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.
Goals for 2015
Continue to expand upon our social enterprises that provide people with meaningful employment and training. Specifically, we are working on improvements to our Village Café and the expansion of our Caning Studio to encompass more arts-based employment
Increase our capacity (private and public funding, persons served, community awareness) by carrying out marketing and communication strategies set forth by a newly created marketing plan.
Develop a plan and corresponding strategies to become less reliant on state funding in the future
Expand upon our existing person-centered philosophy to initiate an organizational culture change that ensures all functions and policies that relate back to persons supported are done so with this approach
Begin phase 1 our technology upgrade (rewiring, server migration and phone system upgrade) with funds awarded by the State of Connecticut and develop a more concrete plan for phase 2 (computer hardware)
Successes in 2014
After 27 years, Marrakech successfully transitioned to a new President/CEO and an overall leadership restructure in July of 2014.
Marrakech was chosen by both the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to take part in pilot programs that will expand person-centeredness in services across the state of Connecticut.
Marrakech was awarded over $500,000 from the Office of Policy Management to complete the first phase of a technology upgrade in 2015 as well as to implement a new electronic case management/documentation system for several of our program areas.
Marrakech put out an RFQ, identified and partnered with a marketing consultant to assist us with the development of an effective marketing plan, which was delivered in March of 2015.
Marrakech worked with families as well as the State to develop creative programming that best meets the unique needs of people we support.
Top 5 Pressing Needs
We need to complete the technology upgrade to
eliminate service interruptions, increased amounts of spam email and phones
that can no longer be serviced.
We need to develop funds for necessary capital
improvements to our buildings, including those that improve accessibility.
We need to reduce our dependence on state
funding so that we may expand private pay services at a reasonable cost and
have ongoing support for our unfunded or underfunded areas such as our Quality
of Life programming.
We need to transition all programs to 100%
electronic documentation so that we can better manage and report on individual
and program outcomes.
We need to have access to more safe and
affordable housing so that we better assist individuals who need emergency
placements to avoid homelessness or other less favorable placements.
Marrakech has been providing person centered, unique, and cost conscious human services for children and adults, with and without disabilities, in Connecticut for over 43 years.
I have been working at Marrakech for the past 29 years. In July 2014, I was honored to be appointed the President and CEO of this remarkable organization.
I lived the transformation that Marrakech made from a small, mission focused organization, supporting adults with developmental disabilities and/or mental illness in the community to one of the largest, most diverse, non-profit organizations in Connecticut, with an expanded mission. Our caring, inclusive and supportive team serves over 1,300 people a year. They are our neighbors with disabilities, our children who need homes, our friends battling with addiction, homelessness, and mental illness, and our community members who need to acquire skills to find a job or make ends meet.
We do this by providing homes, building skills, supporting families and helping people reach their potential. The result: stronger communities.
We are thankful to be able to call upon our community and corporate partners who share our vision for collaboration, the pooling of resources, job placement, mentorship opportunities and for donations. We also work closely with our State Partners in developing cost effective solutions.
Balancing mission and financial limitations, which have been growing fast for the past several years, is truly a challenge that we creatively attack on a daily basis.
Empowering people does not start and stop with the individuals we provide supports to, we consciously support our own (900) staff in career development, home ownership, education and training which also in turn builds our communities.
It is tremendously satisfying to work for our consumers, our staff and other stakeholders and ultimately for our community at large.
President and CEO
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, Heather LaTorra, 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.
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.
ABI department provides services to individuals who qualify for the Connecticut
ABI waiver program under Title 19. Services provided include pre-vocational skills, independent living
skills training (ILST), case management, supported employment, companion
services, respite services, family training and community living support
services. Service plans are
individualized to the persons being served and may range from a few hours per
week to 24/7 support. Marrakech does not
maintain a waitlist for services. However,
there is typically a short period of time between point of referral and start
of services while we identify and hire qualified staff or while housing is
being located. Services are available statewide.
Programs Provided by Marrakech, Inc.
Acquired Brain Injury Services
Children and Youth Services
Community-Based Life Skills Program
Community Experience Program
Family Supports and Respite Services
Group Homes (ICF and CLA)
Independent Living Support Services (CSS and SLS)
Outreach and Engagement Case Management Services
Personal Care Assistance Services
Supported Employment Program
SHP Vocational Services
Taking Initiative Center
Vocational Rehabilitation Program
Young Adult Services
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.
A strong economy begins with a community that supports its people. When you support workforce training, financial literacy and public transportation, you enable individuals and families to work where they live, increasing their chances of economic success.
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