United Way of Southeastern Connecticut hosted its Campaign Celebration event to recognize local businesses and organizations that ran outstanding fundraising campaigns on behalf of United Way. More than 300 community members gathered at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa in Groton to celebrate the achievement.
"Never forget that each of you plays a critical role in United Way," 2012 United Way Campaign Co-chair Pat Gaffey stated to the crowd. "You are essential to what we are doing to advance the common good for all in New London County. You Live United…And for that, I thank you."
Campaign Co-chair Harry Rodriguez noted, "United Way is the best way to make our community a great place in which to live, work, raise our families and retire…We’re the organization others can turn to in order to get things done."
United Way's highest honor, the Chairman's Award of Excellence, was presented to General Dynamics Electric Boat and the Electric Boat Employee Community Services' Association (pictured at right). The company and its employees, including retirees, donated a total of $1,874,419. This amount marks a 5.5% increase over the company's campaign of the previous year and includes more than 500 United Way Leadership donors (those that contribute $1,000 or more annually).
Other major awards presented at the event include:
- Zachry Nuclear Engineering receiving Campaign Committee of the Year;
- Christina Knight from Mitchell College receiving Campaign Coordinator of the Year;
- Applied Physical Sciences receiving Leadership Giving Campaign of the Year;
- William W. Backus Hospital receiving Employee Campaign Performance of the Year;
- SAVA Insurance Group receiving Small Business of the Year;
- Dominion Nuclear Connecticut receiving the Local Philanthropy Award to;
- Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation/Foxwoods Resort Casino receiving the United Way Partner of the Year;
- Charlie Witt receiving the Volunteer of the Year;
- Teamsters Local 493 and UPS receiving Organized Labor Partnership Award;
- Pfizer Inc receiving Community Leader of the Year; and
- Amgraph Packaging receiving the United Way Good Neighbor Award.
Gaffey and Rodriguez, along with the help of local children from Riverfront Children's Center, a United Way-supported program, announced that $5,720,590 had been contributed by local businesses and their employees during the 2012 United Way Campaign. This amount includes approximately 250 new United Way donors. Since 2009, United Way of Southeastern Connecticut has increased the donor base by about 5,000 new contributors.
The celebration event included a video message from United Way Board Chair Keith Fontaine of The William W. Backus Hospital. In his message, Fontaine urged those in attendance to make a promise to one another when he said, "I will join you in Living United Way because you make a difference. We are proving that this time of promise is a promise that we make to one another. We can look at each other and say, 'we did our part.'"
Fontaine also announced that the 2013 United Way Campaign Co-chairs will be Robert Nardone, Vice President of Human Resources at General Dynamics Electric Boat and William Henderson, Communications Workers of America, Local 1598.
The event was sponsored by Charter Oak Federal Credit Union, with additional in-kind support provided by the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa and PSAV Presentation Services so that no donor dollars were used towards the event.