SOUTHBRIDGE — On April 8, board members of the United Way of South Central Massachusetts and a few invited guests met in person at the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center with members agencies and donors to honor the 2020 Campaign and special award recipients. With 25 individuals attending in person and many more via Zoom, it was a special occasion after 13 months of restrictions.
Lisa Prince, Executive Director of Tri-Valley, Inc. was the keynote speaker. She stated that “Tri-Valley staff and volunteers never stopped working this past year. Delivering meals to senior citizens and the disabled continued but had to be modified for safety. Meals on Wheels drivers could not have the direct contact that so many of the elderly need and rely on daily. They were able to give a wave from behind a door and check in by speaking to those receiving meals through doors and windows. This contact was the only many in our community had for months at a time. “
Jim Croteau, the 2020 Campaign Chair, gave an overview of the past year’s campaign. Mr. Croteau thanked all United Way volunteers for working so hard to make the 2020 Campaign as successful as it was. “A pandemic can be good for some organizations for fundraising but for others, it’s a little more difficult. Considering we had companies and residents adversely affected by the pandemic, we have done an outstanding job. It is through the generosity of folks in our audience, whether here or on Zoom, that made this possible.”
The 2020 Campaign reached 92% of its overall goal of $535,000. “Quite an accomplishment considering the circumstances.” Mr. Croteau continued. “With no in person campaign presentations, no special events, relying solely on print and digital materials to spread the word, we had a limited number of fund-raising options. Even so, as of this morning we are short of goal by only $42,000.”
Two special awards were presented. Harrington Healthcare received the SERVICE TO COMMUNITY award for outstanding service and commitment of providing healthcare and vaccinations During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Harrington Healthcare President Ed Moore and Vaccination Center Volunteer Coordinator Christine Lee accepted the award on behalf of the hospital. The 2020 VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR award was presented to outgoing United Way board Treasurer, Scott Dungey. Mr. Dungey is the Controller for Cornerstone Bank; has been a volunteer board member for 10 years and has been a diligent treasurer during those years. Mr. Dungey ensured that the United Way maintained its financial records and reporting to the highest standards.
Other awards of recognition were presented to the following companies for either their level of employee participation, or for total money raised through their individual campaigns.
Good Neighbor Award – Over $10,000 and under 70% participation
· Hyde Tools, Inc. & Employees for their continued support of over $15,000
Silver Award – 85 – 99% Employee Participation
· Savers Bank & Employees – 95% with a $17,000 campaign.
Gold Award Small Business – 25 or less employees 100% Employee Participation
· St. Luke’s Health Care
Diamond Award – Employee & Corporate Gift Totaling $30,000 or more
· Incom, Inc. & Employees – $34,000
· Cornerstone Bank & Employees – $53,000 combined total for the local United Ways
· Karl Storz, Endovision & Endoscopy Divisions & Employees – Our largest corporate donation and campaign at almost $61,000!
· Fundación MAPFRE for a $80,000 grant.
Special Appreciation Awards
· Fels Foundation
· Randy & Donna Becker/Herman Becker Family Charitable Foundation
Immediately following the awards ceremony, Board President Bill Keefe presided over the Annual Meeting. He stated “Last April the merger between the United Way of Southbridge, Sturbridge and Charlton and the United Way of Webster and Dudley was finalized and, as you know, we are the United Way of South Central Massachusetts. To complete a merge during a world-wide pandemic is a challenge. Thankfully, the footwork of planning had been done prior to April and the transition was smooth for the office.”
UWSCM welcomed three new board members. Christopher Mallon, Vice President of Program Management at Cornerstone Bank/ Capstone Group, Rosemary Picard, President & CEO of Savers Bank and Alan Whitney, Vice President of Marketing at Cornerstone Bank. The new members of the executive board for the United Way of South Central Massachusetts are James Croteau, Board President; Kris Marier, 1st Vice President and 2021 Campaign Chair, Denise Gorski, 2nd Vice President, John Kokocinski, Treasurer and Mary O’Coin, Executive Director/Board Secretary.