A Special Message from the President and CEO


“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured
by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

Dear Friends:

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your many compassionate actions – as community leaders, volunteers, partners, contributors – and what they have meant to our community, our United Way, and to me, both professionally and personally.

With gratitude, I’m sharing that I am retiring as President and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut at the end of the calendar year, capping a nearly 44-year career in the nonprofit sector.

I was fortunate to join the team of my local United Way in 1998. Prior to that, I served at the American Red Cross. Both organizations allowed me to put into action what I learned from my parents and family: the value of community service, the importance of relationships, and the belief that we can, and always will, do more together than we do alone.

My extended family of volunteers, staff, colleagues, and partners continually demonstrate compassion and resiliency, whether facing the devastating effects of natural disasters or those of a deadly pandemic. And with you, I found an even larger extended family that courageously stands together for social justice and acts deliberately to address racism and discrimination.

Stepping up during critical times is as important as being steadfast in our commitment to community priorities. Children and youth achieving their potential, adults and families being healthy and financially secure, and meeting basic needs for those most vulnerable will be increasingly important as we recover from the longer-term effects of COVID-19.

United Way has always been the organization you can count on when times are tough and that will not change. Thanks to dedicated volunteer leadership, talented staff and entrusted community partners, United Way will continue to advance equity and find the best ways of bringing people and resources together to meet immediate needs and find long-term solutions to challenges facing our community.

I am personally committed to United Way and my community and will continue to give, advocate and volunteer for the well-being of children and families. With you, I am in good company.

The following wisdom from Maya Angelou has guided me as I trust it will you: “Do the best you can. But when you know better, do better.” I hope I did. I hope I have.

Thank you again for your many compassionate actions, support, partnership, and friendship over the years. I remain grateful, humbled, and inspired.


Paula S. Gilberto
President and CEO