Founded in 1951, The Kennedy Center, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit community-based rehabilitation organization offering innovative and comprehensive program services to persons with special needs and disabilities, from birth through their senior years. The Kennedy Center is one of the most comprehensive rehabilitation facilities in Connecticut, serving individuals from 99 townships throughout the state. Since 1981, The Kennedy Center has sought and consistently achieved the highest accreditation from CARF International (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) standards setting organization, which places it among the top 1% of rehabilitation organizations internationally. On an annual basis, nearly 2,400 individuals receive program services through our departments of Rehabilitation Services, Residential Services and Kennedy Industries. Our mission is to promote the empowerment of individuals with diverse abilities, disabilities and experiences toward optimal participation and inclusion in the community.
Rehabilitation Services provides: individualized employment planning; career counseling; job development & community placement; working interviews and on-the-job training; recovery oriented employment planning & placement and peer mentoring supports; job club series; school-transition services including vocational exploration/training and community independence training; acquired brain injury support services including prevocational skill redevelopment; independent living skills training; and community reintegration.
Residential Services provides: individualized group home placement; independent living skills training; supported living services; a Caring for the Caregiver program; family support and respite services.
Kennedy Industries provides: specialized job training in our consumer staffed businesses such as “Kennedy Document Services”, “Frameworks” picture framing, “Kenn Kleen” cleaning service, “Soups and Such” catering and “Cutting Edge” lawn services. Additionally, Kennedy Industries provides Community Experience Programs, Therapeutic Recreation, Transportation, Supported Employment, Behavioral & Health Services, Strengthening Families projects, Mobility Services, Art Therapy, Senior Options, Children’s Services and Alzheimer’s Supports.
Opened the Maggie Daly Art’s Cooperative in downtown Bridgeport
Purchased a building at 4021 Main Street Stratford to house Children’s Services and Community Experience programs.
Opened three new Community Experience Programs.
Obtained a contract in New Haven for Mobility Management.
Become certified as a Homemaker Companion Agency
Expand Social Enterprise Community Businesses by developing at least one new business.
Increase the number of individuals with disabilities that obtain community employment by twenty percent.
Increase entry level direct care staff salaries by $2.00 per hour. Total cost…$1.6 million.
Reduce direct care staff turnover from 25% per year to 15% per year by increasing staff salaries as indicated in response #1.
Supplement agency operating budget by $250,000 to cover the reduction in state funding as a result of state budget cuts.
Replace all vehicles in the Kennedy Center transportation fleet with over 150,000 miles. There are presently thirty vehicles out of one hundred fifty vehicles within the fleet that fall into this category. Total cost…$1,050,000.
Develop a training institute in partnership with a local university to provide hands on training for future leaders of the non-profit field. Cost $100,000.
It was in February 1951, that Evelyn Kennedy and a dozen other parents with children with disabilities met to establish The Kennedy Center as a pioneering grassroots organization. Our agency was founded through the efforts of loyal, hardworking, dedicated volunteers and continues to thrive largely because of their efforts today. From its humble beginnings, The Kennedy Center has grown from a program serving fifteen children, to a statewide multifaceted organization that serves nearly 2,500 consumers annually. Today, we serve individuals from birth to senior years, with various disabilities and special needs. As a result, families choose to send their loved ones to The Kennedy Center because of its long-standing reputation in the community for innovative and comprehensive program services. Throughout The Kennedy Center’s history the agency has always gone the extra mile to meet the practical life needs of the individuals we serve.
The Kennedy Center is dedicated to preserving the safety and wellbeing of the deserving individuals we serve. Individuals with disabilities are an integral part of our community who deserve the same quality of life as their neighbors. Unfortunately, state funding for nonprofit service providers continue to decrease potentially jeopardizing the quality of our states most vulnerable citizens. Despite these challenges, we remain committed to advocating on the behalf of individuals with disabilities to address their unmet needs and the needs of our greater community.
