Liberty Bank has presented Teresa C. Younger with the 2013 Willard M. McRae Community Diversity Award. Younger, executive director of the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, received her award from bank officials at a gala reception last night that was attended by some 150 friends, family members, bank officers, and community leaders.
“In choosing the recipient of the award, we look not just for people who have given their time in service to community organizations, but for those who have made it their mission to make opportunities available to all,” said Chandler J. Howard, president and CEO of Liberty Bank. “There is not a shadow of a doubt that Teresa Younger is such a person.”
Introduced in 2001 as the Liberty Bank Community Diversity Award, this award was renamed in 2009 in honor of Willard M. McRae, a past chairman and board member of Liberty Bank. It is designed to recognize an individual who has been a leader in the communities served by Liberty Bank in connecting people who are different—whether those differences are of religion, race, ethnicity, economic status, age, or any other aspect of diversity.
As this year’s award recipient, Younger was able to direct a $5,000 charitable donation from the Liberty Bank Foundation to the nonprofit organizations of her choice. She selected four organizations to share the donation: Girl Scouts of Connecticut, ACLU-CT, Project Morry, and the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University.
In nominating Younger for the award, Mary Barneby, CEO of Girls Scouts of Connecticut, lauded Younger for having worked tirelessly to level the playing field for women at all levels of economic background. “She is a champion of equal pay, healthcare access, economic development education, and helping girls and women thrive and grow as individuals and civic-minded citizens.”
As executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, Younger has led statewide efforts to further the empowerment of women and help residents to achieve higher levels of economic security. Before joining the PCSW, she was the director of affiliate organizational development for the American Civil Liberties Union national office. She was also the first woman and the first African American to serve as executive director of the ACLU in Connecticut.
Younger’s involvements in community organizations are many and varied. She was president of the board of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut for six years, leading the organization through a merger of all the state’s councils into one entity. She serves on the boards of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale, the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, and the National Association of Commissions for Women. She is also a member of the Connecticut Health Foundation’s Health Justice Connecticut Advisory Board and the Academy of Educational Development’s New Voices National Advisory Board. In 2009, the Connecticut NAACP named her as one of the “100 Most Influential Blacks” in the state of Connecticut, and the Hartford Business Journal recognized her in 2008 as one of “Eight Remarkable Women in Business.” Younger lives in Shelton with her husband, Richard Preston.
State Senator Kevin Kelly was on hand at the award ceremony to present Younger with a citation in her honor from the state legislature. Mayor Mark Lauretti of Shelton presented a proclamation declaring November 21, 2013 as “Teresa Younger Day” in Shelton.
“Teresa has devoted her life to the idea that everyone deserves to be seen and heard,” said Chandler Howard in presenting the award.. “One phrase that has come up repeatedly as people speak of her is: a voice for those who have no voice. It’s no surprise we’re here tonight to honor this extraordinary woman who has devoted her life to providing leadership and encouragement for all people, and to being the voice for those who might not otherwise be heard.”
Younger is the thirteenth recipient of the Community Diversity Award. Previous winners are listed at the end of this release.
Established in 1825, Liberty Bank is Connecticut’s oldest mutual bank, with more than $3.5 billion in assets and 49 banking offices throughout the central, eastern, and shoreline areas of the state. As a full-service financial institution, Liberty offers consumer and commercial banking, home mortgages, insurance, and investment services. Rated outstanding by federal regulators on its community reinvestment efforts, Liberty maintains a longstanding commitment to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement.
Previous Recipients of the Willard M. McRae Community Diversity Award
Elsa Núñez, Windham
President, Eastern Connecticut State University
Founder, Dual College Enrollment Initiative, the Academic Services Center, and the Center for Community Engagement at Eastern
Jacqueline Owens, Lebanon
President, Norwich NAACP
Co-founder, Norwich Special People Reaching Out To Students Program
Co-founder, Greater Norwich Bully Buster Coalition
Ulysses B. Hammond, Waterford
President, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund
Co-Founder and Co-Chair, New London Tutoring for Success Program
Chairman, Lawrence & Memorial Hospital
Founder, Minority Student Support Program, Connecticut College
Willard M. McRae, Middletown
Past chairman and past director, Liberty Bank
Founding member, Liberty Bank Foundation Board of Directors
Co-founder, Middlesex Coalition for Children
Co-founder, Middlesex Child and Adolescent Services System Program
Co-founder, Wesleyan University’s Upward Bound Program
Alejandro Melendez-Cooper, New London
Director, Community Health Centers of Groton and New London
Founder, Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut
Arthur Meyers, Middletown
Director of the Russell Library
Chair, International Exchange Committee of the Middletown Rotary Club
Catina Caban-Owen, Windham
Social worker, Windham Public Schools
Advocate for equal access to education and healthcare
Joseph Sheffey, Uncasville
Founder of Child Adoption Resource Association, an adoption agency focusing on interracial placements
Lydia Brewster, Haddam Neck
Community activist and founder of Middletown’s North End Action Team
Ramón Ortiz, Willimantic
Community activist and service coordinator for Village Heights Apartments, a non-profit housing complex for low-income families
Jane Glover, New London
Founder of Kenté Enterprises and former mayor of New London
Claire Gaudiani, New London
President of Connecticut College and the New London Development Corporation