TVCCA growth "beyond wildest dreams"

CAFCA | July 20, 2015 |

NORWICH - When the Thames Valley Council for Community Action launched in 1965 - a year after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Development Act - Richard Brooks was its lone employee and the agency had $40,000 in the bank.

Years later, TVCCA has grown into one of the region’s most impactful benefactors for Eastern Connecticut’s most vulnerable, serving through its programs more than 26,000 clients in the most recent fiscal year on a budget that has grown to $27.1 million and employs 400.

“Each day, these programs touch the lives of someone in the community,” Executive Director Deb Monahan said Tuesday at the organization’s 50th annual meeting. “They come to us in our time of need, and they must not leave us until they are served. Our work is critical to their stability in this community.”

It’s a trajectory Brooks said he couldn’t imagine when he laid the foundation for TVCCA, which served 243 people in its first year.

“I’m almost speechless,” Brooks, who now lives in Vermont, said Tuesday. “What has happened in the growth of this organization is just beyond my wildest dreams.”

Jacquelyn Randall, who served as chairwoman of the TVCCA board from 1983-86, said she is happy to see the organization continuing to fulfill its mission while also looking for new ways to grow.

“In our time, it was always about Reaganomics and downsizing because the monies weren’t there. I hope we continue to encourage and support those still making the effort,” Randall said. “It’s a pleasure to see them serving the community of those still in need.”

TVCCA leaders said they would not be able to reach as many clients as they do without area partners. One of the strongest, Monahan said, is United Community and Family Services.

President Chuck Seeman said Tuesday the alliance has enhanced the work of both organizations as he was recognized with an award for his contributions. Seeman is retiring in January after 20 years.

“It is the mission of UCFS to improve the well-being of the community, something both UCFS and TVCCA are doing. This meeting represents a monumental achievement for TVCCA,” he said. “This is a very difficult environment for nonprofit organizations. We must be here to serve those in need. We have people who need help with the daily needs of life.”