Martin D. Schwartz
President and CEO
Our biggest challenge is that generosity does have financial limits. The people and businesses in Connecticut have been and continue to be very generous to The Kennedy Center. Still, our needs outpace the ability of many supporters who wish to contribute even more. Sadly, the State of Connecticut has not been nearly as generous. Year after year, cuts in funding from the State, our largest funding source, would have been less problematic if funding had at least been adjusted for inflation. Without inflationary adjustments, the cuts seriously challenge our ability to maintain the high quality services, for which we are known. The cuts have had a major impact not only for us, but for most providers of services to those with intellectual disabilities. Many providers have eliminated supports for people most in need, while a few have completely left the state. Clearly our number one challenge is funding.
The second challenge relates to the first: paying a fair wage to our very supportive, caring, and talented people. The Staff and Management of The Kennedy Center are outstanding. In the immediate future, there is little chance of paying them reasonable compensation. At the same time, we need to pay a fair wage in order to retain them and continue to provide outstanding services. Often our staff members start their career at The Kennedy Center, only to be lured away by the State that pays, at times, double the wage for the same job. This is particularly frustrating for us since the State both limits our funds to pay compensation, then takes our most talented by offering wages well beyond our ability to pay based on the State funding.
The Kennedy Center’s successes are many despite the challenges. The Kennedy Center has received a host of awards in its 64 year history. In recent history we were recognized by the Institute on Community Integration & Research and Training Center on Community Living, which published our article in their nationally distributed “Impact” periodical. We received the National Family Caregiving Award in July 2010, and in 2014, won the Above and Beyond TPSLD Award: Trumbull Parents of Students with Learning Differences. We received the highest score in the State of Connecticut for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) IPS Supported Employment Fidelity Report and have consistently received the highest level of accreditation from CARF, the international accreditation organization, since first seeking accreditation in 1982.
Many of our Board Members have a career in a related field, or have a family member receiving services, or both. I became involved because a previous Chairman, Steve Smith and our President & CEO, Marty Schwartz thought I could help. I learned as I went along on this very rewarding trip.
I know that there are many other funding opportunities for you to consider. I assure you if you choose to fund The Kennedy Center your generosity will:
Be efficiently managed.
Make a positive difference in the lives the consumers and everyone they touch and
Fund the development and productivity of people.
A nice byproduct of all of this is happiness. I can’t guarantee your donation will result in happiness but I’m fairly certain it will.
The Kennedy Center celebrates the potential in people with disabilities and special needs from birth to senior years. With dignity and respect, our person-centered plans are individually designed from a team approach involving the individual, their family and our staff. A choice of innovative comprehensive program services are selected to create a plan that both meets the specific needs of the individual as well as promotes empowerment towards optimal participation and inclusion in the community.
Our wide array of specialty programs and services address the needs of people with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, mental illness, acquired brain injury, Alzheimer’s, deaf and hard of hearing, blind and visual impairments, learning disabilities, physical disabilities plus those who are at risk.
The Kennedy Center was established by families with children with disabilities, who wanted nothing more than what was their children’s inevitable right – to be given the same opportunities as other children. We continue to embrace those original hopes and dreams and develop programs that will ensure each individual’s potential now, and into the future.
The Residential Department continues
to thrive and has had another busy year, full of accomplishments. In
2013 the department served more than 165 people across New Haven and Fairfield Counties.
Services included twenty-four hour residential care for individuals with
intellectual and developmental disabilities, respite services to families,
supported living services to those living in apartments, and independent living
skill-building to those residing with family members. During the course of this
year we served 2 new individuals within our group homes, 1 additional
participant in the independent living program and 19 new consumers in the
Family Support programs.
Long term outcome: To provide a variety of community-based options to persons with cognitive and other disabilities for the purpose of assisting them in reaching their fullest independent living potential in the most integrated environment.
to our competitive employment programs funded by BRS, we also have two grants
with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to provide employment
planning and job placement assistance. These
are our Work Services programs which are based in Bridgeport and Waterbury. Staff provides guidance and support around
identifying career options, reorganizing resumes to increase marketability,
analyzing potential employment options and the labor market demands, and
preparing individuals for interviews. The Work Services Team in Bridgeport
successfully placed 40 individuals during this fiscal year and the Waterbury
program placed 31.
