Middlesex United Way to honor 5 community stakeholders for philanthropic efforts

MIDDLETOWN — With 2019 coming to a close, we figure now is a great opportunity to give you a casual update on what is happening within the Middlesex United Way, and what is planned next.

The week’s column is going to be a bit different than most. I am calling it “news & notes with Kevin.” We have a few exciting announcements and upcoming events I would like to share with you.

First, I would like to share that we were privileged to have new Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim attend our most recent board meeting Dec. 11. Mayor Florsheim has been an active champion of Middlesex United Way, and shared that he is excited to continue to support our goal in making sure every resident of Middlesex County has the opportunities and resources to thrive.

Mayor Florsheim is also committed to strengthening the partnership between the city of Middletown and Middlesex United Way, in an effort to benefit our community as a whole.

As we look to the upcoming new year, we know we would like to focus more on our social media efforts. It is important for us to use various social channels to connect with individuals with common interests, and to stay visible and engage with our community. I encourage you all to follow along with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

You can find us on all channels by searching “Middlesex United Way.” Be sure to say hello on our posts and please share posts that you may find interesting to your networks.

At our board meeting, we also announced our 2019 award recipients to be presented at our annual meeting. At Middlesex United Way, we love to celebrate the key supporters who played a significant role in shaping 2019’s success by hosting our annual meeting to honor them.

We will not only share our gratitude for our beautiful community, but we will recognize four wonderful individuals, and one local nonprofit, as well as bid farewell to any outgoing board and committee members before electing new members to our board.

We are proud to recognize Matt Stillman with Middlesex United Way’s highest volunteer honor, the Community Service Award, which honors volunteer service to the Middlesex United Way, and considers length and continuity of service.

Eric Kane is the recipient of our Justin Wilkie Next Generation Award, which recognizes a volunteer who actively serves Middlesex County with enthusiasm and a positive spirit.

Our Community Leadership Award will go to Superintendent of Schools Michael Conner. This award recognizes his outstanding leadership in strengthening communities.

The Community Impact Award will be awarded to Child and Family Agency of Southeastern CT, recognizing the organization’s outstanding commitment to improving lives and community conditions.

And last, we are pleased to present the Tocqueville Society Philanthropy Award to Laura Pederson, for her significant role in inspiring philanthropy within our community.

We will also be honoring the following individuals to thank them for their commitment to Middlesex United Way, as these board members will be stepping down: Janet Porriello, Toral Maher, Justin Carbonella, Lindsay Parke, and Quentin Phipps. We thank you all for your continued support and for leading us in the most positive ways.

The Middlesex United Way annual meeting will be held Jan. 30 at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station. Tickets are $20. A full hot breakfast will be served at 8 a.m., and the program will begin at 8:30 a.m.

To attend, email Maria Wood at maria.wood@middlesexunitedway.org.

Finally, I wish everyone taking the time to keep up on Middlesex United Way news a happy and healthy holiday and New Year. The holidays can be particularly hard for some friends and neighbors, so we encourage everyone to let those you care about know how important they are to you.

We operate in the spirit of compassion and support, and think the world could be an even better place if everyone followed that philosophy.

Kevin Wilhelm is CEO and president of the Middlesex United Way, based in Middletown.