United Way's local efforts recognized; Organization representatives cite benefits.
WORCESTER - The concert-like introduction to kick off the United Way of Central Massachusetts' annual celebration literally put the spotlight on local efforts that have benefited from assistance.
As Mechanics Hall went dark, lights shone down in dramatic fashion on different tables, where representatives from various organizations talked about help they got from the United Way in everything from filling food pantries and beefing up educational opportunities in the city over the summer to helping provide financial literacy training and helping residents get the most out of their tax returns.
Timothy J. Garvin, president of the United Way of Central Massachusetts, cautioned the audience that the organizations featured in the spotlight series were but a few examples of organizations that have benefited from the millions of dollars raised annually by the United Way.
Mr. Garvin said the response from the community to victims of the tornado in Central and Western Massachusetts served as a perfect example of why organizations like the United Way are essential, and he singled out the "Worcester Cares" fundraiser, which raised money for the American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts.
The annual celebration noted significant contributions from local businesses, and gave awards to businesses and individuals for their leadership.
Wrapping up the $3.1 million 2010 United Way campaign, brothers and campaign co-chairmen J. Christopher Collins, senior vice president and general counsel at Unum, and Dr. Michael F. Collins, senior vice president of health sciences and chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said they remain bullish on the Worcester community, partly because of how supportive it is of causes like the United Way.
Mr. Collins talked about his family's roots in Walpole, where his uncle ran a newspaper store called Center News. Mr. Collins said he and his brother worked there as weekend managers, and said the experience gave them the unique opportunity to "meet almost every person in town." He said he and his brother heard confessions and heard about medical problems, political issues and everything else going on in town.
"It was hard to live in that town and not develop an instinct for community," he said. "We feel that way for Worcester. It's like being back at the cash register at Center News."
The Alexis de Toqueville award, which recognizes an individual for outstanding leadership, inspiration to others, volunteer spirit and philanthropic values, went to the husband and wife team of Linda Cavaioli, executive director of the YWCA and John Medbury of Bowditch & Dewey LLP.
Mr. Medbury credited his passion for volunteering and community service in part to his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America. Ms. Cavaioli said her journey "began in the shadow of my mother," and said she felt lucky to be paid to do work she loves at the YWCA. She said she and her husband met through their involvement in the United Way.
Mr. Garvin said the mission statement of connecting people and resources could be changed for Mr. Medbury and Ms. Cavaioli to connecting people and people.
Several other awards were presented last night. State Rep. James J. O'Day, D-West Boylston, received the Labor Services-Community Hero Award. A group of Unum employees was named the 2011 Outstanding Employee Campaign Team, and Donna Zalauskas of Saint-Gobain was named the 2011 Outstanding Campaign Manager. Coghlin Electrical Contractors and Coghlin Network Services, in addition to Coghlin Companies Inc., which includes Columbia Tech, Cogmedix, and DCI Engineering, received the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award. Ann L. Flynn, a retiring executive with the United Way of Central Massachusetts, received the Orville Harold Award. John Quinlivan of Metso Automation received the Aubrey Reid Award, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank received the Stoddard Award.
CUTLINE: (1) Timothy J. Garvin, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Massachusetts, speaks during United Way's annual celebration at Mechanics Hall yesterday. In the background are Michael F. Collins, left, and J. Christopher Collins, co-chairmen of the United Way's 2010 Campaign. (2) Marcy Reed, chairman of the board of directors of the United Way of Central Massachusetts, speaks at the celebration.
PHOTOG: T&G Staff Photos/PAUL KAPTEYN