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Annual Meeting and Report Out Celebrates Community Accomplishments

FLEMINGTON, NJ- July 6, 2016. United Way of Hunterdon County was proud to present not just a year in review, but an overview of the organization’s accomplishments over the last several years under its recently-completed Long Range Plan. The culmination of those successes can be seen in the Community Volunteer Center that was built with the help of 175 volunteers over 100 days. Overall 13,000 volunteer hours were donated to United Way of Hunterdon County (UWHC) programs and initiatives in 2015-16 by 1,080 volunteers.

Outgoing Board of Trustees president, Joseph DePinto outlined the plan that led to the completion of the volunteer center, acknowledging the efforts of the volunteers, donors and staff to ensure United Way continued to fulfill its mission “To bring people and resources together to improve lives and conditions and to advance the common good of our community.”

Ann McCrystal, incoming Board President, shared highlights of the new Long Range Plan she will oversee. She reinforced that her focus will be on driving successful outcomes while never losing sight of who we are supporting – ALICE, our neighbors who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed.

She gave an update on the Hunterdon THRIVE collaborative, noting that the progress of 100 residents is being tracked through the initiative, which will provide the unduplicated data needed to ensure clients are connected to helpful programs and services, and ultimately improve the financial stability of 10,000 residents by 2020.

Ms. McCrystal introduced attendees to one individual who started in the Hunterdon Thrive initiative at the point of it inception one year ago. As a result of her hard work and with the support of several Thrive partners, Gail is on a path to success. When she first met her Thrive coach, Claire, Gail had several goals – secure an apartment she could afford once she left transitional housing, embark on a career path that would pay a living wage rather than working several part-time jobs to make ends meet, put some money into a savings account and ultimately be in a position to play a large part in her grandson’s life. She is well on her way thanks to United Way and partners including NORWESCAP, Family Promise, Anderson House and others.

“Gail reminds us that data represents people and it takes the support of a community to ensure the success of those who live here,” explained Ms. McCrystal. “This evening was a testament to the power of community. When dedicated organizations, people, and companies come together for the greater good of their community, they make an incredible difference,” she added.

Volunteerism is at the heart of all United Way does in the community. This is the fourth year United Way of Hunterdon County is recognizing one volunteer who has continuously given time, talent and treasure to the organization over a sustained number of years.

This year’s honoree is Suzanne Kleinhans. She led the workplace campaign when she was an employee at Merck and when she moved to Hunterdon County in 1995 she became a volunteer with United Way of Hunterdon County. She has served on the board of trustees and been involved in numerous committee roles. She is a dedicated VITA tax preparer and volunteer financial coach. She enjoys helping people, especially seniors, find their financial footing and stay financially stable.

The organization also takes great pride in its support and encouragement of youth volunteerism. In addition to leading the Youth 4 United Way program at Hunterdon Central Regional High School, UWHC is expanding its reach to middle school students with an annual essay contest on volunteerism. The winners in this year’s contest were: Cassondra Stoter, Califon School; Alba Paz Sanchez, Hampton School; and Benji Beard, Califon School.

UWHC held its Annual Meeting at Razberry’s in Kingwood Township on June 20 to recognize and honor volunteer efforts, as well as the ongoing financial support of individual and corporate donors. The evening was generously supported by Platinum Sponsors: Hunterdon Healthcare System, Peapack Gladstone Bank & PGB Trust & Investments, and Three Bridges Wealth Advisors, and Gold Sponsors: Fulton Bank of New Jersey, Gebhardt &Kiefer, Raritan Valley Community College, Spoor Behrins Campbell & Young Securities, Teamlink HR, Unity Bank and Wright & Ford Funeral Home.

Barbara Piwinski, Vice President of Resource Development presented awards to companies that support United Way of Hunterdon County’s campaign, stressing that all the work of the United Way couldn’t continue without their financial support.

 The Employee Campaign Pillar Award was presented to two companies that made employee contributions of $50,000 or more. Linda Bryant accepted the award for Hunterdon Healthcare’s campaign which raised over $65,000. Manny Martinez accepted on behalf of Johnson & Johnson whose campaign raised $150,000.

ExxonMobil received a notable mention for their above and beyond investment in the Hunterdon County community and for supporting UWHC in more ways than one. They have donated over $497,000 to UWHC through employee campaigns, corporate support and special events. ExxonMobil received the Highest Corporate, Highest Employee, and Highest Union Per Capita Awards. In addition, they also won the Spirit of Caring Award for their engagement, participation, and involvement in numerous programs throughout the year. Their efforts are greatly appreciated.

Receiving an honorable mention for the Spirit of Caring award was 3M. Their employee campaign had a 40% increase in funds raised for UWHC and their partners, and their team was involved in multiple programs throughout the year including the Tools 4 School supply drive and Holiday Hands gift collection.

Mr. DePinto noted that “because of our agency, corporate, government, and other community partners we’re able to do all we do. But all those organizations are made up of individuals and without individual partners, change would not happen.”

Haekyoung Suh, outgoing Chair of the Governance Committee, presented the nominating report for the Board of Trustees. New members for 2016-2017 are: Peter Gakos of Annandale; Stephanie Gagliardi, Esq. of Washington; Eloise Keane of Tewksbury; Amy Musolino of Frenchtown, and Paul Stramaglia of Flemington.  

Peter Gakos is a retired finance professional who has lived in Hunterdon County for 3 years. Stephanie Gagliardi, Esq. has worked in Hunterdon County for 1 year as a Partner at the law firm of Martin & Tune in Whitehouse. Eloise Keane is a retired sales executive with a passion for giving back to the community and a 15-year Hunterdon resident. Amy Musolino, a Hunterdon resident for 15 years, is Marketing Director, New Service Development at Fisher Clinical Services. Paul Stramaglia is a Financial Analyst at MetLife and has resided in Hunterdon County for 4 years.

Retiring board members were also recognized for their time and dedication to the organization: Michel Eosso, Deacon Michael Meyer, Chris Phelan, Jenny Poon and Jennifer Shore.

Pictured here are the President's Award Winners who gave more than 100 hours of their time to United Way!