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Natural Awakenings Fairfield County & Housatonic Valley CT

Wilda Hayes and Ann’s Place Recognized by Patriots Foundation

Wilda Hayes

Eight years ago, the Kraft family and Patriots Foundation introduced Celebrate Volunteerism, a season-long initiative focused on recognizing community volunteers and promoting the importance of giving back to the community through service.

Throughout the 2018 season, the foundation will continue its Celebrate Volunteerism initiative by teaming with nonprofit organizations to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlighting deserving volunteers from across the region and seeking to inspire Patriots fans to become life-long volunteers. The foundation will present a weekly Patriots Difference Maker of the Week award, which recognizes deserving volunteers who go above and beyond to support their New England communities.

Wilda Hayes from Danbury was selected as a 2018 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week in October for her commitment to Ann’s Place.

Hayes, a pharmaceutical marketing and advertising executive, was one of the first people to volunteer for the Ann Olsen Endowment in 1987, a fund designated to support cancer patients and their families. The endowment partnered with I Can, a support services group, and eventually merged into Ann’s Place, a full-service nonprofit agency that now supports more than 1,100 clients from Connecticut and New York.

Hayes joined the board of Ann’s Place, and later served as its pro bono executive director and then president for 16 years. She played a key role in creating and running long-running fundraising events like the Ann Olsen Golf Classic and the Festival of Trees. She was also behind finding a permanent home for the organization in a large facility offering comprehensive counseling, support groups and wellness activities.

  Fans are encouraged to nominate a local volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week award by visiting

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