United Way and FOX61 Announce Inaugural ImpaCT Award Winners

Dec.13, 2023

Hartford, Conn. (Dec. 13, 2023) – United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and FOX61 recognized and honored individuals, groups and organizations who make a significant contribution to health care, housing, financial empowerment and education in Connecticut at the inaugural ImpaCT Awards.  

The award recipients are as follows: 

  • George Bahamonde Lifetime Achievement Award: 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. 
    • Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Travelers.  
  • 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. 
  • Impactful Woman Award: A female leader whose mission is to help and empower other women, a true mentor and has dynamic energy and drive. 
    • Dr. Jennifer Hernandez, Program Manager at Hospital of Central Connecticut and Professor at Middlesex Community College 
  • Impactful Emerging Leader Award: An up-and-coming changemaker on the fast track to leadership with a proven record of giving back. 
    • 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. 
    • Shop Black CT. 
  • Community Organization Making an Impact Award: A grassroots community group that goes above and beyond to improve their surroundings and help others. 
    • Hands On Hartford. 
  • Company Making an Impact Award: 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. 
    • HSB-Hartford Steam Boiler.  

More than 150 individuals, groups and companies were initially nominated for ImpaCT Awards. A cross-functional, impartial team of judges comprised of FOX61 and United Way staff and volunteers narrowed the nominations down to three finalists per category in September. The judges reconvened in early November to determine award winners. 

“United Way hopes people in our community are inspired by the stories of individuals, groups and organizations who are creating positive impact for their neighbors,” shared Eric Harrison, President and CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. “The night of the Impact Awards, the ballroom was packed with philanthropic leaders who close gaps and create opportunities for others to thrive. The award nominees, finalists and winners are phenomenal examples of what it means to Live United.” 

“ImpaCT Awards means gratitude, recognition and community,” said Humberto Hormaza, President and General Manager, FOX61/CW20, TEGNA. “FOX61 is extremely grateful to be a part of the communities where we live, work and play. We are committed to serve Connecticut through news, information and community partnership; and, the ImpaCT Awards is a great way to bring all of these goals to life in one incredible experience.” 

The inaugural ImpaCT Awards raised funds for United Way-supported programs, services and initiatives that ensure children succeed in school and families achieve financial security. The organizations are grateful for the corporate support from Travelers, Diamond Presenting Sponsor; HSB-Hartford Steam Boiler, Emerald Sponsor; and, Eversource CT, Premium Sponsor. 

The awards ceremony took place Nov. 29, 2023 at Hartford Marriott Downtown and aired in a special one-hour broadcast Dec. 7, 2023 on FOX61 WTIC-TV. It is now available on FOX61+ to stream.  

Nominations for the second annual FOX61 and United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut will open in June of 2024. More information on nominations and the second annual awards ceremony will be released on unitedwayinc.org and fox61.com in 2024. 


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 FOX61
FOX61, 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. FOX61 News is the market leader in news, producing more news and winning more awards than any station in Connecticut. FOX61 now airs more than 61 hours of local news and public affairs programming each week, more than any other market station and provides 24×7 live streamed content on FOX61+, available on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. 

CW20, 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.   

FOX61 and CW20 are owned by TEGNA Inc., 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