Marna & Eric Borgstrom receive United Way’s highest accolade


NEW HAVEN — Yale New Haven Health System President and CEO Marna Borgstrom and her husband Eric last month received the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Herbert H. Pearce Award, honoring their support of the community through United Way of Greater New Haven contributions. The Tocqueville Society honors United Way donors who give more than $10,000 annually.

Not only are the Borgstroms personally generous but Marna Borgstrom has “created an environment of philanthropy” at Yale New Haven Health System, said Thomas Sansone, chairman of United Way’s Tocqueville Society, in presenting the award November 13.

Borgstrom is also CEO of Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she says she has witnessed the symbiotic relationship between the hospital and its host community.

“Yale-New Haven Hospital is not going to do well if New Haven doesn’t do well,” she said in accepting the award. “We are inextricably linked in so many ways.” The Borgstroms share the award, she added, with the hospital's leadership and employees who take an active interest in the community.

The couple was drawn to United Way, she said, because while they have the resources to give, they rely on United Way’s expertise about the need in the community and “due diligence” in determining where donor money can have the greatest impact.

“I can’t imagine a better or easier way to give,” Marna said of donating to United Way.

In addition to the Borgstroms’ personal philanthropy, YNHH sponsors a vigorous United Way donor campaign among its employees, and workers have collected and donated thousands of supplies to area schools.

As United Way’s New Haven chapter works to tackle some of the region’s most pressing problems, such as public education and income disparities, members of the Tocqueville Society play an increasingly vital role, according to United Way President and CEO Jack Healy.

“It has become a huge part of the United Way campaign,” he said of the support of the roughly 60 Tocqueville donors, and with the help of generous donors “we’re making progress” on crucial issues.

United Way has been recognizing donors with a Tocqueville Society award since 1998. In 2009, the award was renamed in honor of the late Herbert H. Pearce, a long-time United Way supporter and founder of H. Pearce Real Estate.