Rich Moche is a long-time United Way supporter. He was introduced to United Way when he started at Mintz 35 years ago, and where he has spent his entire legal career. He started as a donor. “They hit me up early,” he says with a chuckle. Later, he ran the firm’s campaign. Over the years, Rich’s involvement has grown to include United Way Board Membership and leadership of the Community Impact Committee.
Rich’s commitment to the United Way’s mission has deepened over time. “The longer I’ve been involved with United Way, the more I’ve been struck by the depth and breadth of the work they do, and the incredibly thoughtful way they do it,” he says. “The staff is so dedicated and skilled, using data-based solutions to develop and run programs that are changing lives. They are deeply embedded in the community, working with organizations that are best in breed. And they foster collaboration with the business community and the government sector and bring an army of volunteers. Putting all that together, it is a unique value proposition.
The admiration is mutual. “Rich is fantastic. He’s so passionate about the work we do,” says Karley Ausiello, United Way’s Senior Vice President of Community Impact. “He jumped into his role as Chair of our Community Impact Committee with energy, thoughtful insights, and vision. He inspires all of us with his interest in learning and experiencing every aspect of UW’s impact.”
Rich joined the board of United Way because he found it difficult to choose one signature issue to devote himself to philanthropically. “I realized the solution was right in front of me. United Way covers the landscape of my interests. I used to be a teacher, so education is incredibly important to me. I care about social justice, so ending homelessness and helping families out of poverty are meaningful, as is helping young children prepare to enter school. For me, being able to make a difference in multiple areas was compelling. It allowed me to diversify my social investment.”
In 2019, Rich was part of launching the inaugural United Way Venture Fund, “I was involved from several vantage points. I was on the subcommittee formed to launch the program which included United Way staff and several of my fellow board and CIC members. That was fabulous. To see the program go from conception to reality – learning how to define what we were looking for, how to structure the process, even the sizing of the grants, how to incorporate volunteers in the process. I learned a ton.
“Then, to participate in one of the review panels and in the selection of the finalists was a great introduction to how programs are developed, how the services are delivered and what gaps remain to be plugged. For example, the Lawrence CommunityWorks program – this organization created the bilingual factory floor as a scalable way to create job opportunities for non-native English speakers. This is such a powerful paradigm for job creation. It was a great example of what innovation looks like.”
Rich is equally passionate about the innovation that is already happening at United Way: “Look at Boston Builds Credit. The program is so well-conceived – identifying good credit as something with compounding, lifetime impact on financial stability, determining the drivers for a good credit score and then developing and executing on a program to educate people on how to improve their scores…it’s such an elegant solution. And one which, by the way, is eminently scalable. And United Way becoming a partner for the Mary Ellen McCormack project. What an exciting opportunity to be embedded in a community right from the start and to make a real impact in the delivery of social services.”
Like most United Way Tocqueville donors, Rich’s philanthropic roots run deep. His parents immigrated to the United States, escaping oppression as Jews from Baghdad. They gave generously to charities as well as helping many of their cousins immigrate and begin new lives in America. “Charitable giving was important in my family. My dad, especially, never forgot how lucky he was to end up here and was dedicated to helping those less fortunate. I feel very close to that immigrant mentality, and I imagine it has spilled over to my kids.”
To preserve his family’s legacy, Rich and his wife Heidi Brown have tried to foster a sense of philanthropy with their three children, now grown and in the workforce. “We’ve always emphasized to them the importance of charitable giving. When they were younger, we’d serve at community shelters or soup kitchens over the holidays. In recent years, those opportunities to serve as a family have been harder to find. That’s where the United Way’s signature family events have been so great. Last year my wife and I participated in the Thanksgiving project and this year the kids joined us, which was really gratifying. United Way does a great job with that event.“