Greenwich Communities celebrated "Outstanding Community Partners" who supported residences during the pandemic creating resilience and renewed spirit with the community.
Greenwich Communities Board Chairman Sam Romeo set the tone of the ceremony held at Adams Garden on Saturday, October 2. "Partnerships with the community are vital. The Greenwich Communities tagline is 'our 'Neighborhood Partnerships' because we couldn't do what we do without the help of each of the partnering entities throughout the Town of Greenwich, explained Romeo. "We are very appreciative."
The transition to the new name of Greenwich Communities was strategic in identifying the rationale behind the entity's work, explained Anthony L Johnson, CEO and Executive Director of Greenwich Communities; "We changed our name to Greenwich Communities because we are a community. We are an organization in a town of different communities. Although Greenwich has the population to qualify as a city, we call ourselves a town. We don't want to be a city. We want to be a community, and we are a part of that community."
In attendance on Saturday was Town of Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo, who also recognized that "Greenwich Comminutes couldn't do it without their partners and people stepping up to help unsolicited." When Greenwich Communities rebranded last year, Camillo praised the organization as the future of affordable housing in Greenwich. Camillo credited Greenwich Communities with providing people the ability to live in quality, affordable housing, giving residents access to opportunities, excellent schools, and the amenities that this beautiful Town of Greenwich has to offer.
The award recipients were as follows:
Greenwich Country Day School (GCDS) and its Center for Public Good were recognized for reaching out to Greenwich Communities residents when they needed it most during the pandemic. "Greenwich Country Day was really wonderful," praised Johnson. They actually volunteered out of nowhere and shoveled snow for our residents, who are very elderly and cannot move the snow. They came with their own shovels. It was unsolicited. It was a great volunteer effort. They did a great job during several snowstorms."
Accepting the award on behalf of GCDS, Jen Donnalley, Director of the Center for Public Good, remarked, "I just feel lucky that I work in a Town where all of these organizations work together and help whenever we can and teach children how easy it is to do good in the world." The mission of the Center for Public Good at GCDS is "to nourish our innate desire to make the world a better place, to learn about society and its needs, and to be inspired to take action."
Next Neighbor to Neighbor received an award for donating an increased amount of food to the families and older Greenwich adults in Greenwich Communities during the pandemic. Johnson complimented their support and effort over decades; "Neighbor to Neighbor has been a great partner to our Town and our community donating food and clothing for 47 years." Noting their efforts comes from a place "of love and respect for others who do not have the means some folks in Town possess." Johnson went on to express gratitude, "we appreciate you, and we appreciate what you have done for our residents, and they love it. We would like to continue that relationship with you and grow it."
Accepting the recognition on behalf of Neighbor to Neighbor, Executive Director Margaret Tjimos Goldberg remarked that the agency was certainly amongst like-minded organizations in support of the Town of Greenwich and its residents: "Just looking at an audience of so many influencers and great friends like Jen Donnalley and Dr. Jones, and everyone here, you set the stage, the example, and this is a wonderful recognition. On behalf of our board, my staff, and my volunteers, thank you very much."
William Marr, Building Official of the Town of Greenwich Building Inspection Division, was recognized for outstanding assistance toward the future of Greenwich for the residents of Greenwich communities. While undoubtedly appreciative of the recognition, Marr could not attend in person himself; however, First Selectman Fred Camillo accepted the award on his behalf with praise; "Bill Marr is a quiet guy and quietly does a lot of work for this Town. He's helped you (sic Greenwich Communities) get a lot of things done."
The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, which honors the memory of six-year-old Catherine, a kind and compassionate animal lover who lost her life at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, 2012, was recognized for their Senior Paw Project. They stepped forward to donate pet food to older Greenwich adults in Greenwich Communities, who couldn't leave their homes to shop during the pandemic. Honoring the bond between humans and animals, the Senior Paw Project delivered pet meals during the pandemic to prevent the difficult choice for seniors between feeding themselves or their pets. Through their continued outreach with Greenwich Communities, 16 residents receive pet food support, and of them, five also receive veterinary support. In attendance to accept the award were Jenny Hubbard, Catherine's mother and Executive Director of the CVH Animal Sanctuary, and Laura King, Director of Events & Programs.
The Town of Greenwich Board of Education was recognized for feeding students in Greenwich Communities who could not attend classes in person during the pandemic. Johnson explained their support as a very welcomed surprise; "A truck would pull up to our properties on different days and deliver food, and people would come out and get bags of pre-packaged food. People did not have to qualify; they would get in line and get a bag of food. I didn't know who was doing it. It turns out it was the Board of Education. It was unsolicited. Our residents were happy the BoE was doing it. We have to thank you. Thank you for being a part of our community." Superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools, Dr. Toni Jones, accepted the award.
Finally, Nancy C. Brown was recognized posthumously for her dedication and commitment to helping to make Greenwich a better place to live for all people. In attendance were her sons Stephen and Phil Brown and daughter-in-laws Myra Klockenbrink and Jane Brown. Camillo expressed great admiration for Brown; "She was a great woman, and when she walked into the room, she had a great presence. I never saw her not smiling."
The Outstanding Community Partners Awards results from the successful partnerships Greenwich Communities has created and maintains in prioritizing the needs of its residents. Improving the quality of life and opportunities that positively impact the residents Greenwich Communities serve is the embodiment and future of affordable housing.
For more information, please visit their website here
or call Maria Morris at Greenwich Communities (203) 869-1138, ext. 101
*Contributed Photos by Bob Capazzo