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Fairfield-area nonprofits discuss effects of GE leaving

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FAIRFIELD — Leaders of nonprofit organizations in the Fairfield gathered this weekend to discuss how to deal with the departure of General Electric.

The company’s relocation of its headquarters from Fairfield to Boston has charities fretting because many GE employees are known for their community involvement.

The discussion onSaturday morning at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield was moderated by state Sen. Tony Hwang, a Republican who says the company’s move will be a major setback to local philanthropic contributions.

General Electric employs 800 people in Fairfield. It announced earlier this month that it was leaving, with the move expected to occur in stages and be completed in 2018.

“Perhaps a GE executive won’t be the next person to use my food pantry but perhaps his nanny, or his hairdresser, or the school bus driver, or someone else who is affected indirectly from this change will be,” said Carla Miklos, executive director of Operation Hope in Fairfield. “That circle of people who are sort of falling on the wrong side of the economic divide will probably grow.”