Skip to main content

Ed Bader Honored as 2022 Robert C. Knox Jr. YMCA Distinguished Leadership Award Recipient

May 10, 2022

The YMCA of Greater Hartford announced Edward F. Bader as the recipient of this year's Robert C. Knox Jr., YMCA Distinguished Leadership Award on April 21 at the association's annual meeting. The award is the highest tribute the YMCA pays to its volunteer leaders who exemplify the ideas of the YMCA and their dedication to preserving the responsibilities and opportunities the Y has to offer.

Mr. Bader is a financial expert whose skilled and diligent work on behalf of the YMCA's fundraising, auditing, budgeting, and sustaining programs and campaigns comprise one component that led to this year's honor. The other component concerns his passion to get things done—and to get them done in the most effective ways possible.

“The executive leaders and all the branch directors are always under tremendous pressure not just to break even year after year, but to be fiscally fit year-round,” said Mr. Bader, highlighting why financial stability is so important to the success of the Y. It isn't always an easy chore, but his career-long experience with accounting, regulations, audits and other key financial competencies has benefitted the YMCA of Greater Hartford in countless ways over the years. As Mr. Bader likes to say, he's relatively opinionated and strong-willed—which is exactly what many of the organization's goals and challenges have required. In fact, that's precisely why leadership at the Y has asked him on numerous occasions to head various committees and initiatives. He had also been on the Board of Directors and to this day remains a Trustee.

Mr. Bader first became a member of the YMCA in 1968 while working for the accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLC. The company had a corporate culture that encouraged employees to serve their communities by working with not-for-profits and other community-based organizations. His fundraising and financial guidance for the YMCA began almost immediately thereafter.

He is very proud of all his Y activities, particularly his role launching the creation of an audit committee to assure that reputational safeguards are in place, and his key involvement initiating the establishment of the Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth and Family Center.

“I'm gratified with anything I can do that serves the community,” Mr. Bader says.

That's a reflection, too, of his sense of gratitude with regard to his beloved family—his wife Nancy and their four children, including two sons they adopted from Lithuania almost 25 years ago.

Mr. Bader's work has been by turns productive, challenging, demanding, and ultimately very fulfilling. “After all,” he declares, “I wouldn't have spent 54 years doing it if I didn't enjoy it.”

Pictured, from left to right: Phil Kane (2019 Robert C. Knox Jr. award recipient and member of the YMCA of Greater Hartford Board of Trustees), Ed Bader, Peter Atherton (2016 Robert C. Knox Jr. award recipient and member of the YMCA of Greater Hartford Board of Trustees), and Harold Sparrow (President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Hartford).