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United Way of Pioneer Valley Salutes Hometown Hero to Celebrate Centennial

Springfield, MA – United Way of Pioneer Valley will host a luncheon in honor of their 100th anniversary year, alongside special guest Chirlane McCray, the former First Lady of New York City and native of Springfield, Massachusetts.  


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, they have invested over 193 million dollars toward essential support to help keep communities stable, with the assistance of generous community investors.

The luncheon will take place from 12-2pm on Thursday, June 2nd, 2022 at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, located at One Monarch Place, Springfield, MA. 

“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.

“It means a great deal to me to be honored by the United Way of Pioneer Valley, said Ms. McCray. “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.”

Chirlane McCray: 


Ms. 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 First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray 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, Ms. McCray 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 NYC 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 and Equity, Ms. McCray helped ensure that the city’s recovery from COVID-19 focused on the hardest hit communities with improved access to health care, broadband, small business support and greater representation in government. The former First Lady also chaired the government’s non-profit, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and co-chaired the NYC Commission on Gender Equity.


United Way will be accepting legacy gifts to commemorate their 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.”


Amidst historic division and tensions, United Way has been a unifying force for good throughout the 25 communities in their service area. The organization is  committed to providing a friendly helping hand to families and individuals in the community to improve quality of life, and the donations from this luncheon will do just that.


If interested, please contact Meghan Rothschild at (413) 218-4994 or


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United Way of Pioneer Valley has worked on solutions to solve some of the toughest community problems over the last 100 years, and has made its mission to help lift the residents in 25 communities of Hampden County, Granby, and South Hadley out of poverty. The organization provides a range of services with an emphasis on feeding the hungry, supporting youth development programs, increasing financial literacy, and providing mental health and substance use treatment for anyone seeking those services in the Commonwealth.


Photos for Chirlane available upon request.