United Way of R.I. honors community champions

PROVIDENCE – Two individuals, a nonprofit coalition and a local financial institution were recently honored by United Way of Rhode Island Inc. during the organization’s 97th annual Celebration.

More than 300 people attended the event held Oct. 18 at Farm Fresh Rhode Island. The honorees were recognized for their commitment to bettering the lives of others within the Ocean State.

Martinha Javid, founder of the MAE Organization, received the John H. Chafee LIVE UNITED Award. The nonprofit combats mental illness among at-risk individuals and the homeless through innovative methods. MAE has served thousands of low-income and underhoused Rhode Islanders under David’s leadership, the United Way said.

Karen Hazard, president of the Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council, was recognized by United Way with the Dante F. Mollo Labor United Award. Hazard, the United Way says, is the first woman to hold the presidential position with the council and is responsible for the negotiations of 19 collective bargaining agreements for state, quasi-school and municipal members.

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The Raising RI Coalition, an organization dedicated to lifting children out of poverty by providing parents with education and job-training opportunities, was given the Community United Award. The coalition, the United Way says, partners with the Economic Progress Institute and Rhode Island KIDS COUNT to increase the RI Works benefit. RI Works is the state’s cash assistance program for children and parents, and a work preparation program for adults, the United Way said.

Centreville Bank received the Partners United Award. The West Warwick-based bank has raised more than $648,000 in the last five years to support United Way and its causes.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette