When Susan Rathgeber started her three-year term as President of the YWCA New Britain Board of Directors in 1987, her youngest son was two years old. Every time Susan would come to the YWCA for a meeting she would bring a puzzle, one of her son’s favorite activities, and he would sit quietly and work on the puzzle, while she led the YWCA board into the new decade.
It was a particularly intense time, as the YWCA was amidst a capital campaign for the childcare building, there were many meetings, and many puzzles. As a young woman starting her own family, the goals of the YWCA appealed to Susan, and she enjoyed being part of a women’s organization that was really making a difference and adding value to the community. She shared the YWCA’s vision and desire to help others.
Susan grew up in Syracuse and attended Skidmore College. She has held jobs as a tennis instructor, an employee at a Jewish deli, was Director of Volunteers at a New York hospital system, and later found herself as Director of Volunteers at UConn Health Center. After several years raising her family, earning her Master’s degree, and filling her time with her own volunteer work, she then became the Director of Development at the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain (CFGNB). Her experiences have given her insight into all different kinds of people, have taught her how very important volunteers and donors are to organizations and have allowed her to be dedicated to causes close to her heart.
The YWCA has been a part of Susan’s life for decades now. Her children have been enrolled in programs, and she and her husband, John, regularly attend events such as the annual Evening of Treasures Auction. Susan has offered the YWCA her knowledge and expertise as she has served on the Board of Directors, Board of Trustees, and various committees. She was honored as an Outstanding Volunteer at the YWCA Annual Meeting in 1998 and was a Women in Leadership honoree in 1995. While she is now retired, she is still involved in many organizations in addition to the YWCA such as the CFGNB, American Savings Foundation, New Britain Museum of American Art, and the Boys & Girls Club in Hartford.
Susan not only contributes her time to the YWCA but also contributes financially. She believes that her family has been very fortunate and that it is important to give back. Susan is a contributor to the YWCA’s Partners in Progress Annual Fund, Keeping Our Promise Capital Campaign, and is a member of the 1910 Society, the YWCA’s endowment fund legacy society. While she has supported many local organizations over the years, the YWCA stands out to her because it is a creative, innovative organization that continues to make a positive impact. She has stopped giving to other organizations because they haven’t taken steps they needed to in order to stay viable and relevant. Susan believes that the YWCA has been one of the best social service organizations in New Britain for years, and is resourceful, well-managed, and continues to evolve to meet the needs of the people it serves. She knows that the dollars she gives to the YWCA are being well spent, and is proud to be a supporter.
Thank you, Susan, for your generous support of the YWCA over the years and for being such a vital piece to the YWCA puzzle. Thanks to you, and other people like you, we will continue to empower women, girls, and our community through advocacy, leadership development, education and programs that are important to the changing needs of our community.