Branford Early Childhood Collaborative
P.O. Box 1032
Branford CT 06405
Contact Information
Address P.O. Box 1032
Branford, CT 06405-
Telephone (203) 415-5237 x
Fax 203-415-5613
E-mail branford.becc@gmail.com
Web and Social Media
Mission

The Branford Early Childhood Collaborative is committed to ensuring that all Branford children and families are afforded the opportunity to develop a sound foundation for learning in the critical early years.

A Great OpportunityHelpThe nonprofit has used this field to provide information about a special campaign, project or event that they are raising funds for now.
BECC is committed to ensuring every baby born in Branford is healthy and well cared for. Through our Community Based Postpartum Home Visiting Pilot Program we are offering every baby born in Branford a free visit from a Parent Educator. Every parent of a newborn will be offered support and training to ensure a healthy, safe, and stimulating environment for early child development. Our goal is to connect mothers with resources, counsel and community resources, and to help ensure new mothers have access to appropriate postnatal care for themselves and their children. It includes follow up intervals and referrals to appropriate programs or providers. 

Becoming a mother is largely a wondrous event for women, and research shows that "some women, however, find the transition into motherhood defined by fatigue, frustration, and emotional turmoil. Feelings of loss of control and emotional distress not only affect the mother, but have known adverse effects for the infant as well." (Stapleton et al., 2012) Pregnancy and childbirth are milestones in the life of women, a "teachable moment" when motivation is high to ensure the health and well-being of the newborn. Research in early childhood development also tells us that "brains are built over time, and the foundations of brain architecture are constructed early in life. . . . Children's experiences with all of the people who are consistently in their lives have an important influence on their brain structure and function." (Harvard Center on the Developing Child) Healthy attachment between a newborn and parent provides the basis for all learning and emotional development. If we wish to promote BECC's mission that "all Branford children and families are given the opportunity to develop a sound foundation for learning," then we must begin in the critical early years.

We have done extensive research and collaboration with our community partners to design a Postpartum Home Visit Pilot Program for Branford's new moms that will be beneficial to women seeking additional help and support during this new and challenging time of their lives. By providing one-on-one, in-home attention, mothers will have better connections to their babies and utilize resources available, networks of support, raise healthier children and practice better self-care.

Year 1 of the program will provide 45 Branford mothers with a free postpartum home visit from a trained Parent Educator. The Family Resource Center and BECC will create an access point with a "Baby Bundle" filled with resources, program information and comprehensive health information for both mother and child. At the visit, the educator will talk with the new mother, document status of her health, the child’s health, reported medical care, and other data points in the "Parent as Teachers" framework. A relationship of trust, counsel and community is built, while referrals can be made to appropriate agencies and organizations, as needed.

BECC is also committed to early identification and standardized developmental screening for all Branford children. The Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ-3) is a tool for children ages 1 month to 5 ½ years. In 2019 we have introduced the tool to providers and will include as part of the home visit for parents. This evidence-driven program will improve a child’s chances for social and academic success and provide caregivers the critical insights needed to detect delays or potential delays.

Our fundraising goal is $20,000 for year one. 
A Great Opportunity Ending Date Dec 31 2020
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 2016
Former Names
Branford Early Childhood Council
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 Ms Robin Elaine Comey
Board Chair Ms. Alice-Anne Harwood Sherrill
Board Chair Company Affiliation Harwood Development Design
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Statements
Mission

The Branford Early Childhood Collaborative is committed to ensuring that all Branford children and families are afforded the opportunity to develop a sound foundation for learning in the critical early years.

Background
In the early 2000's the BECC was created as part of a state-wide effort to grow support for local early childhood councils to develop a local community blueprint to improve the health, safety, and education of children birth through age 8. The collaborative was tasked with bringing together a wide network of community partners, creating mutually agreed upon goals and outcomes to benefit young children and their families.  Branford's current support system for our earliest learners looks nothing like it did even 7 years ago.  From public pre-k for 4-year-old's to the town's School Readiness Grant, Branford has benefited greatly from BECC's work advocating for investments in early childhood. 
 
As these things go and with tight budgets in Harford, the 50+ communities were de-funded and many of the programs fizzled throughout the next few years. BECC is one of the handful of organizations that have managed to re-invent itself, mostly through a dedicated group of advocates, board members and employees who are committed to ensuring our earliest learners are worth the investment of our collective time and effort. 
 
