United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut Kicks Off Its Centennial Celebrations with a Bold Vision for the Community

May.23, 2024

Hartford, Conn. (May, 2024) — United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut kicked off its Centennial celebrations at The Society Room of Hartford on April 3, 2024 accompanied by key stakeholders, including area companies, nonprofit partners, community champions, volunteers and donors. At the event, United Way honored its history, debuted its strategic vision for the future and recognized the leadership volunteers who are critical to its transformation.  

“100 years marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of our organization and our community. This milestone allows us to reflect on the strong foundation, expertise and reputation we are built on while also looking toward the future and our next chapter of impact,” reflected Eric Harrison, President and CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.  

 In preparation for its 100th year of service and the opportunity to develop a new strategic plan, United Way embarked on a deep listening tour throughout 2023. The organization conducted nearly 30 one-on-one interviews and more than 40 community conversations to hear from nearly 400 diverse constituents about what issues matter the most to people across central and northeastern Connecticut. Additionally, United Way invested in two research studies (the 2023 Connecticut United Ways ALICE Report and the 2023 DataHaven Greater Hartford Community Well-Being Index) to provide insight into current community conditions.  

“Our strategic vision for the future—Onward860—is the result of what our staff heard consistently throughout this collaborative process: a strong desire to unite our region to create bold change. Moving forward, we are committed to sharpening our focus to end poverty in all its forms by reducing disparities that exist in child literacy, wages, housing and life expectancy,” shared Harrison.  

United Way released the Onward860 publication which summarized the strategic planning process and the data collected that informed the organization’s new vision. The report can be accessed at unitedwayinc.org/publications.  

At the Centennial Kickoff event, United Way recognized leadership volunteers who are pivotal to its success, including the 2023 Community Service Award honorees, Gregory and Mary-Jo Toczydlowski. The Community Service Award is United Way’s highest volunteer honor. The recognition is given in memory of Dr. Frederick G. Adams, a former member of United Way’s Board of Directors and community leader. 

“Recognizing the commitment of Greg and Mary-Jo Toczydlowski during this event as our 2023 Community Service Award honorees was deeply meaningful for us and inspirational for our guests. Their compassion for our community and dedication to our organization since 2007 has had immeasurable impact for local children, adults and families,” added Harrison 

 Gregory Toczydlowski, Executive Vice President and President of Business Insurance at Travelers, served on United Way’s Board of Directors from 2008-2019, including assuming the role of Board Chair in 2015 and 2016. The couple has contributed more than $154,000 since 2007 and are United Way Tocqueville Society members. The Toczydlowskis also manage a family foundation and a philanthropic farm that provides fresh produce to soup kitchens and food banks across our region.  

During the event program, Board Chair, Pete Collins, Senior Vice President for Enterprise Operations at Travelers, recognized the slate of volunteer Board Officers approved by United Way’s Board of Directors in January 2024. The Board officers include Pete Collins, Chair; Irene Bassock, Vice Chair; Richard Tavolieri, Treasurer; Eric Harrison, President and Secretary; and, Vittoria Pace, Immediate Past Chair. 

To learn more about United Way’s history, its Onward860 vision, its volunteer leadership and upcoming events related to its Centennial celebrations, visit unitedwayinc.org. 


About United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut  
United Way closes gaps in child literacy, housing, wages and life expectancy to make the 860 region an equitable place where everyone succeeds. United Way does this by aligning partners across sectors to end poverty; leveraging information and experience to deepen impact; connecting people with resources and opportunities to make a difference; and, transforming the future with game-changing solutions. For more information, visit unitedwayinc.org. 

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