Polaris Awards

The Polaris Awards gala is our annual signature fundraising event that recognizes “guiding lights” in our community. Each fall hundreds of diverse leaders from every sector in the Greater Hartford area come together to network, to celebrate and to be inspired by the unsung heroes who strengthen community leadership connections in our region.

Event proceeds directly support Leadership Greater Hartford’s important work to strengthen the local community by training and connecting aspiring and established leaders.

2017 Polaris Winners

Cheryl and Jamie “Bear” McDonald are not only owners of one of the fastest growing restaurant businesses in the state, they personify dedication to both quality and the community. Starting with Bear’s Smokehouse in Windsor, South Windsor and Hartford, they have opened three other restaurants this year. And their community focus includes a commitment to hire ex-offenders, raising their minimum wage to $15 an hour for “non-tip” employees and significant support of many local charities. Iran Nazario is a high school dropout and former gang member who overcame many hardships, including jail time, to become an inspirational nonprofit leader in Hartford. Today he is president of the Peace Center of Connecticut and was most recently with COMPASS Youth Collaborative Inc., positions that have allowed him to work with young people to prevent gangs, reduce violence and find peaceful paths forward. Ronit Shoham is the driving force behind many remarkable projects for young people and others in need. She is a whirlwind of activity who has helped catalyze such initiatives as the creation of the Miracle League of Connecticut (which enables children with physical and mental challenges to enjoy playing baseball), Jonathan’s Dream Re-Imagined (rebuilding one of America’s first inclusive, accessible play spaces) and Cut Out Cancer, a nonprofit that provides free salon/spa services to women with cancer.

 

2017 Polaris Sponsors

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