Mashantucket — United Way of Southeastern Connecticut's 2011 fundraising campaign raised $5.8 million for those in need, campaign officials announced Wednesday night.
More than 16,000 people contributed, about 1,000 more than the previous year's campaign.
"Increasing our participation in a declining economy is truly a victory," campaign co-chairman Rodney Butler told hundreds in the audience at the United Way's annual "Appreciation Event" at High Rollers Luxury Lanes and Lounge at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
"That's what it was all about — increasing the base," said Butler, the Mashantucket Pequot tribal chairman, who, along with fellow co-chairman Melodie Peters, first vice president of the AFT Connecticut labor union, led the campaign for a second consecutive year.
The 2011 total of $5,801,474 was 6 percent below the more than $6.1 million raised in 2010.
Butler presented Peters with a bouquet of flowers, saying it was "a tremendous pleasure and honor" to have served with her. Peters attributed the success of the last two campaigns to the "chemistry" she and Butler shared.
They announced that they will be succeeded by two new co-chairmen for the 2012 campaign, Pat Gaffey, senior director of communications for Worldwide Research and Development at Pfizer, and Harry Rodriguez, president of AFT Healthcare Workers Local 5123 at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.
Seven awards were announced Wednesday night. Nineteen additional awards had been presented to recipients at their workplaces over the past three weeks.
The coveted Chairman's Award of Excellence was presented for the second time to the Electric Boat Employees' Community Service Association.
Robert Nardone, vice president for administration and human resources; Kenneth Delacruz, president of Metal Trades Council, AFL-CIO; and Bob Canova, president of MDA-UAW Local 571 accepted the honor.
About 78 percent of EB's 11,000 employees contributed more than $1.4 million to the campaign, while the corporation added another $340,000 and company retirees provided $16,000, bringing the EB total to nearly $1.8 million.
Also honored Wednesday night were:
?Pfizer, recipient of the Corporate Support of the Year Award in recognition of its contribution of nearly $1.7 million, including more than $900,000 from employees;
?Zachry Nuclear Engineering Inc., which received the Partner of the Year Award;
?Groton Public Schools, winner of the Campaign Committee of the Year Award for organizing a committee that achieved 56 percent employee participation.
?Applied Physical Sciences, which received the Employee Campaign Performance of the Year Award;
?L&M and its three AFT union locals, 5123, 5051 and 5049, which received the Labor Partnership Award;
? Red Wolf Broadcasting/Full Power Radio, recipient of the first Media Partner of the Year Award.