United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut announced that William “Bill” H. Farley will receive the 2023 Jeffrey Digel Award, a recognition created and given by the commercial real estate and building industry at its annual Building Foundations Breakfast in May.
Annually, the commercial real estate and building industry partners with United Way on an event that raises awareness and funds to help prevent and address homelessness in Greater Hartford. The fundraiser also serves to honor the legacy of the late Jeffrey “Jeff” Digel for his tremendous commitment to the real estate profession and the community at large.
“Our friend Jeff Digel was an amazing person who made everyone feel connected and like they were a part of something. He was not just a giant in commercial real estate but also in our community, serving on nonprofit boards and founding Covenant Preparatory School. There was no better person to name this award for at our annual event,” said Mike Riccio, a Founding Committee Member of Building Foundations and Senior Managing Director, CBRE Captial Markets in Hartford. “This year’s honoree Bill Farley absolutely exemplifies the attributes of Jeff Digel and the spirit of this award”. Riccio continued, “Simply put, Bill, to me, is the father of the commercial real estate in Hartford. He grew the Farley Company into the largest commercial real estate company in Connecticut which eventually became the company that I now work for, CBRE. Bill Farley, like Jeff Digel, had a gift. When he spoke to you, you felt like you were the only person in the room. He had this way of connecting with people that made him a success professionally and in the community.”
Farley, who grew up in industrial Brockton, MA, arrived in Hartford in 1958 for a job offer from Connecticut General. After multiple leadership positions in the real estate industry, Bill then joined the College of Holy Cross at Worcester by invitation from its President to be part of its development team. Farley ultimately returned to Hartford with his family to start his own company. The Farley Company founded in 1968 grew and became the largest commercial real estate firm in the state with more than 50 employees. The firm was always a leader in community involvement.
Along with his successful professional career, Farley’s philanthropic spirit has always been at his core. Participating actively on many boards and accomplishing countless efforts for the community, his most recent and impactful achievement around the issue of homelessness is founding the nonprofit Journey Home. After being asked by the Mayor of Hartford to Chair a Commission to End Chronic Homelessness in the Greater Hartford Region, Farley helped increase its membership from 16 to nearly 140 members, the commission presented their recommendations resulting in the inception of Journey Home. Today, Journey Home celebrates its seventh year of service.
Farley shared, “It has really been a great run and I do believe that true service really turns out to be ‘selfish…’ I have received so much more than I have given and have so many cherished memories across the board. I’m honored to receive this recognition, first because it is given in memory of one of our dearest friends Jeff, but also because it is selected by my peers whom I recognize and respect. I also want to acknowledge my family, without their love and support I wouldn’t be where I am,”
Since inception in 2020, Building Foundations has raised more than $720,000. In addition to supporting organizations through United Way that address homelessness, a portion of the proceeds are donated to Covenant Preparatory School in honor of Jeff Digel.
“United Way is honored to be part of this collaboration with the commercial real estate and building sector. The Founding Committee members identified United Way as the right partner to make Building Foundations the event for the commercial real estate and building industry in our region. We accepted their invitation with great responsibility knowing the impact that this effort has had and will continue to have on our collective work to prevent and address homelessness,” added Eric Harrison, President and CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.
THE Commercial Real Estate and Building Industry Breakfast: Building Foundations event will take place May 4, 2023 at the Hartford Marriott Downtown. For more information visit unitedwayinc.org/building-foundations/.
About United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut
United Way brings people and resources together to address immediate needs and find long-term solutions to challenging problems. United Way does this by investing in programs and services, leading community change initiatives, and mobilizing resources and volunteers to ensure that children succeed in school, people get jobs and are financially secure, people are healthy, and basic needs are met during tough times. For more information, visit www.unitedwayinc.org.
About THE Commercial Real Estate and Building Industry Breakfast: Building Foundations
In early 2021, a diverse group of commercial real estate and building industry professionals, in partnership with the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, came together to raise more than $300,000 in much needed funds to help prevent homelessness in the greater Hartford community. The success of this inaugural event, known as the Building Foundations Breakfast, was due to the incredible generosity of sponsors and donors who supported this critical fundraising event. In April 2022 at the 2nd Annual Building Foundations Breakfast, the industry came together again for the cause, raising $420,000 collectively. For more information visit unitedwayinc.org/building-foundations/.