Nacogdoches United Way leader serving TX UW board

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches County United Way executive director Gary Lee Ashcraft is rarely boastful, but he's proud this week. He's now serving on the state United Way Board.

"It's a big deal," said Ashcraft of the position never held to his knowledge by a Nacogdoches County representative.

Also Ashcraft takes into consideration he barely knew the state United Way leaders four years ago. New in the job he encouraged the struggling local agency to accept a strategic plan from the state office. Today volunteers are more confident than ever before.

"United Way of Texas will come back to us again and we'll do another strategic plan because we pretty much accomplished everything we set out to do," Ashcraft said.

Now Ashcraft will share some of what he's learned with small town United Ways across the state.

"We strengthen this United Way and strengthen United Ways in Texas, we strengthen Texas and so it's quite fun. It's a neat way to give back," Ashcraft said.

On the state level, Ashcraft will help United Way toward legislation focused on education,  health and income stability.  On the local level he's helping agencies to have a strong community impact in their field of social service.

Ashcraft remains optimistic, but recognizes there are major issues ahead. Non profits are concerned the idea of cutting deductions will keep the rich from giving.

"There are plenty of people here wiling to give and they pull from their pockets to give. All we have to do is to give them a real good reason to do that," Ashcraft said.

On a busy day Ashcraft had to be reminded it was Giving Tuesday, a day when people are asked to give more of themselves.

"Really in United Way, every day are giving days," said the non profit leader. And that's what Ashcraft likes most about his job.

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