United Way and FOX 61 Announce Finalists for the Inaugural ImpaCT Awards 

Sep.26, 2023

Hartford, Conn. (September 26, 2023) – United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and FOX 61 are recognizing and honoring individuals, groups and organizations who make a significant contribution to health care, housing, financial empowerment and education in Connecticut. Nominations for ImpaCT Awards were submitted by the public through September 1, 2023. An impartial judging committee reviewed award nominations and narrowed down three finalists per award category.  

The finalists are as follows: 

  • Unsung Hero Award: A person giving their all to their community in quiet and often thankless ways who may not be known outside of their community. 
    • Manon Gagliardi, Retired from Quinnipiac University; 
    • Ana Gopoian Founder of TriCircle; and,  
    • Osvaldo Lugo, Owner at LOOKSHARP Barbershop.  
  • Impactful Woman Award: A female leader whose mission is to help and empower other women, a true mentor and has dynamic energy and drive. 
    • Shelly Carter, Founder of Girls Firefighters Camp; 
    • Dr. Jennifer Hernandez, Program Manager at Hospital of Central Connecticut; and,  
    • Jacqueline Purcell, Executive Director at Evolution Reentry Services. 
  • Impactful Emerging Leader Award: An up-and-coming changemaker on the fast track to leadership with a proven record of giving back. 
    • Alexa Orban, Co-Founder and Director of Strategic Communication at Karas Co.; 
    • Samuel Tapper, Mission Engagement Coordinator at Hartford’s Camp Courant; and,  
    • Rani Viroja, Quality Engineer at Accuturn Manufacturing Company. 
  • Impactful Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award: This award is given to an individual or a company that has a demonstrated track record of helping or working with minority communities here in Connecticut. 
    • ActUp Theatre based in Hartford, CT;  
    • Iran Nazario, Founder and President of The Peace Center of Connecticut based in Hartford, CT; and,  
    • Shop Black CT based in Hartford, CT. 
  • Community Organization Making an Impact: A grassroots community group that goes above and beyond to improve their surroundings and help others. 
    • For All Ages based in Simsbury, CT;  
    • Hands On Hartford based in Hartford, CT; and,  
    • Our Piece of the Pie based in Hartford, CT. 
  • Company Making an Impact: A company that makes giving back to Connecticut part of its culture that invests resources into volunteerism and philanthropy, creating a place to work that allows employees a chance to do good along the way. 
    • Hospital of Central Connecticut based in New Britain, CT; 
    • Eversource Energy based in Berlin, CT: and,  
    • HSB – Hartford Steam Boiler based in Hartford, CT.  

“United Way is proud to recognize people who are taking action to create change in our communities. We received 150 nominations for our inaugural event and we applaud the inspiring work of every nominee and our finalists,” shared Eric Harrison, President and CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. “We are excited to be partnering with FOX 61 to lift up those who are committed to making Connecticut a better place for every family in our state. Together, we can close gaps and create opportunities for everyone to succeed.” 

United Way and FOX 61 will also introduce the George Bahamonde Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize an individual who has dedicated their life to service with the goal of making futures brighter for generations to come. The award is named in honor of the late George Bahamonde, who served as the President and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut for 12 years and was passionate about educational outcomes and opportunities for local children. 

“FOX 61 celebrates any opportunity to highlight stories of Connecticut residents who are making an impact for their neighbors. United Way’s deep community relationships and knowledge of our state’s landscape makes them a valuable partner, especially for the ImpaCT Awards,” said Humberto Hormaza, President and General Manager, FOX 61/CW 20, TEGNA.  

The inaugural ImpaCT Awards Ceremony will take place on November 29, 2023 at Hartford Marriott Downtown. Additionally, the ImpaCT Awards Ceremony will be broadcasted on FOX61 and will be streamed on FOX61+ on December 7, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. in a special one-hour broadcast and available on FOX61+ to stream. Tickets and sponsorships are on sale now at CTImpactAwards.org and are eligible for charitable tax deductions. Funds raised benefit United Way-supported initiatives that support the well-being of local children, adults and families.  


About United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut   
United Way brings people and resources together to address immediate needs and finds long-term solutions to challenging problems. United Way does this by investing in programs and services, leading community change initiatives, and mobilizing resources and volunteers to ensure that: children succeed in school; people get jobs and are financially secure; people are healthy; and, basic needs are met during tough times. For more information, visit unitedwayinc.org.      

About FOX 61
FOX 61, Connecticut’s News Station, is one of the nation’s most highly rated FOX Network affiliates, providing Connecticut viewers with outstanding entertainment, news, sports and local event programming. FOX 61 News is the market leader in news, producing more news and winning more awards than any station in Connecticut. FOX 61 now airs more than 61 hours of local news and public affairs programming each week, more than any other market station and provides 24 x 7 live streamed content on FOX61+, available on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. 

CW 20, one of the top performing CW network affiliates in the U.S., delivers the best in off network and first-run syndicated programming, movies and sports. The station is home to the Connecticut Lottery drawings and broadcasts major community events and sports including New York Mets Baseball, UConn Football and UConn Baseball.   

FOX 61 and CW 20 are owned by TEGNA Inc. (NYSE: TGNA), an innovative media company that owns and operates 64 television stations in 51 markets. For more information, please visit www.fox61.com 

Media Contact: Anyeline Céspedes López | United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut | acespedes@unitedwayinc.org | 787.502.0436