LACONIA — Alan Robichaud, long-time community advocate, organizer and a leader in the efforts of non-profit organizations to improve the lives of citizens in the Lakes Region, was presented with the Captain Ralph Bristol Award at the annual meeting of the Granite United Way's Central Region yesterday at Church Landing.
Robichaud, who will be retiring this coming summer, has most recently served as community development director of what until last year was the Lakes Region United Way, and was credited by his boss, Jack Terrill, senior vice president of community impact for the Granite United Way, with having been a committed community builder with an exceptional set of skills which helped develop civic engagement and community collaboration.
Over a long career in social services, Robichaud has won numerous honor, including the ''Heart of Your City'' award from Citizens Bank and WMUR-TV in 2012, the George "Pete" Harris award from Genesis Behavioral Health, a Good Scout Award from the Daniel Webster Council and the Norm Marsh Award from the Belknap Economic Development Council in 2007.
''He has not sat back on his laurels but has continued to play a role in organizations like the Financial Stability Partnership, Better Together and the 200 by 2020 Initiative, as well as the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health,'' said Terrill.
Robichaud is the former executive director of the Belknap County Citizens Council for Children and Families as well as the executive director of the N.H. Developmental Disabilities Council and administrator for the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services, among other positions.
Robichaud got to present one of the awards at the meeting, the Sara Allen Award, an honor given to an agency or initiative that takes important steps to either ensure their services are sustainable or enhance the effectiveness of those services, which went to the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health.
The third major award, The Nighswander-Chertok Award, which acknowledges an organization for fundraising campaign design excellence and development of a giving culture that utilizes best practices to encourage individual and corporate community investment, was presented to ALF Noyes Test Inspection of Belmont, which last year increased it's United Way contribution by 38 percent. That award was presented by Cindy Bodah of the Bank of New Hampshire, who chaired the Central Region's United Way campaign,
This year's meeting marked the second since the merger of the Lakes Region United Way with Granite United Way, a change which has benefited both organizations according to Patrick Tufts, president and CEO of Granite United Way who said that the organization raised over $7 million last year.
More than $1 million of that came from the Central Region according to Scoop Welch of Granite United Way. Terrill said that two companies from the area, the Bank of New Hampshire and LRGHealthcare, were Granite Award winners with contributions of over $100,000.
Granite United Way was formed in July, 2010 with the merger of Heritage United Way of Manchester, United Way of Merrimack County of Concord, Upper Valley United Way of Lebanon and North County United Way of Littleton. In 2012 United Way of Northern New Hampshire of Berlin joined the group and Lakes Region United Way joined last year.
Tufts said that the strength of the organization is that decisions on how money is raised and spent are made at the local level on that it has been an exciting year of growth for the organization.
Alan Robichaud (left) was presented with the Ralph Bristol Award at the annual meeting of the Granite United Way held at Church Landing in Meredith yesterday. Here he is congratulated by United Way Vice President Jack Terrill. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)