By SHERIDAN CYR
The United Way of Southington held its annual meeting on Friday, March 22, and they took the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of several local businesses and individuals that make the community a better place.
“The United Way of Southington for many decades now has absolutely performed a tremendous amount of great deeds in town,” said board president Rob Flood, “and none of it is possible without the people in this room and all of those who have supported us over the years.”
Flood alluded to a biblical passage in his speech: be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. The United Way of Southington 2019 community service award recognized Kathryn Reinhard of the Joe and Kay Calvanese Foundation for doing just that.
The foundation has donated over $2 million to Southington charities, nonprofits and to those with specific needs.
“Kathryn Reinhard has given her instrumental leadership and guidance to the foundation for the past 23 years,” said director Jack Eisenmann. Reinhard is the eldest of Joe and Kay Calvanese’s children. The Calvanese Foundation has owned and operated the Aqua Turf Club for nearly five years, employing over 100 people. “The foundation devotes and dedicates themselves to continue the leadership of parents Joe and Kay Calvanese.”
Reinhard said it takes a village. “This is a great honor, but it’s kind undeserving, because I have so many people who support me,” she said. “It truly is our community—without the support of businesses and individuals, we would not be able to do what we do.”
United Way of Southington vice president Arthur Secondo said the Calvanese Foundation committee meets annually to review numerous requests for funding, devoting considerable time and effort and maintaining a strong legacy. What began with a $500 scholarship donation to the high school by the late Joseph Calvanese has nearly reached $3 million in donations to the community.
It’s because of community support and partnerships that the United Way of Southington exists.
“After 23 years of being a basketball coach, I’m now able to give back. Being the director of the United Way of Southington is not a job,” said Eisenmann. “As a coach, sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. But at the United Way, we win every day by supporting others, and giving our time and giving financially.”
While Reinhard celebrates her recognition from the United Way, festivities for the Joe and Kay Calvanese Foundation are just beginning. The Calvanese Foundation gala will be held Saturday, April 6 at the Aqua Turf.
The foundation was established to improve the quality of life in the Southington community by supporting local charities, assisting individual causes and helping make seemingly impossible dreams come true. The foundation is celebrating 20 years.
The event will include the long-awaited auction of the eight remaining hand-painted apples from the Apples & Arts program, a year-long fundraising event in which 40 apples were painted by different artists and were sponsored by local businesses and nonprofits. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be split evenly between the Southington Community Cultural Arts (SoCCA), the United Way of Southington, Bread for Life and Southington Community Services.
“This auction will be the final big push to raise funds for our social services in town,” said SoCCA director Mary DeCroce.
For the first time, electronic bidding can be done online at calvanesefoundation.org for those who cannot attend the gala. For more information about the arts program, visit www.applesandarts.org.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.