ConnPIRG Education Fund
2074 Park St Ste #210
Hartford CT 06106
Contact Information
Address 2074 Park St Ste #210
Hartford, CT 06106-
Telephone (860) 233-7554 x
E-mail info@connpirg.org
Web and Social Media
Mission
With public debate around important issues often dominated by special interests pursuing their own narrow agendas, ConnPIRG Education Fund offers an independent voice that works on behalf of the public interest. ConnPIRG Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, works to protect consumers and promote good government. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public, and offer meaningful opportunities for civic participation.
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1997
Organization's type of tax exempt status Exempt-Other
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Kate Cohen
Board Chair James Leahy
Board Chair Company Affiliation Leahy Management Group
Financial Summary
 
Projected Revenue $80,000.00
Projected Expenses $77,000.00
Statements
Mission With public debate around important issues often dominated by special interests pursuing their own narrow agendas, ConnPIRG Education Fund offers an independent voice that works on behalf of the public interest. ConnPIRG Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, works to protect consumers and promote good government. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public, and offer meaningful opportunities for civic participation.
Background

For more than 15 years, ConnPIRG Education Fund has provided research and educational information necessary to better inform consumers and better prepare citizens in Connecticut. By investigating problems affecting the general public of Connecticut, ConnPIRG Education Fund seeks to be a resource for people wanting a greater understanding of their community. We develop strategic plans to solve problems and our plans are geared toward engaging more people in the process to make our democracy function better.

ConnPIRG Education Fund also has more than 40 years of experience providing training to thousands of youth on college campuses, and our mission as an organization is in part to train young people to take on issues they care about. We believe in training the next generation of civic leaders. By honing the skills of passionate young people and equipping them to be better public speakers, writers and motivational leaders, ConnPIRG Education Fund has helped prepare dozens of young people to be effective civic leaders in their community.

Impact

Accomplishments:

- ConnPIRG Education Fund’s New Voters Project built a list of 512 young people who pledged to vote on Election Day, and made over 1,000 get-out-the-vote contacts. ConnPIRG Education Fund volunteers and staff reached out to potential voters in New Haven to allow them to get the information they needed to register to vote.  

- ConnPIRG joined with PIRGs in other states and gathered the support of hundreds of doctors, medical professionals and small farmers as well as thousands of young people to show Subway, among the largest buyers of meat in the world, that switching to antibiotic-free meat is good for both public health and the company's health. In October, 2015, Subway announced it would phase out antibiotics from its meat supply.

- This year, we began a Hartford-based training program for young adults ages 17-24 at local high schools, in order to broaden our youth training efforts.

- Last summer, our Citizen Outreach directors and staff helped educate tens of thousands of people throughout the state of Connecticut about issues like the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms.


Goals:

- We're working to get five more major restaurant chains to commit to selling meat raised without routine antibiotics. This will help us stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms.

- We have a goal to develop youth leadership training programs throughout the state to work with youth who would not normally have access to the training programs we run at the campuses we have a more traditional presence on in Connecticut.

- In the coming year, we're working to educate the public through the research we do on the best and worst transportation priorities in the state. We will release reports about how the environment and people’s needs can be better prioritized by the state.

Needs

- Our leadership development work with students is currently limited to three campuses. We’re looking for new partnerships with schools so we can expand to reach more students across the state.

- We’re working to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. We are looking for volunteers to help educate and engage CT through social media, panels, media work, and public outreach.

- We're working to raise the voice of the public about transportation reform that would reflect the state’s need to address the environment. Funding would allow us to run a robust program, including transit and pedestrian friendly resources, and community outreach.

- We are well positioned to spotlight the potential of small donor incentives to tackle big money in politics. We're looking for part time interns to do research and education to prop up Connecticut as an example with good campaign finance laws, and examine where our system falls short.

- Lead is a toxic heavy metal that impairs how kids learn, grow and behave. Many school buildings were built using lead pipes and plumbing back when we did not fully understand the danger. Now we do, but in many schools, they still have these old lead pipes. With funding, we could do the research and education it will take to address this problem in Connecticut.

