Photo courtesy United Way of New York City

600 powerful business and community leaders came together at United Way of New York City’s(UWNYC) 12th Annual Power of Women to Make a Difference Award Luncheon, on March 7.

Hosted by Cheryl Wills, primetime anchor, NY1 Live at 10, the Luncheon celebrates achievements of extraordinary female business leaders, whose professional accomplishments are matched by their commitment to philanthropy.

Honoring Kim Davis, EVP, Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs, National Hockey League, Ellen Patterson, Group Head, General Counsel, TD Bank Group, and Margaret M. Smyth, U.S. Chief Financial Officer, National Grid, the Luncheon raised more than $1 million—a record breaking number for the event—supporting ReadNYC.

ReadNYC is UWNYC’s signature program helping students read on grade-level by third grade in our City’s most-challenged neighborhoods, while also empowering families and schools to build stable homes and communities.

“It’s imperative that we give the next generation the opportunities they deserve. I’m proud that National Grid is committed to empowering others to live their full potential,” said Margaret Smyth. “Working with United Way, we can support education initiatives to empower women and future leaders of our local communities.”

Rallying the power of women, Luncheon proceeds are improving the lives of our City’s children.

“We launched ReadNYC five years ago at our Power of Women Luncheon. We knew our work needed to make an impact, to affect systems change—I’m proud to say it has,” said Sheena Wright, President & CEO, United Way of New York City. “Today, nearly 50% of our ReadNYC 2nd graders are reading on grade-level—up from 10% in 2013—and our women leaders are a big part of that achievement.”

Support from leaders in the room—and community—make UWNYC’s work possible.

“I’m honored and humbled to be celebrated alongside an impressive list of honorees that demonstrate exceptional leadership and share my passion for giving back,” said Kim Davis. “UWNYC has done an exceptional job showcasing the Power of Women who work tirelessly to help build vibrant communities.”

Uniting our cross-sector partners we created a 360-degree approach that’s helping NYC families move from surviving the thriving.

“This is how you change the world,” said Ellen Patterson. “One opportunity, one open mind, one open heart, one brave step at a time—and thank you to United Way for making this possible.”

For more information about United Way of New York City, visit

SOURCE: United Way of New York City

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