Our group day
employment programs funded by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS)
also experienced significant change. The
Kennedy Center has been responsive to DDS’ Employment Initiative Campaign to
reduce sheltered workshops and increase integrated employment options for
persons with disabilities. Although this has been an objective for The Kennedy
Center for many years, the changes in funding options and the additional
supports through DDS are affording greater opportunities for teams to explore
alternative employment without the risks that families have been so concerned
Our quest to be
part of the creative place-making efforts in Bridgeport, coming to fruition as
a result of the agency being chosen as the 2013 recipient of The Fairfield
Christmas Tree Festival. The proceeds generated from the 4-day event will fund the
Artist Cooperative, recently named
the Maggie Daly Arts Cooperative (MDAC), in honor and in memory of a wonderful
supporter of The Kennedy Center. Maggie was very influential in the development
of both The Kennedy Center Art Therapy Program and the Unique Perspective
calendar. MDAC is designed to provide a
creative environment for individuals with intellectual disabilities to
participate in and express themselves through all forms of art and is
scheduled to open in March 2014.
Division continues to forge new friendships, social skills and creative outlets
through our Autism Social Skill Groups (SAG), Saturday Art Programs, Family
Partnership after-school program (FPP), our partnership with the Bridgeport Lighthouse
Program and our Triple P Program (Positive Parenting Program). Two one year projects were funded: one in
collaboration with Autism Speaks our Mobility Services Department
and our Autism Services to produce a Travel Training curriculum for students on
the Autism Spectrum; the second was an in-home, short-term behavioral support
system, to address the needs of families and their child on the autism
spectrum. As well, our Mobility Services
area was funded to produce a film and guidebook on the advantages of public
transportation. Finally, our Community
Experience department added new communal contacts through our volunteer
initiatives and local neighborhood friendship.
Time and again, year after year, we have beseeched state leadership to increase funding for services that support people with disabilities. Costs for services are escalating, the number of people seeking programs steadily increase, and the state funding continues to diminish. Failure to provide services for our most vulnerable populations should be unconscionable in one of the wealthiest states in our country. Instead, long-term inadequate funding jeopardizes the health and welfare of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and further intensifies the probability of more nonprofits closing their doors.
In response, The Kennedy Center is pursuing several initiatives to help ensure the long-term financial security of the agency. Our lobbying efforts continue to address the inequities in state funding and we work closely with Connecticut Community Providers Association and the CT Association of Nonprofits to address public policy and advocacy issues. We recently held a legislative breakfast for area legislatures to enlist their support of our cause for equitable state funding. We continue to identify strategies that help to keep our operating costs low, such as implementing green energy efficiencies and streamlining our program services. The Kennedy Center has also begun development of a home health care service to support the elderly and individuals with disabilities, which is intended to generate additional income that will be applied towards overall organizational operations. Furthermore, we are planning an event that will help to expand our endowment and further safeguard our ability to provide support and services for the people with disabilities whom we serve as we move into the future.
University of Bridgeport, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, May 2000
University of Hartford
Member of State Legislative Blue Ribbon Task Force 1991
Member of the Trumbull Commission on Accessibility
Handicap Compliance Board
Vice-President, 1996 – Present
Member of the Board of Directors
Bridgeport Regional Business Council
Master's in Social Work, May 1973; Major, Social Group Work
University of Connecticut, School of Social Work, West Hartford, Connecticut
Bachelor of Arts, May 1971; Major, Sociology
Stonehill College, North Easton, Massachusetts
6/79 - present Vice President of Community Facilities
THE KENNEDY CENTER, INC., Trumbull, Connecticut
Responsibilities: Administrator of 12 community residence programs which are licensed by the Department of Mental Retardation, as well as a Supportive Living Apartment Program. Prepare residential budget plans in accordance with the Department of Mental Retardation guidelines, foster maximization of government funding resources for residents, work with Residential Management Team to provide supervisory oversight to each program area, coordinate the Local and State licensing inspection process to assure compliance with the applicable regulations, develop and update Residential Policies and Procedures Manuals as needed, develop additional alternative community residences, staff of 180 residential employees.
