United Way campaign tops $5.7 million

United Way campaign tops $5.7 million

The United Way of Southeastern Connecticut raised $5.7 million to help local people in need during the coming year, officials revealed during a breakfast celebration today at the Mystic Marriott.

The fundraising total, about $80,000 less than last year’s “big reveal” amount, was deemed “a good campaign in a year of challenges” by United Way board chairman Keith Fontaine, who addressed a crowd of more than 250 in a video presentation.

The total was revealed one number at a time on signs held by youngsters from the Riverfront Children’s Center, one of the nonprofits supported by United Way.

Virginia L. Mason, president and chief executive of the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, said the fundraising was accomplished through 16,000 separate donors, a new high for the agency. There were 250 new participants this year, officials said.

“This number is something we can all be proud of,” said Harry Rodriguez, co-chair of the fundraising campaign.

Pat Gaffey, the other co-chair, read a poem about the fundraiser, which started out “No blizzard or hurricane could stop this campaign.”

The United Way event also included the announcement of several awards, including the Chairman’s Award of Excellence, which went to Electric Boat and the Electric Boat Employees’ Community Service Association.

EB donated four employees that were used by United Way during the campaign. It also was cited for raising a total of nearly $1.9 million, including $1.5 million from employees. The employee contributions were marked by a 77 percent participation rate and totaled 5.5 percent more than last year.

“Absolutely incredible,” said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.

Foxwoods Resort Casino, operated by the Mashantuckets, won an award as Partner of the Year.

Other award winners included Pfizer Inc. as Community Leader of the Year, Mohegan Sun for Corporate Support of the Year, Zachry Nuclear Engineering Inc. for Campaign Committee of the Year, William W. Backus Hospital for Employee Campaign Performance of the Year, Jack Malone of the Southeastern Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Dependence for Agency Coordinator of the Year, SAVA Insurance Group as Small Business of the Year, My Whaling City as New Partner of the Year and Stop & Shop as Retail Partner of the Year.

Charlie Witt won a standing ovation when he accepted the Volunteer of the Year Award for more than 30 years of service.

“He leads with his heart,” Butler said.

John Salerno of Americas Styrenics and Christina Knight of Mitchell College were named Coordinators of the Year.

Other awards went to Amgraph Packaging Inc., Applied Physical Sciences Corp., Charter Oak Federal Credit Union, Monsanto, the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut, The Bulletin, Teamsters Local 493, United Parcel Service, Norwich Public Schools, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, Martin House, Norwich Free Academy, Connecticut College, Town of East Lyme, Mohegan Sun and Dominion Nuclear Connecticut Inc.

Achievement awards were given to AZ Corporation, Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative, Faulkner & Graves attorneys at law, Montville Public School, NLC Insurance Companies, State of Connecticut Employees and Jamella Etienne of New London Public Schools.

Pamela Kinder and Michelle C. Bussolotti were named Agency Speakers of the Year.


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