Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut
185 Cold Spring Street
New Haven CT 06511
Contact Information
Address 185 Cold Spring Street
New Haven, CT 06511-
Telephone (203) 787-1090 x
Fax 203-334-6808
E-mail weconectnow@gmail.com
Web and Social Media
Mission

We are an organization of 15,000 people from 27 religious institutions: urban and suburban, multi-faith, and racially and ethnically diverse, living in communities in New Haven and Fairfield Counties.

We discover, research, analyze, and articulate a powerful moral voice for public education campaigns for our membership that lead to negotiations with business and government leaders regarding social, economic, and political issues that affect our member congregations.

At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1995
Former Names
Connecticut Sponsoring Committee
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Matt McDermott
Board Chair Fr. James Manship
Board Chair Company Affiliation St. Rose a Lima Catholic Church
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Statements
Mission

We are an organization of 15,000 people from 27 religious institutions: urban and suburban, multi-faith, and racially and ethnically diverse, living in communities in New Haven and Fairfield Counties.

We discover, research, analyze, and articulate a powerful moral voice for public education campaigns for our membership that lead to negotiations with business and government leaders regarding social, economic, and political issues that affect our member congregations.

Background CONECT is a multi-faith, multi-racial, urban / suburban organization made up of 27 congregations across both New Haven and Fairfield Counties.

We are strictly non-partisan. We work on a variety of public issues of concern to our congregants and their communities. We are focused on systemic change, social justice, and the common good.  We are affiliated with a larger network of similar groups called Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF).

Our organization was created by a predecessor organization, the Connecticut Sponsoring Committee, over a period of 2-3 years of base-building that culminated in our 1500-person Founding Assembly on November 30, 2011.  CONECT represents approximately 15,000 people in our 27 member congregations.  
 
We start our work by intensively and intentionally building relationships inside and among our member congregations.  From these one-to-one and small group conversations, we identify talented leaders to work with and the key problems or concerns that our members would like to act on.  We then dig in to do our homework on these topics and to develop a power analysis of the key decision makers on that topic.  Then, we take action to make a meaningful impact on these issues.
 
To date, we have had an important impact on a variety of issues.  Here are a few examples:
Health Insurance Premiums – negotiated a compromise in 2011 between the state Department of Insurance and the state Healthcare Advocate allowing public hearings any time an insurance company asks for a premium increase of 15% or greater. A June 2014 hearing led to a ruling denying a 12.5% rate increase by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield for 66,000 policies, saving CT consumers $66 million.

· D Driver’s Licenses – successfully pressed for state legislation in 2013 allowing all CT residents, regardless of immigration status, to get a driver’s license, allowing at least 50,000 new drivers to get trained, tested, register their cars, and insure their cars.  Already, more than 38,000 people scheduled appointments with the DMV during December and January.

In-State Tuition – successfully pressed for legislation in 2011 allowing undocumented young immigrants who complete four years of high school in Connecticut to attend the state university system at in-state tuition rates.
 
Local Victories – Smaller local groups of CONECT leaders have also taken action and made an impact on local issues, such as local policing issues, public housing repair and maintenance  issues, etc.
Impact

 

CONECT’s 2015 Highlights:

CONECT Helps Pass Law Limiting Restraint & Seclusion in CT Schools!

Alarmed by studies documenting the use of restraint and seclusion more than 30,000 times in CT schools, disproportionately with autistic and minority children, CONECT's Education Team began investigating and taking action on this issue. Working with the state's Child Advocate, CONECT leaders lobbied for Senate Bill 927, which limits the use of these tactics, requires training of teachers and administrators, and mandates parental notification within 24 hours. The bill passed in late May and was signed into law by Gov. Malloy on June 23rd!

CONECT Helps Win New Deal on Health Insurance Rate Review Hearings,

First Hearing Helps Produce Reductions in Approved Rates!

After winning a $66 million savings for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield customers due to a public rate hearing last year, CONECT's Healthcare Team pushed for legislation this spring making public rate review hearings a permanent part of the process. After the bill passed out of the Insurance Committee with strong bipartisan support, the new Insurance Commissioner agreed to an updated agreement with the state's Healthcare Advocate, allowing public hearings on rate increase requests of 10% or greater -- an improvement over the previous agreement CONECT helped forge which had a threshold of 15%. Now, a late July hearing, that CONECT leaders testified at, has led to a ruling from the Insurance Department reducing rates for Anthem, ConnectiCare, and Golden Rule customers in 2016.

