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United Way of Pioneer Valley Salutes Hometown Hero to Celebrate Centennial

SPRINGFIELD — United Way of Pioneer Valley will host a luncheon in honor of its 100th-anniversary year, alongside special guest Chirlane McCray, the former first lady of New York City and native of Springfield.

Today’s unprecedented challenges have low- to moderate-income households struggling with an economic downturn due to inflation and other consequences of the prolonged pandemic. The United Way of Pioneer Valley envisions a future where everyone has the support they need to succeed. To date, it has invested more than $193 million toward essential support to help keep communities stable, with the assistance of generous community investors.

The luncheon will take place on Thursday, June 2 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, located at One Monarch Place, Springfield.

“We are very honored to have the former first lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray, as the featured speaker for our centennial luncheon. Her personal story of growing up in Western Massachusetts, her journey, and her public service is truly inspiring,” said Paul Mina, president and CEO of the United Way of Pioneer Valley.

McCray currently serves on the faculty at the Yale School of Medicine, working with the Yale Child Study Collaborative. She is also a senior advisor for strategic initiatives at the National Council of Mental Wellbeing. As the firstl of New York City, she was nationally recognized as a champion for mental-health reform. Named a 2019 World Health Organization Champion and a 2020 Empire Whole Health Hero by Crain’s New York Business, she is the founder of Thrive NYC, the most comprehensive mental-health plan of any city or state in the nation, which has been made permanent with the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health. She created the Cities Thrive Coalition, bringing together more than 200 mayors, county officials, and thought leaders from all 50 states to improve mental-health and substance-use treatment. As the co-chair of New York City’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity, McCray helped ensure that the city’s recovery from COVID-19 focused on the hardest-hit communities with improved access to healthcare, broadband, small-business support, and greater representation in government. She also chaired the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and co-chaired the NYC Commission on Gender Equity.

“It means a great deal to me to be honored by the United Way of Pioneer Valley,” McCray said. “Because of the incredible work this organization does and because of my deep affection for my birthplace, of all the accolades I have received, this one is especially rewarding.”

United Way will be accepting legacy gifts to commemorate its 100th anniversary. A legacy gift is a one-time contribution starting at $500, in addition to individuals’ normal annual support. All legacy level gifts will be memorialized on the 100th-anniversary Wall of Hope.

If interested, contact Meghan Rothschild at (413) 218-4994 or [email protected].

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