifying solutions to improve the positive impact the UWSEA can make in our community. The Day of Caring is just one example of how the organization’s leadership has made a step in the right direction in bringing people together and providing volunteers with an up-close look at what the partner agencies really do. The current leadership is doing an excellent job! 


How have your organization's programs improved over time?


Our senior leadership has become very involved in promoting value-based leadership and a positive culture. Brian Thomas, CEO, and Peter Austin, COO, serve on the United Way board of directors and we have others from our facility who serves on the boards of many of the partner agencies. This promotes a very positive energy and is a great way for our leaders to show corporate citizenship.   


What do you think of the current leadership of the United Way of Southeast Arkansas?


Leslie and her team do a phenomenal job. They have brought energy and new life into the organization. Leslie has some very good ideas and vision for the direction of the UWSEA.


What do you think the recipients of the United Way of Southeast Arkansas would say is the best thing about the organization?


They would say the organization is wonderful, compassionate and cares about the people of Southeast Arkansas.


What do you, personally, spend most of your time doing?


I duck hunt during the winter quite a bit, but really try to do as much with my family as possible. I want my kids to look back someday and remember that family time is very important and my wife and I did everything we possibly could to make sure they understood that. 


What is your home life and family like?


My home life is awesome. My wife and I have three wonderful children, ages 9, 5 and 10 months. Then there are the three dogs, a cat, turtle, and a rabbit. Never a dull moment -- I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


What was the most important lesson you have ever learned in your life?


Always put God first in all that you do. Everything else will take care of itself.


What are your personal goals within the United Way of Southeast Arkansas? 


My personal goals are:

1. Promote awareness of what the United Way does. 

2. Be active in volunteering my time to ensure the mission of UWSEA is successfully carried out.

3. Work to achieve our campaign goal.


What will help you achieve them? 


Commitment, educating others, compassion and a little bit of faith.


What words of advice do you have for anyone wanting to invest their time in the United Way of Southeast Arkansas, or volunteerism at all?


I would say if someone is interested in volunteering with the United Way or any organization, they should contact them and ask to tour some of the organizations they may have interest in. This will help them get an inside view of what the organization is like and help them make an informed decision about volunteering. There are many great agencies that could always use help in some form. The main thing is if you do volunteer, just be committed and try to make a difference.