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September 10, 2018 Newsmakers

Paula Gilberto | President & CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut

Paula Gilberto

Paula Gilberto, president and chief executive of the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, came to the organization by way of another nonprofit.

Before Gilberto joined United Way in 1998, the New Britain native worked for the American Red Cross, which is headquartered in Farmington, her current hometown.

Over the course of her Red Cross career, Gilberto became involved with the United Way as an ambassador and loaned executive, helping to raise resources for its community partners and other nonprofits.

Under Gilberto's leadership, the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut has partnered with more than 400 workplaces in an annual campaign to encourage employees of companies large and small to donate time and money to the nonprofit.

The organization's 2018 fundraising campaign kicked off Aug. 8 — weeks before the nonprofit released a report that said 40 percent of Connecticut households are earning less than what is needed to run a family — with a goal of raising $20 million to support child care, financial literacy and workforce training programs.

What are useful ways the business community can work with nonprofits like United Way?

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Sponsor a United Way workplace campaign and invite employees to give; share your experience as a volunteer or as someone who has benefited from the services of nonprofit agencies; and, encourage employees to get to know their community through volunteering. We welcome the opportunity to partner with businesses to address community issues.

Is Greater Hartford's business community engaged with nonprofits like United Way ?

Our business community is highly engaged with us and with area nonprofits by providing financial support, thought leadership, volunteers and in-kind support. They take their corporate social responsibility seriously and place emphasis on ensuring their employees feel a connection to the communities in which they live and work.

What are the most pressing issues in Greater Hartford that could be helped by United Way?

Too many households are struggling to make ends meet — unable to afford the basics such as food, housing, child care, health care and transportation. United Way coined the acronym ALICE to describe these households: asset limited, income constrained, employed. ALICE household income ($78,000 for a household of four) is above the Federal Poverty Level, but below financial security. Our United Way and its partners are working to ensure ALICE has affordable, quality child care, access to health care and opportunities to secure good-paying jobs.

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