3/76-6/79 Licensing and Certification Section
DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL RETARDATION, Hartford, Connecticut
Responsibilities: License and certification administrator for on-going operation of DMR licensed residential facilities and ICF/MR distinct units within the Bridgeport, Lower Fairfield, Southbury and Danbury regions. Performed periodical on-site surveys of private facilities to determine eligibility for licensure and certification based upon State and Federal regulatory requirements.
6/73 - 3/76 Social Service Department
NEW HAVEN REGIONAL CENTER, New Haven, Connecticut
Responsibilities: Primary case coordination and social work services for mentally retarded individuals who reside in two of the residential units at the NHRC. Participant on an inter-disciplinary team which met regularly to formulate long/short range case plans for the residents.
9/72 - 5/73 WEST HAVEN COMMUNITY HOUSE, West Haven, Connecticut
Responsibilities: Group worker for Senior Citizen Friendship Group.
Field Work Supervisor for Southern Connecticut State University School of Social Work, and Fordham University School of Social Work, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1993, 1995, 1996.
October 2004 to Present -- Vice President of Rehabilitation Services
Oversee the Rehabilitation Division which includes Competitive Placement Programs, Acquired Brain Injury Program, Case Management Services, Mental Health Services: work services supported education, peer-mentoring services, Intake, Marketing Services and School-to-Career Transition Services. Supervise a team consisting of over 75 employees, which include 7 managers and 5 program coordinators. Ensure integrity of grants, contracts, and overall quality of services delivered. Lead Quality Assurance of case management systems for the entire agency. Liaison with various funding sources: BRS, BESB, DSS, DMHAS, DDS etc. to secure and maintain contract funding. Oversee a divisional budget of approximately 2.5 million.
August 2001 to September 2004 -- Supervisor of Employment Services
Oversee all Competitive Placement Programs, Acquired Brain Injury Program, Department of Worker's Rehab Services, and School-to-Career Transition Services. Supervised a team consisting of more than 20 individuals. Directly oversee two team coordinators, six job developers, and 12 employment specialist staff. Re-organized School-to-Career Transition Program to target identified constituent needs. Developed marketing strategy for expanding all employment services, including school-to-careers transition program. Member of the Business Advisory Council and Chair monthly Case Record Review Committee.
January 1996 to August 1999 -- Acquired Brain Injury Services Coordinator
Assist in creation and development of new comprehensive program and position. Perform any necessary testing needed to determine community cohesiveness. Direct and supervise inter-departmental teams consisting of more than 10 individuals. Developed new Person Centered Individual Program Planning system
Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY
Master of Arts Degree in Counseling/Community Psychology May 1994
Bachelors of Arts in Psychology May 1993
State of Connecticut School Transition Taskforce, 2000 to present
Trumbull Business-Education Initiative 2000 to present
Business-Education, Inc. of Trumbull
Board Member, 2000 to present
Foundation President, 2003 to 2007 and 2009 to 2010
Association of Persons in Supported Employment (APSE) Connecticut Chapter
Vice-President, 2009 to present
American Counseling Association
1988 - Present: The Kennedy Center, Inc.
Vice President of Kennedy Industries
Support children, youth and families with diverse economic, social cultural and community linkage needs to successfully reach personal goals.
Crisis Intervention and behavioral support training to area school systems.
Develop new funding mechanisms and innovative strategies.
Extensive grant writing and coordination with all major funding sources.
Both oversight and direct responsibility for behavioral supports and plans for children and adults with disabilities.
Manage five business concepts.
Effectively maximize community inclusion for all citizens with disabilities.
Manage diverse professional staff of 275.
1984 - 1988: The Kennedy Center, Inc.
Special Services Director
1979 - 1984: The Kennedy Center, Inc.
1978 - 1979: Fuller Memorial Hospital, South Attleboro, MA
Art Therapist / Occupational Therapy Aide
Newtown College, Newtown Massachusetts, B.A. in Fine, Graduated Cum Laude
Lesley College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, M.A. in Education, concentration Expressive Therapy
Business Leadership Program, 1992 Graduate, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Registered Art Therapist, American Art Therapy Association
CPI Instructor, Master Level, International Association of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention
Responsible for CARF International Accreditation Process in which the agency received two “perfect” surveys, placing the agency in the top 1% of all rehabilitation programs. Provide technical assistance to area agencies for CARF preparation.
