Wesleyan students learning ins and outs of Middlesex United Way

Middlesex United Way is a very small organization in a very large county, so we take a lot of pride in our partnerships with local businesses and organizations. Fortunately for us, we also happen to be located in the same town as Wesleyan University, which is one of our top supporters each year.

They run a fantastic workplace campaign and have some of the most generous employees. We have multiple Wesleyan employees who serve on our board of directors, as well on our committees. Additionally, Wesleyan supports our work by graciously providing us the opportunity to participate in their nonprofit board residency program.

The program is an accredited course that provides an opportunity for Wesleyan students to learn about the nonprofit sector and work closely with a local nonprofit board of directors. Students are expected to attend board meetings and actively participate in a committee of the board, all while completing a project identified by the organization.

Students meet weekly on campus with the instructor, Clifton Watson, director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, for readings and discussions about the nonprofit sector, boards of directors, reflections on the experience and more. The students take away not only valuable practical experience, but also understand the work of nonprofits at a much deeper level. They learn the ins and outs of what it takes to keep a nonprofit going.

This semester, Middlesex United Way is the excited to be one of the recipients of a board residency student. This student will work closely with our Vice President of Community Impact, Ed Bonilla, on a project centered around demonstrating the positive economic impact nonprofit organizations (our partners) have on their communities.

The funding provided to nonprofits, specifically from federal or state disbursements, is often considered money that is invested into the community but is often incorrectly viewed as an investment without any return. We are hoping to clear that confusion.

This report will show how nonprofits invest in the economic health and well-being of local communities and statewide. While nonprofits may have tax-exempt status, they and their employees pay for services, supplies, and materials that support other local businesses.

We are so excited to welcome our newest board resident, Paul Willems, and cannot wait to bring him onboard. He will be our sixth board resident. They have all made valuable contributions to our work in education, health, housing and financial stability.

We are appreciative of Wesleyan University investing in this work, and giving us the opportunity to introduce students to the work of nonprofits at this level. This work is very important to our organization, especially since we operate with a very small staff on a very limited budget. Having another eager and qualified resource allows us to make an even greater impact.

To learn more about this partnership, or to learn how else to get involved, please do not hesitate to contact Ed Bonilla at 860-346-8695 or ed.bonilla@middlesexunitedway.org.