300-Person Assemblies in June and September Press for Police Department Reforms in Bridgeport ahead of Mayor’s Race

CONECT packed Bethel AME Church in Bridgeport with 300 leaders to engage Mayor Finch and Police Chief Gaudett in a public dialogue about the state of the Police Department and police-community relations in Bridgeport, in mid June. Leaders organized over the summer, and on Sept 10th, gathered 300 again to press the four top contenders in the Mayors race to make public commitments to CONECT to hire, train, and deploy 100 new officers, to create new de-escalation training, to add ethnic and racial sensitivity training, and to implement true community policing measures.

CONECT Continues to Build Support for Do Not Stand Idly By Campaign

CONECT leaders continue to build support for the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign, which is working to use public sector buying power to pressure gun manufacturers to tighten their distribution systems and invest in new gun technology to make safer, smarter guns. Most recently, CONECT produced both the Bridgeport and Newtown police chiefs to a first-of-its-kind Gun Technology Fair we organized this May in New Rochelle with our Metro-IAF sister organizations.

 
Needs

Funding for additional full-time professional organizers to allow CONECT greater capacity to take on local and regional issues, to deepen our work with more member congregations, and to train and develop additional leaders.  CONECT has accomplished a great deal in just 3 1/2 years since its founding on a shoestring budget and with a staff of one.  To continue to grow and build on our initial success, we need additional staff organizing capacity.

CEO Statement The organization is a university for public life, a place to teach others and learn from others the art of democratic practice and civic engagement:  relational meetings, house meetings, negotiation, conferring and withdrawal of consent, engagement, understanding interests, evaluation.  We are multi-racial and multi -ethnic; multi-faith; city and suburb; moderate, liberal and conservative; and from two different counties, New Haven and Fairfield.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Public & Societal Benefit / Leadership Development
Secondary Organization Category Public & Societal Benefit / Citizen Participation
Tertiary Organization Category Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy / Intergroup/Race Relations
Areas Served
Branford
Cheshire
East Haven
Hamden
Milford
New Haven
Shelton
State wide
Woodbridge
Orange
West Haven
The organization operates in New Haven and Fairfield Counties.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments CONECT is board-based community organization made up of 27 churches, synagogues, and mosques that builds relationships, listens for key concerns, trains ordinary folks to take leadership on shared issues, crafts meaningful proposals and solutions, and acts collectively and powerfully to see these proposals implemented and to make a tangible impact in the lives of our members and in the life of the broader community.
Programs
Description
Leadership Development and Training
Public education on public concerns
Organizing within and across CONECT's member institutions
Building relationships across racial, ethnic, religious, geographic divides
Population Served Hispanic, Latino Heritage / Blacks, African Heritage / General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. CONECT staff and leaders will organize and lead 3-5 training sessions over the course of the next year, engaging at least 60 leaders or potential leaders in learning, thinking, and reflecting on public life and community organizing.  Additionally, CONECT will work to send 10 leaders to regional or national training through the Industrial Areas Foundation network.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. CONECT aspires to be an informal university for public life, teaching hundreds of people from all walks of life how to be effective actors and leaders in their institution's interest, in their community's interest, and toward the betterment of the greater New Haven and Connecticut communities.  We place an emphasis on leaders and potential leaders learning through taking action on issues, but also provide formal training and periodic seminars on different topics.  Long term success in this program area would be an institutionalized program of community organizing training, at several levels, occurring at regular intervals each year, a periodic series of Public Life Institutes to bring in readings, speakers, and debates on timely topics, issues and themes, and a well earned reputation of making the most of local and regional actions for the learning and development of leaders.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. CONECT's Strategy Team, made up of 23 community leaders, will monitor our progress on this core program.  
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
CONECT, though less than a year old, has dozens lay and clergy leaders engaged in uncovering, researching, and pressing for solutions on local and state level issues.  The hard work of these leaders was the only thing that enabled the organization to press for and win victories on In State Tuition for immigrant youth and a system of Health Insurance Rate Increase hearings for increase requests of 15% or greater -- victories cemented at or before the Founding Assembly of CONCECT.  
 
