United Way reaches campaign goal

Kevin DelGobbo reads a proclamation from state legislators congratulating Donna Andrew, right, on receiving the United Way’s Mary Connelly Community Caring Award during the organization’s annual meeting Tuesday at The Crystal Room in Naugatuck. During the meeting, the United Way announced it reached its campaign goal of $440,000. –LUKE MARSHALL

Kevin DelGobbo reads a proclamation from state legislators congratulating Donna Andrew, right, on receiving the United Way’s Mary Connelly Community Caring Award during the organization’s annual meeting Tuesday at The Crystal Room in Naugatuck. During the meeting, the United Way announced it reached its campaign goal of $440,000. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — There was much to celebrate at the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls’ 51st annual meeting Tuesday night.

The United Way reached its 2013 campaign goal of raising $440,000.

“Throughout the campaign I was in constant awe at the extraordinary generosity of those in our community. I’d like to thank you all for contributing to the United Way and for the confidence in our organization. Without you I would not be able to stand here and report that we did reach our goal of $440,000,” Campaign Chair Kathleen McPadden told the crowd gathered at The Crystal Room.

In 2012, the annual campaign raised $440,000, which exceeded its goal of $425,000.

Based on that success, the United Way’s Board of Directors increased the goal to $440,000.

 “This campaign would not be a success without you, all those who contributed. Our community is always working with the United Way to advance the common good and to enrich the lives of those we serve,” McPadden said.

United Way Treasurer Ginger Fennell said of the $440,000, $314,000 will go to the agencies the United Way supports, $90,000 would be used to run the United Way, and $17,000 will remain unappropriated.

The money will serve a variety of nonprofit agencies, including the Naugatuck YMCA, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury, Family Services of Greater Waterbury, Wellmore Inc. and youth sports programs.

With the additional funds raised this year, the United Way was able to add new organizations to the funding list, including Naugatuck Police Explorers, the Beacon Falls Softball League, Valley Fusion and Hidden Acres Therapeutic Riding Center.

According to United Way President Laurie Yelding, meeting a higher campaign goal wasn’t the only way that the organization grew over the last year.

Yelding said the United Way’s Salem Society, which recognizes those individuals who make especially generous gifts, grew by 15 members and 16 existing members increased their gift by 10 percent.

The United Way also voted in its new officers and directors with Yelding and McPadden leading the Board of Directors as president and vice president respectively.

The evening finished with the presentation of the Mary Connelly Community caring Award to Donna Andrew, who has served on the United Way’s Board of Directors since 2004. She has served on the organization’s Allocations Committee and currently is special events chair.

“Serving on allocations was an eye-opener and introduced me to many of the special needs of our community and the agencies that our United Way supports,” Andrew said.

It was on the Special Events Committee that Andrew really found her stride. In 2010 Andrew put together a fundraising bus trip to Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. for the United Way.

“Since our first trip we have had trips to Salem, Mass, Newport, R.I., and Mohegan Sun Casino. Our last trip to Salem in October 2013 raised almost twice as much as we did the year before. We’ve introduced the Untied Way to people who are perhaps not aware of all the good things we do and our bus trips now have a following,” Andrew said.

2012 Mary Connelly Award Recipient Lee Schlesinger, who introduced Andrew, told the audience that two of his favorite memories of Andrew are from the bus trip she planned.

“Donna always has a smile on her face. If anybody knows Donna, they know she is always smiling,” Schlesinger said.

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