CEO Statement
ConnPIRG Education Fund is a statewide nonprofit public interest group. We research the problems our state faces and craft solutions, whether that be on issues like public health, consumer protection, or product safety. We have been around since the 1970s, building support from the public, which puts in a unique position to tackle these problems with decades of experience.
 
One of the most important and unique pieces of our history is the fact that we got our start on college campuses, where young people got together to tackle issues they cared about in their community. That is at the core of our history and to this day it is a critical part of what we do. We give young people an opportunity to take on some of the most important issues of our time, and we make a big difference while doing so.
Board Chair Statement
The ConnPIRG Education Fund has a long and storied history in Connecticut as an organization committed to the civic engagement of college students.  From its origins in the early 1970’s, ConnPIRG has worked to show student leaders that they have the power and the energy to impact society and the challenges we face.  I am excited as the organization expands that focus to include even younger leaders developing the skills necessary to make a difference.

We often hear how the younger generations don’t care or are different, but my experience is that every generation has people who care about the issues that society struggles to address.  My time with PIRG leads me to believe that all that most need to get involved are the tools to be effective.  If people don’t believe they can make a difference, they often don’t try.  When they know they can, leaders will step to the forefront.

I have been lucky enough in the 30+ years that I’ve been involved to see this firsthand.  I often get a smile on my face when a former student intern or volunteer or staffer comes up to me and says that their PIRG experience taught them how to approach a problem, solve an issue or challenge authority.  I know we make a difference in their lives and that is why I am still involved.

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Public & Societal Benefit / Consumer Protection
Secondary Organization Category Education /
Areas Served
National
Local
Ansonia
Bethany
Branford
Cheshire
Derby
East Haven
Guilford
Hamden
Lower Naugatuck Valley
Madison
Milford
New Haven
North Branford
North Haven
Orange
Oxford
Seymour
Shelton
Shoreline
State wide
Wallingford
West Haven
Woodbridge
Other
We primarily focus on issues at the state level, but also work on local and national initiatives.
Programs
Description ConnPIRG’s consumer program works to alert the public to hidden dangers and scams and to ban anti-consumer practices and unsafe products.
Population Served 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. In the short term, consumers and others can learn from ConnPIRG Education reports that detail how they can protect themselves when it comes to consumer issues.
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. Ultimately, people stronger consumer protections will be in place to protect people from being ripped off by scams and unsafe products.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. We will assess based on the number of people we educate and engage on the issue.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. Last year, we released multiple reports about how the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau helps protect consumers from being ripped off by various financial institution. We also alerted the public to a number of financial rip-offs, such as the recent Wells Fargo scandal.
Description The New Voters Project is a nonpartisan effort to help register young people and get them to the polls on Election Day. We believe the best way to raise the voices of young people is to register and vote. As a 501(c)(3) organization, we do not endorse any candidate or party and we do not take a stand on any legislation. Our job is to get young people to the polls. It is up to candidates to convince them who to vote for.
Population Served Adults / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
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. Ultimately, we are working to see a greater number of young people engaged in our democracy.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. We will know our program is working if we can increase voter turnout in the areas we serve.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. Last year, at UConn where ConnPIRG Education Fund works with volunteers on the New Voters Project, we increased voter turnout by 20 percent.
Description
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections." And a recent study found that unless action is taken, these infections would kill more people worldwide by 2050 than cancer does today.

In March 2015, we helped convince McDonald’s to stop serving chicken raised on our life-saving medicines. Shortly after, Tyson Foods, a major chicken producer and McDonald's supplier, followed suit. Then, in October, we convinced Subway, with more restaurants than any other chain in the United States, to make a commitments to stop serving any meat raised on antibiotics, starting with chicken by the end of 2016.

These were huge victories to protect public health, but now, other major chains need to take action. That's why we're focusing on KFC — the largest chain of fried chicken restaurants in the world. If we don’t take decisive action soon, we could face a world in which life-saving antibiotics no longer work.

