Meadow Ridge Raises Over $210K to Help Associates

Separate funds benefit education and emergency needs for associates and their families
Senior with two adolescents
May '24

Supporting our Associates

The residents and associates of Meadow Ridge have raised over $210,000 to support the dedicated men and women who work here through academic scholarships and a dedicated hardship fund.  The resident-led Meadow Ridge Scholarship Fund garnered more than $170,000 in donations during the 2024 campaign. Meanwhile, associates raised just over $40,000 for Benchmark’s One Company Fund, making Meadow Ridge the largest contributor of any Benchmark community.

The Most Successful Campaign to Date

The Meadow Ridge Scholarship Fund started in 2005 when two residents created an endowment to support associates or the children of associates in continuing their education.  This year’s campaign, spearheaded by resident Dick Farrell, wrapped up in April and is the most successful to date with 36 people applying for a scholarship. To qualify, an associate must have worked 400 hours in the last year or be the child of an associate who has been employed for at least a year.

“We feel good about helping the people who are here to help us”

Many applicants are associates who interact with Meadow Ridge residents and share their stories and aspirations. “Some are servers in the dining room and they’re generally early in college, night school students or seniors in high school,” says Scholarship Committee Chairman Dick Swank, a Meadow Ridge resident. “Our residents get to know these people and we all feel good about helping the people who are here to help us.”

Applicants are reviewed and interviewed by an eight-member selection committee. Swank estimates it takes about a month’s worth of committee members’ time to make recommendations on the amount of each award. He notes many of the applicants are pursuing training or degrees in health care, especially nursing, at either Western Connecticut State University or area community colleges.

Benchmark’s One Company Fund

Separately, the associates of Meadow Ridge raised $40,115 for the Benchmark One Company Fund. Meadow Ridge, which is one of the 65 communities managed by Benchmark Senior Living, contributed the largest amount for 2023. The One Company Fund helps associates with grants to pay for unexpected or emergency expenses, like those incurred because of an illness, natural disaster, or death of a household member.

Meadow Ridge’s Culture Club, led by Human Resources Manager Orquidia Rodriguez and Environmental Services Manager Cristina Cardenas, drove the effort. “We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to raise that much again this year,” chuckles Cardenas, “because it’s going to be hard to match that!”

The Culture Club held several bake sales and yard sales over the year, selling donated furniture and other items. Meadow Ridge’s management team participated in a fundraising golf tournament and associates made automatic deductions from their paychecks. “People really see the value in it, a way to give back,” says Rodriguez. “It’s something easy for them to do right here at work for each other.”

Pictured above: Meadow Ridge Scholarship Committee Chair Dick Swank with associates and scholarship recipients Leonard Prystalski and Chloe Rees.

Learn more about life at Meadow Ridge.