The Webster House Night of Giving Gala honors the past and looks to the future as they continue to provide a balanced home-like environment for the most vulnerable children in our community. Their immediate need is for capital improvements that includes addressing the summer heat impact on the residents.
Communicast talks to Andrew Switzer of Peoples United Bank about the upcoming Webster House Night of Giving Gala.
For 137 years, Webster House has served the state of New Hampshire by providing a nurturing home that each year supports more than 50 youths between the ages of 8 and 18 whose lives have been affected by abuse, neglect, or difficulties in the community. State reimbursement does not cover all expenses.
The gala will honor Lou and Frank Catano for their combined 63 years of service to the house and its many generations of residents. Looking to the future, we spoke with Andrew Switzer, Vice President at People’s United Bank, the presenting sponsor of the Gala. It is rarely easy to step into a position as a new person joining a mature team with lots of history. I asked Andrew to talk about his role as a new board member in an organization whose CEO has just finished her first full year at the helm.
Andrew calls Webster House an incredible organization. He speaks to how well Michelle O’Malley and what he calls “a legacy board “works together. His appreciation enhanced by the NH Non-Profits board governance training program he had just completed. Andrew says one of the keys to success is supporting the CEO’s vision.
Michelle O’Malley is no ordinary CEO. I’ve written about her Making the Big Jump off the top of 1000 Elm Street as part of a previous fundraiser. She cares deeply about the kids, the staff and providing a warm, home-like environment for everyone connected to Webster House. Andrew Switzer concurs.
Born and raised in New Hampshire, he views this board position as a great way of giving back. In fact, he first learned about Webster House from O’Malley who he knew from her previous positions and as a great connector of people. He spent time talking to her at a Find Your Cause event where Peoples United was a sponsor. He says he found his cause talking to her as she shared the exciting things taking place with the leadership transition at Webster House and the long standing tradition of service she was responsible for.
Andrew said “the cause of providing a safe and stable environment to the children of New Hampshire who needed it the most really drew me in.”
The pleasant surprise after saying “yes” to a board position was “how well things have clicked between Michelle and board chair Ed Ithier who has been with the Webster House in some fashion since 1994.”
Andrew couldn’t be more pleased. He is also beneficiary to having the access to the institutional knowledge of seasoned board members and staff and he gets to support the new CEO “who brings such incredible passion and has revitalized some of the community outreach to bring in new partners and new sponsors and donors.” Not just encouraged by the process, he is helping make things happen from a seat at the table. And in that family setting, staff and board members get to be part of the daily lives of the residents.
This program is one of only a handful of residential facilities in the state where programs and
services are dispersed in a home setting. Most youths requiring counseling for trauma are treated in larger institutional facilities. Webster House provides a family-like setting and a welcoming home environment, where their counselors make real, lasting relationships with the kids. Their program format makes transitioning back into a family setting easier for their residents and they say they have more residents living successfully outside of the system when compared to the more institutional facilities.
The Gala is sold out but there is still the opportunity to fund the mission if you are able. You can make a one time donation and help the current projects to improve house or sign up for a recurring donation for daily operations. Cash and gifts (see their wish list here) are important year-round.
FMI contact the Webster House 603-724-7409.