Population Served 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. In the next year, we're working to get five more major fast food chains to commit to selling meat raised without the routine use of antibiotics.
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. Ultimately, we're working to stop the unnecessary use of antibiotics on factory farms so we can preserve antibiotics for future generations.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. We will know our program is working if we can get the biggest fast food chains in the United States to sell meat raised without routine antibiotics. In the long-term, we will know because we will see a decrease in the percent of antibiotics used on factory farms.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. In the last couple of years, we have helped convince both McDonald's and Subway to sell meat raised without routine antibiotics.
Description

Americans are increasingly looking for more and better options to get around — options like expanded public transit, better biking alternatives, walkable neighborhoods and high-performance intercity trains. But while our transportation preferences are changing, too often our transportation policies are stuck in the past. 

Our work has helped to educate the public about the changing ways we get around and the need for policy reform to respond to and encourage further transformation. Our nation’s highway-focused transportation system leaves too many communities isolated from opportunity, creates too much pollution, causes health problems, and does a poor job of getting Americans where they want to go. While Americans increasingly want to live in communities with other ways to travel, our vision for a national transportation system is largely stuck in the 1950s. Instead of simply lurching from one funding crisis to the next, our nation needs to make smart choices that will prepare us for the 21st century. These include a forward-looking 21st century transportation system that serves more places, is more reliable, creates less pollution and reduces global warming emissions.

Population Served General/Unspecified / /
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. In the next year, we will release two reports and use them to educate the public in Connecticut about transportation options in the state.
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. We're working to help the public reshape the transportation system in the state through education and engagement. Ultimately, the people using transportation systems and the environmental impact should be prominent in discussions about transportation initiatives.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. We will track the number of people engaged in the issue and the number of times we can get a presence in media outlets throughout the state.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. In the last year, we have engaged dozens of students on our transportation campaign throughout the state, which has resulted in greater involvement of the public as well.
CEO/Executive Director
Kate Cohen
Term Start Aug 2016
Email kcohen@connpirg.org
Experience

Kate Cohen is responsible for program and organizational development, research, and public education for ConnPIRG Education Fund. Before becoming State Director, Kate worked as a Campaign Organizer with CoPIRG. While in Colorado, Kate ran the New Voter's Project at multiple college campuses, where she trained dozens of young people in organizing, and helped register thousands of new voters. She also worked on our campaign to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. She engaged hundreds of college students on the issue and worked with many health professionals, and was ultimately successful in helping to get both McDonald's and Subway to commit to selling meat raised without routine antibiotics.

Originally from Vermont, Kate graduated with degrees in History and Philosophy from Brandeis University in 2014. While at Brandeis, Kate led a student-directed group called Poverty Action Coalition, which focused on helping to relieve poverty internationally. She also worked for a year on environmental issues as an intern with Corporate Accountability International, a national nonprofit group based in Boston.
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 1
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 10
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate 50%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 1
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 0
Female 1
Unspecified 0
Senior Staff
Title State Director
Collaborations
We work with a number of coalitions in Connecticut on our priority issues, such as stopping the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms, 21st century transportation, getting big money out of politics, and consumer protection.
Board Chair
James Leahy
Company Affiliation Leahy Management Group
Term Jan 2013 to Dec 2018
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Saman Azimi ConnPIRG Student Leader
Marilynn Cruz-Aponte
Samuel Hollister Community Volunteer
Chris Lindstrom
Ed Mierzwinski
Abraham Scarr Illinois PIRG Education Fund
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 5
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 1 Iranian-American
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 2
 
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2016
Fiscal Year End June 30 2017
Projected Revenue $80,000.00
Projected Expenses $77,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Expense Allocations Chart
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$7,119$6,954$60,095
Administration Expense$10,345$4,724$7,433
Fundraising Expense----$2,214
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.780.200.39
Program Expense/Total Expenses41%60%86%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%8%
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$40,448$10,256$31,349
Current Assets$40,448$10,256$31,349
Long-Term Liabilities$56,308$39,818$74,868
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets($15,860)($29,562)($43,519)
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets139%388%239%
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Comments
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 2074 Park St Ste #210
Hartford, CT 06106
Primary Phone 860 233-7554
Contact Email info@connpirg.org
CEO/Executive Director Kate Cohen
Board Chair James Leahy
Board Chair Company Affiliation Leahy Management Group

 

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