Kari and I went to two fundraisers last week for great organizations in Middletown. That’s one of the “perks” of being Wesleyan’s president: one gets invited to serve on various committees, and one gets to know a variety of organizations doing good work in the region. This year I was an “honorary chair” for the celebration and fundraiser commemorating the 35th anniversary of Oddfellows Playhouse. Oddfellows was founded by a group of Wesleyan students in the 1970s to serve young people in Middletown by providing them with the opportunity to create first-rate theater. They have an educational, social and community mission, and they have remained true to the founders’ vision over a long period of time. The Gala and auction raised significant amounts of money that will have a direct impact on the lives of young people in this area.
The day after the Oddfellows event we were headed to a fundraising dinner for The Connection, a social services and community development organization. Wesleyan philosopher Steve Angle is on their board of directors, and he explained to me that the organization has always had a philosopher there since the 1970s when Phil Hallie served this role. The Connection addresses substance abuse, crime, and community disrepair across the state, and the fundraising event seemed like a great success. Lots of money was raised (and The Shiny Lapel Trio played some great dance music!).
Wesleyan is an important part of Middletown and Middlesex County, and for many years the university has been active in promoting community development. I am one of the Chairs of the upcoming United Way Campaign, which marks the organization’s 75th anniversary. Wes faculty and staff have been consistently generous supporters of United Way, and we will do our best to raise a record amount to mark the 75th! Thanks in advance for everyone who contributes to this effort!
Even our daughter Sophie has gotten into the act. She was just called for her bat mitzvah, and she suggested that people consider a donation to Wesleyan’s Green Street Arts Center in lieu of a gift. Green Street raised some money, and we have another reason to be proud of our not-so-little girl.