Speaker and trainer at local, state and national conferences.
Work Experience: The Kennedy Center, Inc., Trumbull, CT 06611
1985 – 86 Placement Counselor
1986 – 87 Counseling Coordinator
1987 – 93 Supervisor of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
1993 – 97 Administrator of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Duties expanded to include supervision of vocational rehabilitation department and community based services; coordination of services to community day programs and supported employment consumers; monitoring compliance with CARF (Commission and Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and ICF (Intermediate Care Facility) standards. Development and supervision of comprehensive case management system.
1997 – 01 Administrator of Quality Assurance
Assure quality of programming through several accountability systems including program evaluation, case management and CARF. Responsible for coordination of agency’s Strategic Planning process. Coordinator of agency’s volunteer and internship programs.
2001 Vice President of Human Resources and Administrative Services
Expanded responsibilities include administration of agency’s human resource functions, including recruitment, hiring, orientation and training. Promote positive employee relations through staff appreciation activities and diversity exercises. Serve as trainer in the areas of conflict resolution and employment practices. Established Kennedy Institute of Leadership and Mentorship Program. Ensure agency policies and procedures are in compliance with state and federal statutes.
Associate Vice President of Development, 2004 – Present
The Kennedy Center, Inc. Trumbull, CT
Not-for-Profit Rehabilitation Agency for People with Disabilities & Special Needs.
Supervised all fundraising efforts for agency including fundraising events, grants, annual giving campaigns, endowment and capital campaigns. Developed and designed all marketing materials including brochures, invitations, banners, program books, giving letters, videos, PowerPoint presentations and most recently website. Increased annual giving dollars in five years by 125%; event dollars by 49% and grant dollars by 81%. Facilitated capital campaign raising over $1 million in a one year period.
President / Merchandising Director
JAM Productions, LLC Norwalk, CT, 1998-2004
Trading Company representing overseas clothing factories to the U.S. Market
Merchandised product for nationally known brand and designer companies. Collaborated with clients on strategic marketing plans and design developments. Supervised production management for multi-million dollar orders with overseas factories.
Praxis Media Norwalk, CT, 1996-1999
Communication Consulting Firm to Fortune 500 Companies.
Supervised and Coordinated “Top 100 Moments of Sports” awards dinner in Madison Square Garden. Produced and edited short promotional videos. Planned and executed special projects for major corporate management retreats (American Express and UPS) that achieved results. Sourced vendors, prepared and administered budgets. Arranged all meeting agendas, on-site logistics and travel arrangements.
Director of Retail / Merchandising Manager
Big Enough Stamford, CT, 1993-1996
Children’s Clothing Company.
Reorganized and Managed retail outlet stores. Created business plan for home show sales organization. Increased Sales Projections by 50%. Developed all promotional, visual and direct mail campaigns.
Corporate Retail Director
Las Colinas Corporation Dallas, TX, 1980-1983
Real Estate / Management Corporation
Created and Merchandised 5 retail stores specifically targeted for Community. Supervised all operations and staff. Created and directed all aspects of advertising and promotions. Compiled and Managed business plans and open-to-buy programs, maximizing sales volume and profitability. Developed each store’s identity through visual merchandising, packaging and logo design
BA, Advertising / School of Journalism, University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Raiser’s Edge, Quark, Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, Windows Movie Maker
The Kennedy Center, Inc. has an extensive network of collaborative partnerships with both state and community entities to include: The Board of Education and Service’s for the Blind, The Department ofChildren and Families, The Department of Developmental Services, The Department of Social Services, local school districts as well as a myriad of community human service organizations that are too numerous to be listed here.
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.
The Kennedy Center creates its annual projected expense budget by including the total cost for full staffing. As a result of typical staff vacancies throughout the year The Kennedy Center is able to bridge the difference between projected revenues and expenditures at the end of the fiscal year.
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 healthy community is a rich community. When we enjoy good health, when we engage in wellness activities – and when we support people living with disease or disabilities -- there are profound physical and psychological benefits. Simply put, we are all stronger and happier. To support the health and wellness initiatives in your community is to put good health within reach of all.
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