LIVE UNITED Spirit Award finalists go beyond Give, Advocate, Volunteer

Every year, United Way shines a spotlight on the outstanding individuals, companies, and partners who go above and beyond the call to LIVE UNITED on behalf of our community.   Later this week, we will announce our annual Community Celebration Awards, our way of recognizing and thanking them for their dedication.  Because great things happen when we Live United.

From participating in volunteer events, to advocating for United Way and giving through their workplaces, our LIVE UNITED Spirit Award individual finalists stand out.

Page DeGregorio – Brown Brothers Harriman

“The best part about Page is that her work is done from the heart and that she never seeks recognition.”

That’s how one colleague describes Page DeGregorio of Brown Brothers Harriman. The College Readiness Network created by BBH and United Way last year provided homework help, tutoring, academically enriching activities to 4,170 youth and connected 460 youth with valuable summer or school year jobs, work readiness programs and college and career exploration opportunities. For many years, Page has led the employee engagement at Brown Brothers Harriman, developing creative ideas to raise awareness of community strategies to increase graduation rates in eastern Massachusetts, provide resources to critical programs that prepare under-served youth to be college- and work-ready and mobilize employee volunteers to complement these activities.

Jeff Bray – BNP Paribas


Jeff and Kristen Bray at the 2013 Tocqueville Society Celebration

Jeff Bray has been a loyal supporter of United Way for over 10 years, and is an active member our Tocqueville Society.  He constantly advocates for our work, introducing friends and others to new ways they can get involved and give back to the community.  Most recently, he recruited friends to volunteer through the allocations review process.  Jeff is tireless in dedicating his own time and skills to United Way, having been a member of the Tocqueville cabinet, and currently serving on the Resource Development Committee and is co-chair of the Leadership Council.


Hugh McHaffie – John Hancock


Hugh McHaffie and his children at the Tocqueville Celebration

Hugh has been a Tocqueville member since 2006 and is an advocate for United Way within John Hancock and the community. This year, he hosted a meeting inviting his John Hancock peers to join him and United Way President Mike Durkin to learn more about our work and the Tocqueville Society.  From spending a Saturday assembling literacy kits for children to serving as a board member and Leadership Council co-chair, Hugh has fully invested in the LIVE UNITED vision and been an invaluable member of our community.


Walter Abrams – Private Practice; 13 years working with United Way

Over the last month, more than 450 volunteers came together to help review more than 200 applications from local community agencies seeking support from United Way.  Their work and unique perspectives help inform a significant piece of United Way’s funding strategy – to select the best community-based partners to advance goals such as increasing school readiness, helping youth to succeed and stay in school and helping families avoid homelessness.

His past years of volunteer experience led Walter Abrams  to become one of our key volunteers this year behind how we engage citizens in a meaningful review process that is fair, transparent and effective.   He is cerebral, honest and practical, and United Way is grateful both for his passion for our work and for his insights about how to make our good work even better. Walter has become an incredible advocate for United Way and we are lucky to have his leadership, both in terms of giving and volunteering. He is a great example of the unique ways someone can engage with United Way.

The LIVE UNITED Spirit Award is just one of many awards that will be given out Thursday, March 27.  Behind the many individuals who give, advocate, and volunteer for United Way are companies and community agencies who have been dedicated, longstanding partners.

Stay tuned to the blog and our @speakunited Twitter feed to learn about our other nominees and to find out the winners later this week.