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Late Winter/Early Spring 2016

Renew Your Commitment to Community With UWWC This Spring

Dear Friends,

While most of this winter has masqueraded as spring, we are fast approaching the season of renewal. It is a time of new beginnings, and the perfect time for you to become part of our success.

In the update below, you will see we have been extremely active this winter in advancing our work around households living paycheck-to-paycheck. We continue to explore the issues that challenge ALICE households in their everyday lives. ALICE ® stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – individuals who just can’t make ends meet despite working hard (sometimes at more than one job). We are looking into programs and solutions to mitigate the struggles faced by too many of our neighbors throughout Western Connecticut.

We engage in this work because when every household has a sense of stability, our communities become stronger and more resilient. We want you to join us in helping to ensure that every child and every home in Western Connecticut is healthy and strong. How? Volunteer with one of our programs that needs your skills, join one of committees or councils to help guide our work, support us with a monetary gift, and share your passion for United Way’s work.

While we have accomplished great things, there remains so much for us to do together to keep Western Connecticut healthy and strong. United Way simply could not be successful in this important work without the support of our loyal donors and partners. We remain deeply appreciative for your thoughtful engagement and commitment to helping others in our communities.

Kim MorganRegards,
Kim Morgan
Chief Executive Officer
United Way of Western Connecticut



Acts of Kindness for ALICE

In February, United Way performed random acts of kindness by paying for groceries of shoppers at a local PriceRite grocery store to shine a light on the struggles facing ALICE. The random acts of kindness not only alleviated a little stress from the lives of those struggling, it also inspired some shoppers to pay it forward to others. From people who had just lost their job, to families who were taking food off of the conveyer belt due to lack of money to pay the whole bill, to a woman who was buying food to make meals for the homeless, the stories were both gut-wrenching and inspiring. To capture the reactions of those receiving the acts of kindness, and to inspire others to do the same, a short video was filmed and produced pro bono courtesy of Scott Sniffen, accomplished director, producer and director of photography, of Sniffen Pictures.
We ask our wonderful community of supporters to like and share this video with your friends and networks. You can find the posts on our Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel and our website.


When ALICE Speaks, We Listen

The struggles for residents of Western Connecticut who live paycheck to paycheck are the focus of our work. We listened to our hardworking neighbors through our Community Conversations and online surveys. While more conversations will be scheduled soon, we have compiled a report of what we have learned directly from ALICE, about their struggles and what they need to achieve financial stability.
>>Read what ALICE had to say in our Community Conversations

Dates and times of upcoming Community Conversations will be posted soon. Anyone interested in advocating or being part of a community conversation, may visit If you can't make a community conversation, please take our online ALICE survey, available in English or en Espanol.



Give Where You Live on March 10

Mark your calendars for Thursday, March 10 – It’s 2016 Giving Day, sponsored by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. It’s 24 hours to give, and make an impact, where you live! We’ve set a goal of $10,000 for this one-day giving event, which would support 250 households to receive three financial coaching sessions from our Financial Resource Center on their journey towards financial stability. Follow us on social media on March 10 to track our progress!
>> Give Where You Live for 24-hours on March 10



Making Connections: UWWC's 2015 Annual Report

Have you seen our latest Annual Report? We highlight the interconnectedness between the various aspects of our work and share stories of local residents we are helping. It is also filled with inspiring profiles of volunteers who have given so much to the communities they love.

We told our story in an entirely digital format this year on our fully mobile-responsive website, and in doing so, reduced our costs by 80%! We also created a printable PDF document.
>>Experience our Annual Report here



Hometown Heroes Celebrated At Annual Benefit Dinner

If you weren’t at our Hometown Heroes Benefit Dinner on February 27, you missed an incredible night! We were joined by 325 guests in honoring nine outstanding individuals who have made a difference in our communities, in addition to recognizing businesses and corporations for their commitment to philanthropy and service. Actor and author Sonia Manzano, beloved by millions as “Maria” from Sesame Street, delivered a personal keymote address. Among our guests were a number of elelcted officials, including the Hon. Senator Richard Blumenthal joined us for a brief part of the evening to offer his congratulations to our wonderful honorees, and offered a surprise auction item: breakfast in the Senatorial dining room in Washington!

