Pioneer Valley United Way celebrates 100th anniversary with community service awards

United Way of Pioneer Valley will mark its special 100th anniversary year with awards to some people who have been special to the area.

The organization will celebrate its centennial with a lunch from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 2 at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, located at One Monarch Place.

Special guest Chirlane McCray will return to Springfield, where she was born and raised. As the wife of former New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, McCray was the first lady from 2014 to 2021. She continues to champion several humanitarian and social causes, including mental health awareness and support.

United Way will use the lunch to recognize individuals and companies that have had a major impact on local communities.

“In our view, all who have invested time or treasure over the past 100 years are true heroes and are warmly invited to join us at our June 2 Centennial Luncheon,” the CEO said. by United Way of Pioneer Valley, Paul Mina.

“This is a free thank you event for the people and supporting businesses of the Pioneer Valley, for whom we are truly grateful.”

Companies to be recognized include Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company with the Centennial Award, Big Y Foods and Baystate Health with the Summit Awards, Smith & Wesson Brands with the First 50 Years Award, and American Saw & Manufacturing Company and the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation with the Local Legacy Award.

Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to R. Lyman Wood and Robert Bolduc. For Wood, recognition comes for a lifetime of charitable support to multiple cultural, educational, social and philanthropic organizations and causes, many of them unofficially or without publicity.

Along with his wife, the late Meredith “Merrie” Wood, he made many informal contributions to Pioneer Valley organizations. The Woods were named Philanthropists of the Year in 1994 by the National Society of Fund-Raising Executives of Western Massachusetts.

Supported by the couple’s $4.3 million gift, the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History opened in 2009. Lyman Wood’s charitable work continued after the death of his wife in 2012.

Bolduc served as chief executive of Pride Stores until the chain was sold earlier this year. Under Bolduc’s leadership, Pride opened 31 stores in western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut, employing more than 500 people and committing the chain to supporting jobs and services in the neighborhoods it operated.

Pride was also a leader in charitable support for multiple causes. The sale of Pride did not mean the end of Bolduc’s community involvement.

Even before selling the chain to a Boston private equity firm, he rented space and began hiring for the Hope Foundation for Youth and Families, his new philanthropic venture on Cottage Street in Springfield.

The Women’s Leadership Council will be named in honor of Dora D.Robinson, a nonprofit leader and practitioner for over 35 years. Robinson was the first female president of the local United Way President and CEO and served in that position for eight years.

She was also the first full-time president and CEO of MLK, Jr. Family Services (formerly known as MLK, Jr. Community Center), and served there for 19 years.

Since 2018, Robinson has served on the board of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.

John Baker of Trinity Health will receive the Alexis de Tocqueville Volunteer Award. The Serafino family will be recognized with the Michael Serafino Hero Award, named in honor of the late trustee of Western New England University who served as a trustee and officer of the Behavioral Health Network for 30 years

Lunch tickets are free. To register, visit www.uwpv.org.

James C. Tibbs