Middlesex United Way women’s group builds community through philanthropy, service

The Middlesex United Way Women’s Initiative celebrates the power of women to bring about positive change in our community through philanthropy and service, and I am so proud of all of their accomplishments this past year.

The vision of the Middlesex United Way Women’s Initiative is to provide opportunities for women of all ages and backgrounds to invest their time, talents, and treasures to increase women’s awareness of Middlesex United Way, promote and increase philanthropic giving to United Way, increase participation of women in volunteering, raise awareness of the resources that women bring to the community, and encourage and recognize women’s accomplishments.

The Women’s Initiative accepts grant requests throughout the year to fund programs geared toward women and children throughout Middlesex County. Most grants range from $200 to $1,000.

Some examples of programs the group was able to fund in 2018 are the Before and After School Recreation Enrichment Program of Durham & Middlefield, Kiwanis Foundation of Middletown, Warm the Children, Middlesex Community College Foundation, Mobile Application Youth Programming Camp, Middlesex County Coalition on Housing and Homelessness, Community Health Center, Children’s Law Center of CT, Hallie House, Girl Scouts of CT Campership Program, Middlesex YMCA, My Time Camp Ingersoll Youth Scholarships, Reach Out and Read, Middlesex Hospital Community Garden Club Partnership, and the Young Leaders Society of Middlesex United Way’s Stuff a Cruiser Toy Drive.

Since 2008, 84 grants, totaling $67,340, have been awarded, and over 8,000 women and children have been served in the Middlesex County area.

The funding for these grants is raised primarily from the Women’s Initiative’s annual Power of the Purse event held each June. In 2018, the event raised over $15,000. This year’s event is June 20 at the Middletown Elks Lodge.

The group is always accepting new members. If you are interested in learning more, please visit middlesexunitedway.org/WI, and don’t forget to RSVP to the annual meeting on March 6 at TapHouse150 in Cromwell.

Dinner will be complimentary, and the event is free for Women’s Initiative members. There is a fee for nonmembers, but the fee can be waived for non-members who join the group at the annual meeting or prior to the meeting.

The women spend each year participating in community events. This year, the group will be getting together for an informal meet-up to discuss the book “Educated” by Tara Westover, May 15 at 5 p.m. at Perk on Main in Middletown, 386 Main St.

“Educated” has been chosen as the One Book On the Riverbend Community read for 2019. The goal of One Book on the Riverbend is simple: to get our community to read the same book at the same time and encourage discussion about it through group events.

The Women’s Initiative members will also be supporting Gilead Community Services, a United Way funded partner, for their Run for Every 1. The Women’s Initiative has created a team, and on April 7, members will participate in the HMF Middletown Legends 3.5 Mile Race to raise awareness about mental illness.

If you are interested in participating in either of these events, please contact Audrey Livingston at audrey.mxuw@gmail.com or 860-346-8695.

The Women’s Initiative meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month (with the exception of August) at noon at the Middlesex United Way (100 Riverview Center, Suite 230). The Women’s Initiative does phenomenal work, but this takes quite a bit of contribution from their members to make all of these achievements. All are welcome to the meetings, and they are actively looking for new members who believe in their mission.

For information about events or to join the mailing list, please contact Audrey Livingston at audrey.mxuw@gmail.com or 860-346-8695.

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