The CONECT Founding Assembly is another example of this success -- more than 1500 people attended because dozens of lay and clergy leader did the painstaking work of building hundreds of 1-1 relationships.  Those relationships were the key to such a great beginning for the organization.
Description CONECT will continue its organizing efforts with the immigrant community, largely Latinos, to press for local and state-level policies and resources which enhance quality of life and further integration into their communities and into public life.
Population Served Hispanic, Latino Heritage / Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees / Latin America & the Caribbean
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. Leaders at St. Rose of Lima, a key CONECT member institution, will continue to play a strong role in pressing for neighborhood improvements in safety and basic quality of life issues and to attract and engage other immigrant institutions to join or ally themselves with CONECT's broader state-wide efforts, such as pressing for access to driver's licenses and auto insurance for immigrants.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Long-term success in this organizing focus includes immigrant leaders and their allies in CONECT contributing significantly to winning a long-term national solution to the plight of the undocumented immigrant in the US today.  Leaders would contribute to this sea-change both locally and nationally -- through successful models of immigrant integration and economic contributions locally and through political and moral leadership on the national level.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. Success in this area will be monitored by the Strategy Team of CONECT, consisting of both immigrant and non-immigrant leaders -- those that understand the immediate daily-life impact of these issues as well as those that can stand at some distance from the work and lend an outsider's eye to assessing progress.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. In 2011, CONECT played a leadership role in pressing for and winning the fight to allow undocumented immigrant students to access the state university system in Connecticut at in-state tuition rates.  In addition to being a successful campaign on the issue, the campaign also developed numerous immigrant leaders in the organization and educated numerous allies in Anglo and African American congregations about the plight of immigrants today.
Description CONECT leaders have heard hundreds of stories in their congregations -- whether in wealthy or poor communities -- about hardships and tragedies due to our broken health care and health insurance system in the US.  CONECT will continue to develop strategies to respond to these stories with strategies and campaigns to make health insurance more affordable and healthcare system access.
Population Served Adults / Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent / Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. CONECT leaders continue to evaluate and monitor an agreement they pressed for between the State Insurance Commissioner Lionardi and the State Consumer Advocate Veltri to call hearings for any health insurance rate increase requests above 15%.  This compromise agreement is less than a year old and may be superseded, in some respects, by the state's creation of a Health Insurance Exchange.  Leaders will also research and consider organizing efforts directed at making the Exchange as consumer friendly as possible.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. CONECT leaders would ideally like to press for a strong, affordable, and universal system of health insurance for all residents of Connecticut.  Building on our Boston sister organization's success in pressing for the adoption of the universal coverage system in Massachusetts and the pending implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the state, this goal is not out of reach.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. CONECT's Strategy Team will monitor its progress in this area.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. As mentioned above, CONECT leaders pressed for and won a compromise agreement between Commissioner Lionardi and Advocate Veltri to call hearings on rate increase requests of 15% or greater -- after Gov. Malloy vetoed a bill requiring hearings for requests of 10% or greater.  This initial success was due to tenacious pressure from CONECT leaders.
Description CONECT will continue to build support for the Do Not Stand Idly By strategy to leverage the buying power of the public sector to pressure Gun Manufacturers to invest in new smart gun technology and to take greater responsibility in preventing the distribution of guns into the hands of criminals.
Population Served General/Unspecified / Victims / At-Risk Populations
Program Comments
CEO Comments A challenge for us is the fact that Connecticut is so divided: for example,  racially, urban and suburban, disparity between the very wealthy and the very poor, the political culture of home rule and very little regional government.  Our breadth and the fact that we bridge many of these divides means that we are building relationships in Connecticut that run counter to the grain.  This gives us the opportunity to shape an agenda that effectively stands for the whole. 
CEO/Executive Director
Mr. Matt McDermott
Term Start Sept 2012
Email matt.mcd9@gmail.com
Experience
Our most senior staff position is that of lead organizer.  Matt McDermott became the lead organizer on September 1, 2012.  Mr. McDermott comes to CONECT with 20 years of community organizing and advocacy experience, largely in the Chicago area.  Mr. McDermott organized for two sister organizations to CONECT in the IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation) network for the past 10 years.  
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 300
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate 100%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Collaborations
CONECT is an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a national network of similar broad-based community organizations that collaborate largely around training for lay and clergy leaders and for organizer training, supervision, and mentorship.  IAF sister organizations are spread all over the US and the IAF has affiliates also in the UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany.  The IAF sister organizations in closest proximity to CONECT are in NYC, Westchester County, New Jersey, and Boston.
 
