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O’Sullivan to Lead United Way Annual Campaign

Saturday, July 07, 2012

 

 Former state representative Kevin O’Sullivan will lead the United Way of Central Massachusetts’ (UWCM) annual campaign.

O’Sullivan, a Worcester resident and president and CEO of Massachusetts Biomedical Initiative, said in press release that he was very pleased to be leading this year’s campaign.

“The United Way continues to be a tremendous resource in Central Massachusetts for helping people in need as well as galvanizing community support for key public issues such as education, family stability and health,” O’Sullivan said.

O’Sullivan served on the Worcester Business Development Corporation and was part of the development team that created the highly successful Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park. He is the former Chair of the City of Worcester’s License Commission and is a member of the Reliant Medical Group Board of Trustees.

UWCM’s partners with 185 local companies and more than 60,000 employees for their annual campaign, which enables United Way to connect people to resources, ensuring a safety net for those who are vulnerable, which will stabilize them today, while working to break the cycle of poverty for the next generation.

Day of Caring

The campaign, which begins with a formal kickoff on September 12 with the Day of Caring, raises nearly 80 percent of the UWCM’s $6 million budget.

Heidi Paluk, United Way vice president for external affairs, said the Day of Caring is the largest single day of volunteerism in Central Mass.

“Employees sign up through their companies,” Paluk said. “The non profits let us know what they need done, whether it’s painting or yard work, and we put together more than 100 different project across the city. It’s a great teambuilding activity.”

Paluk said the 2012 campaign is titled “United.” “That word says so much,” she said. “United, we can pool our money. United also talks about how no one organization can break the cycle of poverty by itself.”

Mission Has Changed

Paluk said that when it was founded 93 years ago, the United Way of Central Mass’ mission was to raise money for local charities. In the last 10 to 15 years, most organizations have become adept at raising their own funds, and UWCM decided to change its focus from fundraising to specific community needs.

“The three issues we’re focused on are education, health and family stability,” Paluk said. “The reality is, no matter how good the school is, if you’re hungry or homeless, or witnessing domestic violence, there’s no way you can learn.”

Paluk said that the United Way’s mission is not to teach children, even with its revised focus, but rather to be sure they have all the supports needed so they can learn.

“We’re trying to help the next generation get through high school so that they can be financially stable, while not forgetting the current generation that needs help now,” Paluk said.
  

 

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