Valley United Way has been the Valley’s leading philanthropic resource since the early days of the Community Chest and Red Feather movements in the United States back in the 1930’s. In 1969 the five Valley towns combined their efforts under the umbrella of the Valley United Fund which has since evolved as the Valley United Way. Its strength is its base as a local fund raiser and funder of local programs and services as well as a leader and convener on quality of life issues in the Valley.
We led the effort that resulted in the creation of the Valley Council for Health and Human Services which brings together the Valley’s nonprofit community to work together on issues of importance to the community. Working with the Council and also the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, we created the Leadership Greater Valley program to recruit and train a new generation of volunteer leaders for the Valley.
Valley United Way was also a leader in several other initiatives that helped build the foundation for the Valley’s selection as one of 10 All America City award winners in 2010.
Valley United Way's mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. Valley United Way will measurably improve the lives of people in our community through:
During the past year we have not only conducted a successful community campaign funding a variety of needed programs in the Valley area, but also clothed 160 needy children for school bringing our total for this program to over 2,400 children. Our Corporate Volunteer Council also built the fifth iteration of Harvest House and distributed over 100,000 food items to local food banks from the project. They also conducted monthly food and clothing drives. Our Youth Leadership Program provided another 25 area high school students with leadership training and volunteer experience whild our Leadership Greater Valley Program also graduated and placed 17 new adult volunteer leaders for our community.
We also served as the community agent for the Discovery Early Childhood efforts for the region as well as Ansonia and Shelton's city efforts.We continued to host and provide administrative support for the Valley Council of Health and Human Services.
It is my pleasure to serve as President/CEO of Valley United Way, a position that I have held for over 25 years. I believe that our United Way embodies the real strengths of the United Way movement, namely being intimately involved with the community we serve. In our case, that holds true for all of our staff. Every staff member either lives in the Valley or grew up and went to school here and we have a total of 120 combined years of service to Valley United Way.
I was actually involved as a volunteer for Valley United Way for fifteen years before I took this job and had the opportunity to see the unique role that United Way played in the community. I was the Director of the Recreation Camp, one of the older organizations funded by United Way. United Way funding made our programs possible, and United Way also gave me the opportunity to go out to the community to tell the unique story that is the Recreation Camp. Valley United Way and its predecessor organizations have been serving the Valley since the 1930’s, and I am proud to be part of that great tradition.
The funds that we raise here in the community stay in the community unless a donor directs them to go elsewhere. Decisions on funding are made by volunteers who live and work in the community and know its needs through personal experience.
Though fund raising and allocation of funds are cornerstones of every United Way, we are also leaders in our community in bringing people together for the benefit of the community. Our Volunteer Center is an incredible community resource that fosters direct community involvement through volunteerism. Within the Volunteer Center we have our Corporate Volunteer Council and the High School Volunteer Council which harness the incredible spirit and compassion of two different generations of volunteers to better serve our own community. We also are training the next generation of volunteer leaders through our Youth Leadership Program which is now in its 25th year.
I could go on and on about our numerous involvements in the community, but perhaps the best way to keep up with us would be to visit our website, or check us out on Facebook. You might follow us on Twitter, read our Blog or even check out our YouTube video channel. We may be firmly rooted in the past, but we are just as excited about our future in making the Valley a better place to live and work.
One of the real strengths of Valley United Way is the volunteer leadership of the organization. It is my pleasure to now serve as Board Chair after having served on the Board not only of Valley United Way, but several other organizations that make our Valley great. My community involvement stems from my parents who instilled that tradition of giving back to the community where we live or work.
Though we have an excellent staff, an active and involved Board of Directors is critical to the success of the organization. Ultimately, it is the Board that sets the policy and the vision for the organization and is responsible for the governance of Valley United Way. We are fortunate to have a diverse, knowledgeable and dedicated group of community leaders serving on our Board. They are people who live and work in the community and have a great desire to serve the community.
Board members take leadership roles in all our activities and Board members chair all of our committees ensuring that the Board is always fully engaged in our programs and services. I would also like to point out that all Board members are also donors themselves, and very generous in sharing their time, talents and treasures.
Like all Boards, we are faced with the challenges of a difficult economy and increasing demands for financial and other support. We are also dealing with the changing demographics of our population, shifting needs in the community and the technological changes affecting our business and the way that we communicate with our community.
Please take the time to visit our website for all the latest information on what we are accomplishing for the betterment of our Valley.
The Center maintains a database of volunteer opportunities listed by nonprofit agencies in the Valley. It also coordinates the Corporate Volunteer Council (Area Businesses) and the High School Volunteer Council (Area High Schools) as well as United Way's Youth Leadership Program.
The Center's on-line Volunteer Solutions site is always available to supplement live contact with the Center's Director, Patricia Tarasovic.
Close to seventy companies are members of the
Corporate Volunteer Council
which is a program coordinated by Valley United Way's Volunteer Action Center. The group's enthusiasm, skill and community spirit is leaving an indelible mark on the Valley and improving the quality of life through their everyday efforts that demonstrate that they and their employees care about the community in which they live and work.
The purpose of the CVC is:
1. Networking: Providing a way for companies operating corporate volunteer programs to exchange information and help other companies in the community start corporate volunteer programs.
2. Community-needs identification: Providing a forum where member companies can learn about community needs for employee volunteers. Information is transmitted when the CVC invites a local nonprofit agency to present information on its need for volunteers during a regularly scheduled CVC meeting.
3. Joint Projects: Providing a way for member companies to work together on a community need or problem that is too large or complex for one company to handle alone. Currently active ongoing projects include:
Monthly Food Drive
Clothes Drive & more
Cell Phone Collection - For victims of domestic violence
Since 1994 the CVC has also taken on major projects on an annual basis. The two annual projects are the Week of Caring projects which generally involve a very hands on "construction and renovation" project for an area nonprofit organization and the Back to School Clothes for Kids Project which adopts the neediest children in one Valley grammar school providing children with back to school clothing and encouragement for a successful start to the new academic year.
