Cynthia’s Story: Three Decades of Philanthropy Leads to 1916 Society
Cynthia Oneglia, Chair of Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s 1916 Society, has roots that run deep in Connecticut’s northwest region.
Her ancestors immigrated from Italy after following friends who already journeyed across the Atlantic in search of a better life and new home. That new home—Torrington—would remain the hometown for her family and their business for generations to come.
In 1923 her grandfather co-founded O&G Industries, which would become a successful construction company and strong supporter of Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. Seventy years later, Cynthia launched yet another Torrington-based enterprise: Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s first philanthropy office.
“In 1993 I was asked to serve on a committee that solicited funds for a capital campaign that would benefit Charlotte Hungerford,” shares Oneglia. “From that campaign, the Hospital saw the benefit of having a philanthropy office—and so I became their Director of Philanthropy.”
Oneglia led several successful initiatives as she set the foundation for philanthropy at Charlotte Hungerford, including the establishment of the Hospital’s Library of Caring, Healing, and Humor (CHH)—which provided books, entertainment, and resources for patients receiving treatment—and the Hospital’s Sanctuary—a comfortable and quiet space where patients and families of all faiths can meditate, pray, or grieve privately.
She also began to connect physicians to the Hospital’s philanthropic efforts, which allowed her office and Charlotte Hungerford supporters to better understand and provide for the Hospital’s needs.
“Patients who require ongoing treatment and screenings form relationships with their providers, so it was important that they had a voice and played a role,” shares Oneglia.
In 2023, thirty years after launching Charlotte Hungerford’s philanthropy office, she continues to serve and advocate for the Hospital—now as the Honorary Chair of the 1916 Society.
“I was always a big fan of Uri Hungerford, he was Charlotte Hungerford’s eleventh child and the man who built our hospital,” shares Oneglia. “The community’s access to healthcare was important to Uri and he provided the gift of Charlotte Hungerford Hospital to the region. His gift wasn’t a one-time gift—it keeps on giving. We need to continue that legacy and the 1916 Society ensures the vitality and growth of this important institution.”
Charlotte Hungerford Hospital established the 1916 Society to recognize donors who are planning gifts today that will provide significant benefits in the future for everyone in the Hospital’s care. There are several ways to participate in the 1916 Society, including a bequest in your will, beneficiary designations, appreciated securities, and life income plans.
“I often think of the Maya Angelou quote: ‘When we cast our bread upon the waters we can presume that someone downstream whose face we will never know will benefit from our action, as we who are downstream from another will profit from the grantor’s gift,’” shares Oneglia.
I just feel that serving Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is a duty and responsibility. We must keep the momentum going—it’s our community’s hospital and we have to support her.”
To learn more about the 1916 Society and how you can include Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in your Legacy, contact Debbie Bender, Senior Philanthropic Officer at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, at Deborah.Bender2@hhchealth.org or Rob Keane, Senior Philanthropic Officer at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, at Robert.Keane@hhchealth.org.