United Way and HSB Unveil Community Mural; A Permanent Reminder of Family, Food and Community Values

Jun.30, 2023

The announcement was made alongside dignitaries, the Barry Square community at the Maple Avenue Bravo Supermarket in Hartford. 

Hartford, Conn. (June 30, 2023) — United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and HSB unveiled today a mural that highlights the Barry Square’s community values around family and food. The initiative is part of the 2021 ELS Case Competition’s winning campaign to raise awareness of local resources that address food insecurity in the Greater Hartford region.   

“We are touched by how this community opened up to make this project possible. Seeing the result of a genuine effort of young professionals from HSB to learn about and support the community in a way they feel identified with has been remarkable. And, how HSB adopted this project to make it a reality that will last for generations to come is outstanding. All of this describes our mission of bringing together the right people and resources for the well-being of local children and families,” shared Eric Harrison, President and CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.  

The mural, created by the artist Mike Rice from RiseUp for Arts and funded by HSB, includes well-known people from the Barry Square neighborhood who work daily to advance the success of residents in their community. Its creation also looked to minimize the stigma around getting help to cover basic needs when times are tough, such as healthy food. 

“Supporting the continuing growth of our employees in their professional careers is extremely valuable for HSB. When those opportunities come with the ability to create a long-term impact in the community, it strengthens the team members involved and our employee base as a whole,” said Susan Ahrens, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Marketing Communications and Corporate Giving, HSB. 

 “The ELS Case Competition was transformative for me. Coming together with colleagues and developing solutions to challenges that the Hartford community is currently facing was powerful. The skills that I was able to polish, the relationships created and the sense of community deepened made this experience a once in a lifetime opportunity,” expressed Alondre Rush, Client Operations Manager, HSB-Hartford Steam Boiler and Chair of United Way Emerging Leaders Society.   

Mayor Bronin added, “This is a great day to unveil a mural that brings beaty to our city and also celebrates the contributions of the people in this community. I would like to thank HSB and United Way through the Emerging Leaders Society for continuing investing in our community. Our recognition as well to the RiseUp for Arts team for another impressive piece. I’m honored to join this unveiling today, an effort of young professionals that got involved in the community, to know the challenges that our people are facing and creating solutions. We hope this piece will inspire others to wonder who the people on this mural are and the reason why they were chosen to represent their community on this mural.” 

The ELS Case Competition is a “Shark Tank” style competition created by United Way’s Emerging Leader Society to allow for innovative thinking, problem-solving and professional development, all while offering up ideas that may have long-term impact on our community. Funds raised through this year’s ELS Case Competition address barriers that contribute to local hunger and access to food.  

The next ELS Case Competition is scheduled to launch in September 2023. To learn more and view a mini documentary of the competition, visit unitedwayinc.org/elscasecomp. 

About United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut 
United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut’s vision is a community where opportunities are available for every child to succeed in school and for every family to achieve financial security. 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 www.unitedwayinc.org.    

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