>>Visit our Hometown Heroes page to view the Honoree Tribute Video and our Flickr album

Our 2016 Honorees

Corporate Philanthropy Award
Kimberly-Clark Corporation

Corporate Volunteer Award
Savings Bank of Danbury

Small Business Hero Award
Ralph McIntosh
Del-Tron Precision, Inc

Hometown Hero Awards

Bethel    Brotherhood in Action
Bridgewater    Frank Kelly
Brookfield    Susan Ludwig
Danbury    Jackie Morrison
Kent    Bill & Catherine Bachrach
New Fairfield    John & Amy Pendergast
New Milford     Helen Barksdale
Newtown    Peter D’Amico
Ridgefield    Allison Stockel



Save The Date: Heart of Gold is May 18

Save the Date: Our Heart of Gold Award Dinner will be Wednesday, May 18 at the Stamford Marriot. We are thrilled to honor Tracie Wilson, Senior Vice President, Programming and Development of NBCUniversal, with the 2016 Heart of Gold Award.
Since 1995, we have recognized and honored business leaders who distinguish themselves through philanthropy and build volunteerism into their strategic business plans with the Heart of Gold Award. In addition, the Roberta K. Eichler Heart of Gold Scholarship is awarded at the event to an outstanding high school senior volunteer.
More details of the event will follow in the next few weeks.
>>Visit our Event page for more information



Stamford Cradle To Career: Upcoming Lecture on Collective Impact

Harvard Business School Professor Allen S. Grossman will be offering a FREE lecture, “The Promise of Collective Impact,” on March 31 at Norwalk Community College. Professor Grossman has studied StriveTogether, a national program for education now operating in 65 cities – including our Stamford Cradle to Career - and has produced improvement in many aspects of education. Professor Grossman will discuss his experiences with the challenges of effectively managing these large coalitions.To attend, please register online.
At a glance:
“The Promise of Collective Impact”
Free Lecture by Professor Allen S. Grossman of Harvard Business School
Thursday, March 31, 2016
3 to 5 PM 
Norwalk Community College
188 Richards Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06854

>>Learn more about Stamford Cradle to Career



KT Murphy Neighborhood Program Helping Children Start Strong In Stamford

Our Strong Start work in Stamford continues to move forward with United Way’s collaboration with Stamford Public Schools, local businesses, and community providers to offer programming in the areas of early literacy, parenting skills, early developmental screening, school orientation events, and eventually financial stability and health of the families. We are working with KT Murphy Elementary School and targeting our outreach to this neighborhood as a first step in ensuring that all children are ready for kindergarten. Parenting programs are being held this winter at Domus and Saint Joseph's Parenting Center. Our Advisory Committee has been meeting regularly and will soon be announcing plans for the next round of funding. In addition, we are working hard to register all children, including 4-year-old Maanas Shah (pictured above with his father Kunal Shah) for kindergarten.  Maanas and his father recently came to our Kindergarten Information night at the Ferguson Library and are looking forward to joining the KT Murphy family in the fall.
>>Learn more about our KT Murphy Neighborhood Project



Things Are Heating Up at the Park Avenue Neighborhood Program in Danbury

Exciting things are happening in the Park Avenue Neighborhood Initiative to prepare young children for success in school!  The second session of the innovative and nationally recognized Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors program will begin March 21 and run through May 20. Designed for Spanish-speaking parents of children ages birth through 5, the program focuses on helping Latino parents understand their important role in their children’s development and education. This program is generously supported by The Grossman Family Foundation. A Family Fun Night for Kindergarteners and their parents was held on March 1, with a focus on basic math concepts. To support all of the Park Avenue School programming, a Spanish-speaking parent outreach worker, Maria Vargas, has been calling parents to encourage their attendance at events and to make them feel like they are an important part of the life of the school. Ms. Vargas now has office hours at the school and is available to answer any questions parents may have.
>>Learn more about the Park Avenue Neighborhood Project



Danbury Early Childhood Fair a Hit With Local Families

Geckos and dragons and books, oh my! Families and children experienced reptiles and more when they attended the Danbury Early Childhood Fair on Saturday, February 20 at Rogers Park Middle School. Sponsored by Danbury’s Promise for Children Partnership, more than 25 local agencies were on hand to provide families with valuable information about services available. The Danbury Police and Fire Departments instructed children about safety and gave out hats and stickers. Animal Embassy shared plenty of snakes, geckos, toads, tortoises and other creepy crawlies, while offering pet care tips. Ms. Karen from Acting Out had children clapping, singing and acting out a story about a dragon and princess, while face painters from Escape to the Arts were busy turning children into cats, butterflies, and rainbows. To top off the day, each child who attended received two free books.
>>Learn more about our work in early childhood education




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