United Way Says Thanks to Yale

23 Jun 2010 10:39 PM | Anonymous

The New Haven Register, Wednesday, June 23, 2010

By Mark Zaretsky, Register Staff

NEW HAVEN — To say Diane Turner led the United Way of Greater New Haven’s 2009-10 Community Campaign during a challenging time is a bit of an understatement.

“In case you haven’t heard, it’s tough,” United Way board Chairman Al Smith told over 100 campaign supporters Tuesday night at a reception at the New Haven Country Club to honor Turner and her employer, Yale University, for their commitment to the community.

The reception also celebrated that in the midst of that tough environment, the campaign was able to raise $5.2 million.

When Turner, Yale’s associate university librarian for human resources, took the position as United Way campaign chairwoman after being recommended to Smith by Yale Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs Bruce Alexander, “She brought her incredible gifts to the campaign,” Smith said.

“She opened doors that had not been open before” and “introduced us to new donors,” said Smith, managing partner of the Murtha Cullina law firm. “She helped us raise $5.2 million in an extraordinary fundraising environment.”

Turner called it “interesting and extremely challenging” to lead the past year’s campaign, but said the end result shows the strength of the community. “We can achieve anything if we work united” and draw upon the community’s resources and knowledge, she said.

President Richard Levin accepted the United Way’s thanks on behalf of Yale after being introduced by United Way of Greater New Haven President and CEO Jack Healy.

Healy said that under Levin’s leadership of Yale, “We have seen amazing changes in the city” and its relationship with the university.

He talked about the many ways Yale helps the city, from the School of Management giving advice to nonprofits, to the School of Law working with groups to help keep homeowners out of foreclosure, to the Yale Home Buyers Program, which gives Yale employees assistance to buy homes in New Haven.

Levin said that every citizen is in the debt of those who work to make the city a better place. With regard to Yale, he said, “It does make me proud as the head of the university to know that the actual individuals at the university are in the mix” when it comes to making New Haven a better community.

“It has been a challenge,” said Smith. But “the great thing about the community ... is that those who are able to at all dig a little deeper” during challenging times “because they realize” that those in the most difficult situations have it even harder when times are bad, he said.

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