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PowerPlayer: United Way CEO Tim Garvin

Monday, July 30, 2012


This week's PowerPlayer is United Way of Central Mass. CEO Tim Garvin.  Garvin was kind enough to sit down with GoLocalWorcester and talk about his role at the United Way. 

1. The mission of United Way has changed in recent years. What is the new mission and how does it affect United Way of Central Mass?

The mission of our United Way of Central Massachusetts is to Connect People with Resources to Improve the Community. This simple inspirational statement guides our work every day.

2. What is the biggest need in the city today, and how are you working to help meet that need?

The greatest need that we see is the constant and persistent struggles associated with long-term poverty. Our belief is that a sharp and multi-dimensional focus upon education IS a solution; that every home is a ‘language-rich environment’; that ALL children enter school ready to learn AND ready to succeed; that all children are reading at grade-level by third grade; that all children have a wealth of opportunities for enrichment in out-of-school time; that all children are exposed to the arts and to the sciences. We believe that these early education foci will enable all children to graduate; that they will enable all children to have wonderful aspirations for productive and healthy lives, therefore breaking the generational chains of long-term poverty.

3. Take us through a day in your life:

I am not so sure that ANYONE would wish to hear of a day in my life but… I usually rise between 5:15 and 5:30, walk our dog, make coffee, and log on and check e-mails from the day/night before. Every day at work is different and exciting; they are filled with communicating with partners and collaborators, board members, donors, and friends. Most days have some strategic planning focus – what current issues need our attention; what solutions can we leverage and offer. During the Fall campaign season there are MANY speaking engagements; opportunities to meet with great folk who may be interested in becoming involved with our United Way and the community – through contributing, volunteering, or advocating. And everyday, EVERYDAY has family time too – being with Theresa, my wife, and supporting our children: Meghan, Erin, and Colin.

4. United Way of Central Mass raises close to $6 million each year. Where does the money come from and where does it go?

Our $6 million dollar budget comes from PEOPLE; many, many great people who say ‘yes’ to our annual campaign appeal; who say ‘yes’ to making a positive and lasting impact upon our community of Central Massachusetts. During our last campaign of 2011-2012 we had more than 12,000 individual donors say ‘yes’. Additional revenue comes from the GREAT Foundations of Central Massachusetts; from support of wonderful corporations and businesses; from government grants to perform specific activities and services; and from our endowment.

Simply, our money goes to ‘improving the community’ through: donor designations; through our Community Support Fund; through Safety Net grants; through Creating Community Change grants; through grants awarded by the Women’s Initiative; through Fuller-facility grants; and through direct services such as: MA 2-1-1, the Volunteer Center, AFL/CIO Labor Services; Earned Income Tax Credit assistance efforts, YouthVenture, Emergency Food and Shelter Program administration and support, Main South Promise Neighborhood Partnership, our Day of Caring, and our internal management and administration.

5. Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I played Rugby for 8 years and miss it every day. I loved the camaraderie and the thrill of the sport; I truly believe that Rugby is a perfect demonstration of ‘collaboration in action’.

Quick Hitters
Role Model: Colin Garvin, my 12 year old son and the courage he exhibits daily as he lives with Type I Diabetes.

Favorite Restaurant: EVERY restaurant on Shrewsbury Street here in Worcester

Best Beach: (day trip) – Wingaersheek in Gloucester; (week vacation) – Bank Street Beach in Harwich Cape Cod

Best Book You've Read in the Last Year: (new) Joseph Monninger’s The World As We Know It; (social commentary) Roland Merullo’s The Talk-Funny Girl; (repeat favorite) Tim Winton’s Dirt Music.

Advice for the Next Tim Garvin: Live life. Live life with passion and enthusiasm in EVERYTHING that you do. Live life! 


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