In addition CONECT collaborates locally and statewide with other civic and religious organizations or networks on an ad hoc basis when and where our interests around issues align.  
Comments
CEO Comments The organization does not function with the Board making "policy decisions" and the management team and staff carrying them out.  The organization, rather, is lay led.  Our Board, which we call a Strategy team, designs the strategies for the organization and executes them.  It is both strategic and operational.  The lead organizer trains and mentors leaders; is a consultor and advisor on the development of a strategic focus and its implementation, and an evaluator of talent.
Board Chair
Fr. James Manship
Company Affiliation St. Rose a Lima Catholic Church
Term Dec 2014 to Dec 2016
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Ms. Karen Baar
Rev. Anthony L. Bennett Mount Aery Baptist Church
Fr. David Blanchfield St. Jerome Catholic Parish
Ms. Lois Capossela
Mr. Arthur Carter
Deacon Doreen Cotter Mount Aery Baptist Church
Ms. Angela DeMello St. James Catholic Parish
Ms. Jeimy Gonzales St. Rose of Lima Catholic Parish
Rev. Bernadette Hickman-Maynard Bethel AME, Bridgeport
Ms. Liz Keenan St. James Catholic Parish
Ms. Therese LeFever St. James Catholic Parish
Mr. Daniel Loch St. Jerome Catholic Parish
Mr. Cecilio Martinez St. Rose of Lima Catholic Parish
Mr. Al May St. Gabriel Catholic Church
Minister Odell Montgomery Mount Aery Baptist Church
Mr. Armando Morales St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church
Deacon Regina Mosely Mount Aery Baptist Church
Mr. Alan K. Nudelman Temple Israel
Mr. Jose Ostorba St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church
Mr. Maximo Romero St. Rose of Lima Catholic Parish
Rabbi Evan Schultz Congregation B'nai Israel
Ms. Anne Watkins Congregation B'nai Israel
Ms. Cindy Zuckerbrod
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 5
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 12
Hispanic/Latino 5
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 1 Carribbean American
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 11
Female 13
Board Co-Chair
Rev. Anthony Bennett
Company Affiliation Mount Aery Baptist Church
Term Dec 2014 to Dec 2016
Email pastoralb@mtaerybaptist.org
Standing Committees
Finance
Executive
CEO Comments
We cover a wide geography, we have institutions all the way from East Haven to Norwalk, and we conduct much of our business face-to-face.  So people travel long distances in order to make this organization function.  We address this by having flexible meeting times, meeting often in the evening, and having multiple locations where we can meet.  We also have a significant constituency that is mono-lingual Spanish speaking, and also a large constituency that speaks English only.  We address this through lots of practice and trial and error:  simultaneous translation through headsets, having our English-only leaders attend meetings in Spanish of our Latino constituency, bring multiple translators to meetings, have 3 people rather than two in individual meeting settings, for translation in both directions. 
 
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2016
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2016
Projected Revenue $299,000.00
Projected Expenses $298,429.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Expense Allocations Chart
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$178,624$171,656$194,580
Administration Expense$30,039$24,821$12,848
Fundraising Expense$7,266$7,108--
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.021.500.95
Program Expense/Total Expenses83%84%94%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue4%3%0%
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$181,003$174,547$72,060
Current Assets$181,003$174,547$72,060
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$1,577----
Total Net Assets$179,426$174,547$72,060
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountThe Needmor Fund $30,000Christian Conf. of CT $69,000The Needmor Fund $30,000
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountRaskob Foundation for Catholic Activities $30,000Fairfield County Community Foundation $30,000Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities $30,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFairfield County Community Foundation $25,000The Needmor Fund $30,000Catholic Campaign for Human Development $30,000
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities114.78----
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
Comments
CEO Comments
Our longer-term goal and challenge is to expand the number of congregations paying dues and to thereby increase the aggregate dues income.  Recruitment of new member institutions will remain a major focus for the organization.
 
Additionally, we are gradually increasing other independent sources of income, such as building an individual donor base.  We are also considering and exploring other social enterprise income ideas and hope to raise money from other sources creatively in this way.
 
Foundation Staff Comments

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.

 

Address 185 Cold Spring Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Primary Phone 203 787-1090
Contact Email weconectnow@gmail.com
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Matt McDermott
Board Chair Fr. James Manship
Board Chair Company Affiliation St. Rose a Lima Catholic Church

 

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