There are few corporations in our community that do as much for it as United Technologies Corp. I was pleased to nominate the company, and thrilled to learn it was chosen to receive The Hartford Courant's 2008 Tapestry Award, an award celebrating organizations that excel at building bridges of understanding that strengthen our community.
UTC is so much more than Connecticut's largest private employer. The company's employees, at all levels, are an active and engaged part of communities around our state. They tirelessly champion programs for students, people with disabilities, artists, future scientists, urban youth, minority engineers and many more — all with the goal of building a strong and sustainable community.
The South Arsenal Neighborhood Development Corp. is a nonprofit whose mission is to improve the economic, physical and social condition in Hartford's North End. SAND is the primary deliverer of social services to the residents in this neighborhood.
We began working with UTC in 2005, and in three short years, the company and its employees have made a real difference in our organization. I was amazed at UTC's engagement and desire to help us advance our vision for the community. Today, SAND is working with UTC and other organizations to build affordable, energy-efficient homes in the North End. This unique partnership exemplifies the spirit of The Courant's award, and demonstrates that we can build bridges among people of diverse backgrounds and thus build a better community.
The company understands that its employees can and do have a profound influence on our communities and organizations.
In 2008, UTC launched the "Building Community Excellence" program, which matches the expertise of its employees with the needs of nonprofit organizations. This program provided the engineering and real estate know-how to move our vision for zero-net energy homes forward.
Like many organizations, SAND receives funds from the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, which allows us to engage at-risk teens, provide youth and adult recreation, and develop employment and training programs.
Last year, UTC and its employees contributed $8 million to the United Way's community fundraising campaign, and for more than a decade the company's donations have represented at least 25 percent of the total received each year.
What's truly great about UTC's commitment to our communities is that SAND is just one of many organizations that benefit.
The Academy of Engineering and Green Technology is another. UTC is the lead sponsor of this new academy at Hartford Public High School that integrates academic and career training in engineering, environmental science and advanced manufacturing for 400 students.
UTC's employees also benefit through the company's one-of-a-kind Employee Scholar Program that provides open and free access to education. The program pays for the full cost of an employee's college education and rewards graduates with UTC stock or an equivalent upon graduation. Through 2008, employees have earned 26,500 degrees worldwide.
This year, the Tapestry Award is being given in two categories, to an individual and to a corporation. Ken Kahn, who is the executive director of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, was recognized as the individual winner of the 10th annual award in January.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at