In 2016, BECC applied for and received their non profit status. Since then, they have been able to continue with the community programs that they are known for especially the town-wide literacy events and the monthly free professional development opportunities they provide any early care provider, family care program and day care center in the area. The BECC does all of this with the support of a part-time staff, a working board, strong community partners, and a handful of volunteers. 
 
Impact
Accomplishments this year:
* Continued growth of our staple community programs such as Week of the Young Child and held our first ever mini-conference for the community
* Continued reduction of costs and streamlining of our internal business processes
* Created a throughline of programming with community partners and stakeholders supporting education and awareness of the impacts of trauma on children, social emotional learning and developmentally appropriate education
Facilitated enrollment of three centers to participate in a double blind, three-year study instituting the RULER program via Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
*Hosted a Five Week Collaborative Problem Solving workshop for parents offered by NAMI Shoreline 
 
As last year, our priority this year is to continue to grow public awareness about the organization and its impact on children and families:
* Begin engaging our board in a more meaningful way for fundraising
* Identifying major donors and foundations for specific program support and development
* Maintain staff capacity, grow if able
* Work with our peer community partners to set the foundation for community-driven collaborative work supported by a state-wide cohesive system for families and children
* Broaden our local advocacy efforts 
 
 
Needs
We need funding to hire for the following positions and continues to be the #1 priority of the organization, especially in light of our need to develop a succession plan. 
* Full Time Executive Director who can focus on development and grant writing, at a minimum - $50,000
* Program Coordinator .5 -- $18,750 
25 hours a week Program Coordinator at $15/hour to coordinate our various programs such as the Early Care Provider Roundtable, Week of the Young Child and other community outreach. 
CEO Statement
I feel fortunate to have amazing support from my board and my community partners. It seems whenever a challenge arises and the organization is faced with a barrier I think we will never overcome, an unexpected door opens, and magically the problem has been solved. This has happened several times over the past year.  That is why as Executive Director of an organization without enough time and resources to get beyond the infancy stage, I am able to remain hopeful.  While the role of the Exec. Director, is often to think big and grow relationships at the metalevel, as the sole employee, it is also my duty to carry out the day to day work including envelope licking and copy making. 
 
I often chuckle when I hear previously unengaged leaders discuss brain development and the importance of supporting our earliest learners, when not that many years ago when we discussed these things, we were looked at quizzically or even dismissed. We were ahead of the times. We understand that and we can even embrace that. We are an almost 20-year-old organization that had to start over three years ago, and I have to keep reminding myself of that because the institutional memory of the past decade is still there. Our organization and its leaders are patient,  and I believe the next several years will find us in a new place, with new opportunities ahead of us.  My job is to get us poised, to ready our organization, for all that may be in front of us. 
 
At our last Early Care Provider Roundtable, there was a special moment where several of the teachers approached me, thanking me for my work on their behalf and embraced me in a hug for a good holiday. I began thinking about their motivations for attending. This past year we served those hard-working, woefully underpaid preschool teachers, 123 times. They came to a workshop after their 9 or 10 hour days working in a field where more and more is expected, while their wages never go up. They even came back 57% of the time. Some of them have attended every single one of our workshops in the past year, not because they are required to, but because they find our programs worthwhile. Others have to work second jobs to support their families. I have noticed some of the teachers leaving one center and working at another one, sometimes out of town. Yet, they are still attending the Roundtables. I think it's because they know we care about them, their well-being, and their livelihoods. All this time we have developed a loyalty. Loyalty to the kids, to the community and to each other. 
Board Chair Statement

BECC finds itself in a fascinating position — years of providing quality programs and resources, yet an organization whose operations and infrastructure are at the infancy lifecycle stage. What makes BECC different from other organizations is an awareness of the organization’s stage in these areas, and our commitment to design effective solutions to align the organization’s infrastructure with the stage of program quality.

As the board moves toward stronger governance and policies, along with more work shifted to the shoulders of board members, it became clear that BECC was no longer a fit for some of the board leaders. While it is always sad to see board members step down, it opens the opportunity to engage board members who embrace the current needs of BECC and can play active roles in creating and measuring the impact of organization programs, while working to optimize operational aspects and grow organizational capacity.

