UWMOC welcomed four new members to our Board of Directors and Advisory Council for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Each member is eligible to serve three two-year terms, and is tasked with helping to advance United Way’s important work in education, financial stability and health. We thank both our new and longstanding board members for their dedication to our mission and being champions for our cause.
Board Member Gabriel Lavigne is First Vice President at UBS Financial Services. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, Gabriel resides in Colts Neck, NJ.
How did you get involved with United Way? Through my involvement with another nonprofit Elijah’s Promise and the Middlesex County Workforce Development Board, I was able to learn more about United Way through my involvement with United Way of Central Jersey and the ALICE program.
What made you want to join UWMOC's Board Of Directors? It is extremely important to give back in the communities in which we reside, and United Way does an excellent job focusing on general philanthropy and helping those who need it most.
Which of our impact areas are you most passionate about? I would have to say financial stability as it is what I do for a living and is such a large part of my life. Feeling comfortable about one’s finances and where their next meal is coming from is paramount to living well and having a prosperous life.
How do you “Live United”? We are all in this together and there are far too many people who need help and not enough of those willing to provide. Living United is about providing those opportunities to excel to those in the community that need it.
What activities do you enjoy in your spare time? I love spending time with my three kids. They love the water so the beach and the pool are always fun. I am an avid golfer and love the game. I am also into wood working, exercise, playing the drums and cooking.
What is an interesting fact about you? I worked in a kitchen for years, am the president of food based nonprofit and love to eat. My life basically revolves around food!
Additional community involvement: President of the Board of Trustees of Elijah’s Promise; President of the Board of Trustees at The Grande at Colts Neck; board member at Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce; board member and past Chair at Middlesex County Workforce Development Board; board member of the Greater New Brunswick Rotary; advisory board member at the State Theatre of NJ. Received the Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition for outstanding community service in 2018.
Board Member Douglas Powell is Business Development Director for Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Tinton Falls. A graduate of Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, Douglas resides in Long Branch, NJ.
How did you get involved with United Way? I was first introduced to the United Way in Mesa, AZ through my job at Southwest Ambulance. I was involved with their corporate giving initiative.
What made you want to join UWMOC's Board Of Directors? Throughout my career I have always been a part of multiple community organizations, and having past experience with the United Way, I felt it was time for me to increase my involvement to include an organization that focuses on multiple community outreach sectors rather than only the hospital sector.
Which of our impact areas are you most passionate about? Obviously the natural fit would be health due to my extensive background in that field. The great people that I have encountered over the years, their stories, their struggles, and helping them recover or get back to leading a fulfilling life has been extremely rewarding. Additionally, I would like to expand on my knowledge and look to assist with education in the community.
What does “Living United” mean to you? Finding ways to help people throughout the community create opportunities for themselves. Creating positive environments where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. Educating and inspiring people to set and reach goals that in turn improves their lives.
What activities do you enjoy in your spare time? Travel, golf and snowboard.
What is an interesting fact about you? I have been lucky enough to accumulate three hole-in-one’s during my golf adventures.
Additional community involvement: Member of the Board of Directors for the Mesa, AZ YMCA.
Advisory Council Member Joe Bonacci is Senior Vice President/Wealth Manager at UBS Financial Services. A graduate of University of Tampa in Tampa, FL for his BS and Pace University in New York, NY for his MBA, Joe resides in Point Pleasant, NJ.
How did you get involved with United Way? I first became involved in United Way a few years ago as a donor and attended numerous events as a guest. It didn’t hurt that my fiancée is on the board, who subsequently provided me with UWMOC's fundamental background and mission. Once interested, I did my own research and vetting, and determined that UWMOC was definitely an organization I wanted to get involved in.
What made you want to join UWMOC's Advisory Council? Joining the Advisory Council will enable me to contribute to the goals of UWMOC to the best of my abilities.
Which of our impact areas are you most passionate about? I am most interested in Education and Health.
What does “Living United” mean to you? Reaching out and organizing, cooperating, and channeling a diversity of ideas - and then being United to accomplish a common, worthwhile goal to help where help is needed. Living United should be a mindset and be used to accomplish goals for the greater good of our community.
What activities do you enjoy in your spare time? I enjoy running and going to the gym, flying (private pilot), riding my Indian Motorcycle, fishing, boating and reading nonfiction. I teach adult education on numerous financial topics at Brookdale Community College and teach safety lessons on aviation as a member of the FAA Safety Team.
What is an interesting fact about you? I never, ever, forget a face.
Additional community involvement: President of the Monmouth Area Flying Club at Lakewood Airport; Secretary of the Natural Resource Education Foundation; former Chairman and Councilman on two Planning/Zoning Boards in Monmouth County municipalities; former Public Safety Chairman for a local Police Department; former volunteer at Jersey Shore University Hospital.
Advisory Council Member Tahj Holden is a Banker at J.P. Morgan Private Bank and Head Coach of boy's basketball at Ranney School. A graduate of University of Maryland in College Park, MD, Tahj resides in Bradley Beach, NJ.
How did you get involved with United Way? I first became involved with United Way through my connection with Eric Lubin, the current Vice President of UWMOC's Board of Directors.
What made you want to join UWMOC's Advisory Council? To have an opportunity to give back to the community in which I reside in whatever capacity that I can.
Which of our impact areas are you most passionate about? Financial stability is something that I am very passionate about. I recognize that often a helping hand in times of true need can be just enough to get an individual or family over the proverbial hump, and I want to be able to help as many people be able to support themselves and their families. Not only does this benefit those who are in need, but it betters the community where they reside as well.
What does “Living United” mean to you? We must recognize that we are all united in our communities, and we must live as though that is the case. We must all work together to solve our community's issues because an issue for our neighbor is one for us as well.
What activities do you enjoy in your spare time? In the infinitesimal spare time that I have, I like spending time with my family and friends, watching sports of almost any kind, and finding the next bottle of bourbon to consume.
What is an interesting fact about you? I was a member of the University of Maryland’s 2002 National Championship basketball team.
Additional community involvement: Former board member of the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County.