Catalyst Workshop Energizes

“Energizing” Catalyst Program Aiding 10 Local Non-Profits

Community Foundation Training Shows Programs and Agencies Pathway to Success

New Britain, Conn., March 7, 2016 – “Energizing” is only one of the plaudits being used to describe a local non-profit workshop series funded by the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain designed to help local agencies and organizations be more efficient and successful during challenging fiscal times.

Catalyst workshiop 2-19-16“I walked out of that workshop energized,” exclaimed Plainville Community Food Pantry Executive Director Susie Woerz after attending last month the first of four non-profit management workshops being conducted by Danosky & Associates of New Milford, a consulting firm that specializes in helping non-profit organizations improve capacity building in a time of decreased government funding, increased costs, higher demand for services and an ever-competitive environment for grant funding. “I am thrilled that the Community Foundation has provided this generous opportunity for us – it’s the kind of training we just don’t have the resources for.”

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Left to right, Danosky & Associates’ Larry Smotroff, Susie Woerz of the Plainville Community Food Pantry, Danosky & Associates Sharon Danosky, John Myers of the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA and Jim Williamson of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain.

The four-workshop “Capacity Building” series is being funded by the Community Foundation’s Catalyst Fund, a hands-on, grass-roots “giving circle” of local citizens who want to give back to Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. Ten local agencies and programs who applied last fall to be enrolled in the program are taking part. In addition to the Plainville Community Food Pantry, other participants include CCARC, Coram Deo, Farrell Treatment Center, the Housing Authority of New Britain, Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut, Rebuilding Together New Britain, ROOTS, the Southington-Cheshire Community
YMCA and the YWCA of New Britain.

The February training session focused on how non-profits can improve strategic planning, and how best to address board or executive management succession. In March, participants will learn about organizational efficiency; in April, fundraising; and in May, marketing and public relations.

“This program has come along for us at a perfect time,” said Woerz, who explained that the pantry is in the midst of strategic planning for its future. “It really got me thinking about how we do business and what our strategies are, big-picture issues that we often don’t have the time to think about because we are so occupied with sustaining and operating our programs day-to-day.”

”Providing value and assistance to local agencies and organizations, helping them address challenges and be the best they can be, beyond the grants and funding we offer is part of our responsibility as a community leader,” said Community Foundation President Jim Williamson. “This change in focus for our
Catalyst Fund is energizing not only for the programs we are helping, but for us as well.”

The workshop series – provided for with 2015 Catalyst grant funding – marks a departure for the Foundation. Now in its 14th year, Catalyst Fund members have traditionally awarded a $10,000 grant annually to a single non-profit organization addressing the group’s chosen community challenge. But last year, members chose to use the grant to provide training for multiple local organizations.

Danosky & Associates facilitators specializing in each topic area are conducting the workshops, which also provide comprehensive training materials for each attendee, “homework” and a three-hour follow-up session to be scheduled following the primary workshops.

The Catalyst Fund is a group of caring citizens dedicated to improving the towns of Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. Three times per year, members gather to learn about a member-chosen issue facing the community, and to consider funding requests from charitable organizations addressing the issue. The group awards an annual grant of $10,000. In the 13-year history of the Catalyst Fund, members have donated more than $100,000.

The first gathering of Catalyst Fund members for 2016 will take place in June and new members are invited. For more information about the Catalyst Fund or how to become a member, contact Joeline Wruck or (860) 229-6018, ext. 307.

Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain is “Where Good Begins” in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. The Foundation works to inspire philanthropy, manage permanent charitable assets effectively, and partner to address key community issues through strategic leadership. For more information, visit