It all started with a young woman named Valerie Chain. Susan had met Valerie through Yale Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the New Haven Regional Center that has long since closed. Susan and Francie came to know Valerie's friends as well. They soon realized how capable these young New Haven women with mild mental retardation were, and how they would thrive in a halfway house. There were no halfway houses in Connecticut then. The New Haven Regional Center had been trying to begin a group home for five years.
Susan and Francie were unencumbered by any foreknowledge of the frustration and bureaucracy they would be facing. They thought it was simple: New Haven needed a halfway house and they would start one. With the guidance of the Regional Center staff and Dr. Seymour Sarason of the Yale Psycho-Educational Clinic, they did just that. Marrakech House opened as a summer pilot program on June 20, 1971, after three months of careful preparation. Eight young women, including Valerie, spent the summer in a sublet, supervised apartment on Crown Street.
Although I have been the President & CEO of Marrakech for twenty five years I have actually been a direct care employee, volunteer or the CEO since 1974. When I was selected to be the leader of the organization in 1987, I knew that I had as much responsibility for the mission as I did for managing the operations of the agency. Stewardship of the mission and finances of a non profit corporation are the key functions of leadership in mission driven organizations. Ensuring the implementation of the mission and the financial stability of the human service activities is an ongoing balancing act that requires regular attention.
Marrakech opened its door in 1971 to a small group of women with an intellectual disability and since then has extended its expertise in disability services to children and adults with a variety of physical and mental disabilities. In addition, the organization has extended its case management, work services and housing capabilities to youth and to individuals facing economic barriers who are not disabled.
Adults on the Autism Spectrum have always been served by Marrakech. In recent years those services have also been extended to children through after school and respite services. In addition, the organization has two group homes that were specifically designed for children and youth onthe Spectrum.
The organization is fortunate to have such highly dedicated staff and professionals responsible for competent service provision, mission implementation, and administration. It is a tremendously satisfying environment completely focused on good quality care for our residents and other program participants.
It is my honor and privilege to be the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Marrakech. As someone who spends his working time on for-profit activities, it is always a breath of fresh air to interact with the Marrakech staff and consumers. The Marrakech management team and employees have dedicated their careers to helping others and they do in such a spirited fashion that it is always an invigorating experience.
I became interested in Marrakech because I have a daughter with an intellectual disability. I began to learn about the organization, meet the staff and consumers, and very quickly realized that Marrakech is a very special organization. It takes a special kind of person to work with people that have special needs. And it takes a really special kind of person to do this year after year as a career. One of the remarkable characteristics of Marrakech is the number of individuals that have long-service tenure with Marrakech. These individuals are honored each year and I am always amazed at the number of 5, 10, 15, 20, and even 25-year employees. These are truly special individuals and I am proud to be associated with them.
We have an all-volunteer Board at Marrakech. Board members include professionals from various disciplines as well as parents and family members of Marrakech consumers.
From a governance perspective, most Board members serve on committees that oversee areas including Finance, Strategic Planning,Development, and Board Membership. The Finance Committee reviews financial statements every other month, drills down into key financial topics with the executive team, and oversees executive compensation. Progress on Strategic Planning and Development goals and objectives are reviewed at every Board Meeting. The Nominating Committee oversees Board Membership and attempts to find Board Members that meet the goals set by the Strategic Planning Committee for Board composition.
The Board works very closely with the CEO of Marrakech,Frank McCarthy, and other executive staff. I know I speak for the entire Board when I say that we are very lucky to have an executive of such high integrity and competence. Frank has seen the organization through some difficult times yet has dramatically grown the base of consumers and services that we provide, and most importantly has done all of this while maintaining a highly positive, service-oriented culture.
Once a youth has successfully completed an internship, he or she may begin to look for community employment. In order to be referred to this phase of service, the youth must demonstrate the skills and ability to work independently in the community (mastery of life skills, good communication and vocational skills, transportation plan, etc.). The youth will work with the job developer to find employment.
To establish more traditional and non-traditional living arrangements in order to provide services to more individuals in need and to maximize community and agency resources to increase the number of holiday/special event functions that will decrease the social isolation of consumers.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
A strong community not only meets its members’ basic needs but also works to create long-term solutions to their problems. Provide people with affordable housing, enough to eat and access to affordable health care and you enable them to envision a better future for themselves.
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