Michael O’Connor, Director of State Government Affairs for Eli Lilly and Company, has received Indiana United Ways’ highest honor for his extraordinary leadership in early childhood education and a global partnership between Lilly and United Way Worldwide. O’Connor received the Castaldi Award at the 2017 United Way and Funds State Leaders Conference Awards Banquet on April 13 at the Indianapolis Marriott North, Indianapolis.
O’Connor’s public policy work to champion high-quality early childhood education has united business, philanthropy, education and community around a single cause that will ultimately impact the economy of our state.
After seeing the results of programs without adequate safety standards, O’Connor worked to improve those standards as well as increase early education access for low-income children by lobbying for city and state funds. He helped raise $10 million in corporate support for early childhood education.
In nominating O’Connor, Ann Murtlow, President and CEO of United Way of Central Indiana, said O’Connor brought “key community leaders to testify before City-County and state legislators and kept consistent contact with lawmakers during critical periods. His efforts have been heroic and thousands of children have benefitted. Because 85 percent of brain development takes place in the first five years and a lack of proper early education can deprive a child of his or her full potential, Mike’s work is miraculous in impact! He also helped raise $10 Million in corporate support for early childhood education.”
He also was involved in the landmark Global Strategic Corporate Partnership agreement between Lilly, United Way Worldwide, and United Way of Central Indiana, one of the first of its kind. The result is that, in addition to early childhood education and early grade literacy in Central Indiana, Lilly locations worldwide have adopted education as a priority in partnership with their local United Ways.
O’Connor has been a United Way of Central Indiana board member for 13 years and has served on the Central Indiana Early Childhood Business Council, and the Success by 6 Leadership Council among many other volunteer roles.
The Castaldi Award honors Lawrence Castaldi who led the Indiana Association of United Ways for its first three years and served on the board for seven years, until his death in 1985. Upon his retirement as board chairman in 1980, the Association presented him with its first award, recognizing the invaluable contribution he made to the United Way/Fund movement in Indiana. The award honors his undaunted spirit of voluntarism, community involvement, passion and perseverance.
O’Connor is a 1986 graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington with a BA in Political Science. He was born and raised in Greenfield Indiana, graduating from Greenfield Central High School in 1982. He and his wife, Anne, are the proud parents of Mary Catherine and Eileen Marie O’Connor. They currently reside in the Indianapolis neighborhood of Irvington and attend Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
Michael O’Connor (center) was recently honored with the Castaldi Award by the Indiana Association of United Ways (IaUW) at the 2017 United Ways and Funds State Leaders Conference Awards Banquet. Congratulating O’Connor are Ann Murtlow, President and CEO, United Way of Central Indiana, (left) and Christina Hage, Vice President, Public Policy, United Way of Central Indiana (right).
Michael O’Connor (third from right) was recently honored with the Castaldi Award by the Indiana Association of United Ways (IaUW) at the 2017 United Ways and Funds State Leaders Conference Awards Banquet. Congratulating O’Connor are (left to right) members of the Castaldi Family: Rick Scheeler, Diana Castaldi Scheeler, and Karen Hohn; Ron Turpin, IaUW Board President; Ann Murtlow, President and CEO, United Way of Central Indiana; O'Connor, and his family: Eileen O'Connor, Anne O'Connor, and Mary Catherine O'Connor.