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East Hartford, Conn. (March 2, 2023) — United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut mobilized nearly 350 volunteers, including 50 from Pratt & Whitney, to read to children at schools in East Hartford, Bloomfield, Hartford and New Britain as part of Read Across America Day, an annual event that promotes the joy of reading for young children.

During the event kick-off in East Hartford, it was announced that Pratt & Whitney’s Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Jill Vichi, will be joining the organization’s board of directors. In addition, Pratt & Whitney also named United Way of Central & Northeastern Connecticut as a strategic Volunteer Leader of Choice for organizing volunteer engagement efforts for its employees in the state.

Eric Harrison, President and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, shared, “A key part of our mission is about connecting people with ways to give back to causes they care about. Pratt & Whitney has been critical in helping our organization make progress in improving community conditions. Their employees have given their time and talent generously for decades. And while employee giving campaigns and corporate investment are still extremely vital, the United Way of today and the future is about more than that. We have been partnering with major corporations in our region on ways to meaningfully engage team members in the community through volunteerism and educational experiences. In the often hybrid environment we find ourselves in today, these opportunities to come together are more important than ever, and we are thrilled to continue to expand our relationship with Pratt & Whitney here in Connecticut.”

This announcement expands upon the longstanding history between Pratt & Whitney and United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut to provide support to communities where employees live and work through giving and volunteerism.

“United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut is an important part of our heritage here at Pratt & Whitney. Together, we’ve helped make a difference in our local community, which is something vitally important to our employees. Over the last few years, the United Way has collaborated with us to provide safe ways for our Connecticut employees to engage in the community. We are excited to have more opportunities for our Connecticut-based teams to build comradery and community through volunteer programs organized by the United Way,” said Vichi.

This year volunteers read “Hair Love” by Matthew A. Cherry and “Have You Thanked an Inventor Today” by Patrice McLaurin to kindergarten through fifth graders in 40 schools. More than 6,700 students participated on this initiative across central and northeastern Connecticut.

Some special guests that joined United Way for Read Across America Day were: Connor Martin, Chief of Staff, Town of East Hartford; Jill Vichi, Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Pratt & Whitney; Employees from Pratt & Whitney; Superintendent Nate Quesnel, East Hartford Public Schools; and Taylor Kinzler and Caitlin Burchill from NBC Connecticut.


About United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut

United Way brings people and resources together to address immediate needs and find long-term solutions to challenging problems. United Way does this by investing in programs and services, leading community change initiatives, and mobilizing resources and volunteers to ensure that children succeed in school, people get jobs and are financially secure, people are healthy, and basic needs are met during tough times. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Anyeline Céspedes López | United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut | 787.502.0436