Donors simply need to call or e-mail United Way with the list of items to be donated and the contact information.
What is it about?
Leadership Greater Valley (LGV) combines leadership skill building with community education. During the nine-week program, participants get a bird’s-eye view of the issues facing the community, begin developing the leadership skills necessary to assume leadership roles and are exposed to involvement opportunities in the community. The class is limited to 20 selected individuals – those who will have the personal opportunity to learn from the leaders of many local organizations and associations. Leadership Greater Valley is unlike other programs because it provides a catalyst for community vision and change – it builds a better tomorrow for all of us.
Jack Walsh is the President and C.O.O. of Valley United Way. A life-long resident of Derby, he has been with United Way since 1989. Jack was previously a teacher in Shelton and Derby as well as the head boys basketball coach at Shelton High School. He was also the Director of the Recreation Camp in Derby, a United Way funded agency, for fourteen years.
During Jack's tenure, Valley United Way has grown as a community resource by adding the Youth Leadership Program, the Volunteer Action Center, and the partner Agency Council which has since expanded to become the Valley Council for Health & Human Services. He was also one of the leaders in the Valley's successful effort in the All America City competition.
Jack currently serves as the Chair of the Chief Professional Officers Council for United Way of Connecticut and is on the Board of Directors at United Way of Connecticut.
Jack is an active member of the community. He is a past Chair of Derby's Park & Recreation Commission and currently chairs the City's Greenway Committee. He is also Chair of the Electronic Valley project, member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer at the Derby Neck Library and a member and past president of both the Derby/Shelton Rotary Club and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He is a past President of the Board of Directors for the Derby Historical Society and is a former member of the board of directors for the Hallock's Landing Senior Housing Project.
Jack is a corporator for Griffin Hospital and a member and past Co-chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Yale/Griffin PRC. Jack is a member of the Board of Directors for the Online Journalism Project. He is also one of the founders and a committee member for the Commodore Hull Thanksgiving Day 5K Road Race. He is on the Community Advisory Board for the Yale Community Rowing Program.
He is a past recipient of the Chamber of Commerce's Gold Seal Award as well as its Platinum Award. He also received the Lewis Savitsky Staff Excellence Award presented by the Valley Council of Health & Human Service Organizations. He has also received the Valley Council of Governments' Hazel Knapp Award for regional leadership and the Derby Historical Society's Dr. John I. Howe Award. In 2007, he received the Parent Child Resource Center’s Outstanding Service to Children and Families award. He was also named to the Boys & Girls Club Alumni Association Hall of Fame.
The Lower Naugatuck Valley Bar Association presented him with their Liberty Bell Award in 2008.
In 2010 the YMCA presented him with their Strong Community Builder Award. The Women and Heart Disease Committee at Griffin Hospital presented him with their "Caring Heart" Award in 2011. In 2012, he received the Spirit of St. Mary - St. Michael School award from the school.
Pat Tarasovic is the Director of the Volunteer Action Center at Valley United Way. Pat was first Director of The Volunteer Action Center when it was started in 1991 and served until 1999 when she joined Birmingham Group Health Services as their Director of Development and dedicated over four years to the agency to help them as they launched a very aggressive Development Plan.
During her first tenure at Valley United Way, Pat created the Valley’s award-winning Corporate Volunteer Council and High School Volunteer Council in addition to running the Youth Leadership Program.
A very active member of the community, Pat was the Co-founder of the Oxford Cultural Arts Commission, and oversaw the building of Oxford’s bandstand and the initiation of its concert series. She co-chaired Oxford’s successful bicentennial and 350th anniversary events. She has served on the towns Beautification Committee and several other town committees. Pat was also a Co-founder of the award winning Oxford School Volunteer Program. She served as the Statewide President of School Volunteer Program and represented the State on National issues.
Pat served as President of the Oxford Junior Women’s Club and later went on to Serve as Director of the Connecticut Junior Women. She was also Co-Chair of the Valley’s All America City Weekend Gala and Celebration and a delegate in both 1999 and 2000.
Pat has been a driving force in the Valley’s LEAD Program which has now merged with the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce to become the Leadership Program. She is also Co Chair of Healthy Valley and is a Past-president of the Derby/Shelton Rotary Club.
She is a past recipient of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce's Gold Seal award, the Valley Council of Health and Human Services Lewis Savitsky Award, the Birmingham Group Health Services Good Neighbor Award, the Ansonia’s Women in History 2000 Award and the Valley YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award.
Her most recent award is the "Valley Women Making A Difference in the Valley " award which she received on October 1, 2009.
Sara Aylward is the Director of Resource Development with ties that go back to her initial involvement as a student in the Youth Leadership Program where she first developed her passion for service.
The Ansonia High School interest in community involvement followed her to Central Connecticut State University where she earned a BA in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Political Science. She put those skills to work at Valley United Way during her senior year when she served as an unpaid intern in communications and marketing.
Following graduation, Sara went to work at the United Way of Mid-Maine in Waterville, Maine where she served as Resource Development Coordinator. She helped coordinate all aspects of a very successful campaign that raised $730,000 over a large, rural area.
She returned to Connecticut, and worked for the United Way of Coastal Fairfield county as Program Coordinator of the Voluntary Action Center there. She has also served as a volunteer during that time as well. Not surprisingly, she has been a volunteer advisor to Valley United Way’s Youth Leadership Program!
At Valley United Way, Sara is in charge of all aspects of not only the annual community campaign, but also special events and leadership and endowment giving. She also serves as staff liaison to the Marketing Committee.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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