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United Way Celebration Honors Community Partners

Awards presented for engagement while local agencies present impactful stories of success

On August 12, United Way of Southeastern Connecticut hosted a Community Celebration event to recognize local businesses, organizations, and volunteers for their outstanding engagement efforts that positively impact Southeastern Connecticut. Four nonprofit agencies, all of which are United Way partner programs, also shared with the audience their client success stories that United Way donations help make possible. The Celebration was held at and sponsored by Mohegan Sun. View photos from the event (on Facebook).

Dina Sears-Graves, President and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, welcomed the crowd saying, “this is truly a community celebration as we honor and recognize how all of us collectively made an impact over the past year.

“Before the pandemic, throughout it, and today,” Sears-Graves continued, “We remain united in our efforts to help people recover, grow and thrive. Thank you for being part of that work.”

Volunteer Campaign Co-chairs Lee-Ann Gomes of Norwich Human Services and Jeff Hamilton of Mohegan Sun, announced that $4,081,120 had been donated by the community during the 2020-21 United Way Campaign.

“We’re grateful for this community’s outpouring of support during a tumultuous time,” said Gomes. “This achievement is a credit to everyone pulling together, being committed and engaged.”

A series of honors were presented and announced at the Celebration. The list of Engagement Awards can be found at the end of this release.

The co-chairs also touched on United Way’s Allocations which supports a local, vital network of 40 health and human service programs in four key areas: Thriving Children, Community Wellness, Promoting Independence, and Basic Needs. This year United Way was able to allocate $1,943,768 in New London County. Click here for a full list of all the allocations.

“Allocations is a critical part of United Way’s work,” said Hamilton. “It’s our promise to donors that your contributions will be carefully invested in local, efficient, and effective programs.”

A speaker representing an agency receiving funds in each of the four areas shared stories on how their work is making a difference in our community, thanks in part to United Way donations. The speakers were:

  • Stacey Lawton from SCADD;
  • Katie Hallisey from Higher Edge;
  • Miriam Johnson from UCP of Eastern Connecticut; and
  • Peggy Micelli and Phyllis Cappuccio from Covenant Shelter of New London.

To conclude the event, William Louis United Way Board Chair and President of the MDA-UAW Local 571, noted “Your impact is felt at the agencies and people who need you. What you’re doing is important. Your engagement is critical if we’re to continue forward and thrive.”

Louis announced that the volunteer Campaign Co-chairs for this year’s United Way Campaign will be Chick Corrado from Applied Physical Sciences Corporation and Chris LaRose from Norwich Public Utilities.

Click here to see a complete list of all the Engagement Award recipients.