Greenwich United Way kicks off annual campaign
GREENWICH — “We are the safety net,” the leader of Greenwich United Way said as the agency launched its annual campaign to raise funds to support human services organizations throughout town.
The gathering was held Wednesday evening at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, which has received grants from the Greenwich United Way to support its after-school programs and summer camps.
“For 85 years, we have been uncovering unmet needs, raising awareness and support, and developing lasting solutions throughout town,” Greenwich United Way CEO David Rabin said. “No one agency can solve all of the problems in Greenwich that exist today, but no one agency is as uniquely positioned at the Greenwich United Way ... to bring together the best community partners to help our most vulnerable.”
Rabin listed some of those helped by funding from the Greenwich United Way: the 1,000 victims of domestic abuse who receive counseling every year, the 600 at-risk youth who get preschool scholarships annually and the 1,500 meals funded each year so families do not go to bed hungry.
Many Greenwich United Way board members attended along with representatives from nonprofits that have received support from the agency, including Bobby Walker Jr., CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich.
“We are eternally grateful to the Greenwich United Way for its ongoing support,” Walker said. That support goes back at least to the 1960s, he said.
“When I looked back, I realized just how integral our successes are with the success of the Greenwich United Way,” Walker said. “We’re doing a lot, and a lot of what we’re doing is because we’ve had so much support.”
He pointed to support from the Greenwich United Way that allowed the Boys & Girls Club to hire more lifeguards for its swimming program, which aims to help every child in town learn to swim.
As a result, more children can get in the pool safely for lessons — an increase of nearly 30 percent over the last 18 months, said Walker.
The Boys & Girls Club is also one of the locations for the Greenwich United Way’s Reading Champions program, which helps promote early literacy. It will also be a pilot location for the new Financial Champions program to promote financial literacy.
Rabin also shared remarks from others who have received grants and support from the Greenwich United Way.
“It is with the help of from places like this that we can continue working to make our community a better place,” said Shari Shapiro, executive director for Kids in Crisis. “Greenwich United Way helps to provide critical services to vulnerable youth and their families.”
Donna Spellman, executive director of River House Adult Day Center, called the Greenwich United Way, “The glue that holds the nonprofit community together. They are the connective force in Greenwich.”
First Selectman Peter Tesei told the gathering that Greenwich is “blessed as a community.”
“We are blessed because of the people who live in the community like you who see to it that all of the community is supported and their needs are met,” he said. “The Greenwich United Way has continually, for 85 years, brought the community together. It’s so important to emphasize that they’re bringing people together for a common purpose in supporting those who need help the most.”
Tesei praised Greenwich United Way’s evolution over the decades, as it embraced new technologies and adopted best practices. The agency also collaborates within the community to get the most out of the help that is offered, he said.
“You see to it that no need is left unmet, and for that, we’re very grateful as a town,” Tesei said.