The focus of the current board is stability. An internal assessment showed that while all programs fall into the high impact category, each shows low profitability. Areas with the greatest potential for financial growth have been targeted and board task forces formed to focus on a strategy for each.

Scenario thinking focused on financial autonomy and the reliability of funding streams was conducted. This was the foundation for generating innovative ideas and strategies that board task forces are tackling to address the financial and operational needs of the organization, while still keeping a focus on impact and quality. The board has a new board matrix that includes skillsets that will complement the existing team and fulfill the vision/strategy, as well as aspects such as communication and learning styles, network capacity, and industry knowledge.

Work plans are in motion, recruitment of volunteers that could potentially serve as board members continues, collaborations to create efficiencies continue to be explored, governance policies and practices have been implemented as a result of the work done through the Community Foundation, and a learning agenda for board development and awareness building is being implemented to strengthen the board’s capacity. It’s a slow climb to build the organization, yet the programs and resources continue to endure, due in large part to the Community Foundation. The board holds enormous gratitude for this support, yet also recognizes and is actively working to remedy the precariousness of the lack of diversity in revenue streams for the organization. Growth will continue and the trajectory that the Foundation has made possible continues to inspire all involved with BECC.

The board identified BECC’s competitive advantages of: Our expertise in the field, broad and deep connections in the community, and BECC as an enduring organization. The intent is to maximize these competitive advantages. An identity statement was created to create a common language for discussing BECC; a strategy to activate board members as advocates. A strategy screen has been created to keep the organization focused on the strategies that best serve the priorities of BECC.

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Education / Preschools
Secondary Organization Category Community Improvement, Capacity Building / Community Coalitions
Tertiary Organization Category Public & Societal Benefit / Alliances & Advocacy
Areas Served
Branford
Shoreline
Branford, Connecticut is our main focus. However, this past year we have included teachers from North Branford, Guilford and even Milford in our monthly provider roundtable. We are interested in expanding our reach, as we have heard there are interest and need, but lack the current internal capacity to focus exclusively on it. It will be a potential for growth in the coming year. 
Programs
Description A mainstay of our nealry 20 years of programming, the BECC has been providing monthly free professional development workshops to preschool and daycare teachers, as well as family care providers.  Last spring we noticed a drop off in attendance even through quality programs were offered.  While we often see fluctuations year-to-year based on cycle of certification renewals, we also heard testimony that teachers could get their PD hours online through the CT Office of Early Childhood at their convenience.  We reconstituted our Roundtable committee to problem solve. The team of teachers and directors decided this year to pick a theme: "Teachers taking care of teachers."  Since September, our attendance is trending slowly upward and reach expanded to include teachers from Guilford, North Branford, and Milford. We are including giveaways to add excitement and holding the programs in a variety of schools. 
Population Served Adults / Infants to Preschool (under age 5) / K-12 (5-19 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.
* By the end of each Roundtable class teachers report increased knowledge level.
* By the end of each Roundtable class teachers report they plan on using the lessons learned in the classroom.
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.
Increase opportunities for continuing education and maintaining certificates. 
Increase percentage of children who are Kindergarten ready 
 
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Pre and Post Knowledge Survey assessment
Rate of early childhood educators maintaining certification 
Repeat attendance
Expanded outreach 
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
November 2018
We held a workshop with Dr. Craig Bailey, Director of RULER for Early Childhood for 24 educators including public school principals, classroom teachers, directors and funders. We were introduced to the program and dug deeper into emotional intelligence in daily practice.  Centers were also given the opportunity to participate in a 3 yr. study. Two centers in Branford, and one in Wallingford, are now participants.
 
In addition, we followed this workshop up with a field trip in January to The Friends Center in New Haven where we saw the RULER program in action every day! We had 15 people join us including directors, asst. directors, classroom teachers and board members. 
 
66% pre-surveyed as being knowledgeable about Emotional Intelligence vs. 100% post-survey.
50% pre-surveyed as being able to teach emotional intelligence vs. 100% post-survey 
 
Building on our focus on trauma-informed practice we scaffolded the learning into Emotional Intelligence & Social Emotional Learning.
Description
Printing and online distribution of Children's Resource Guide (English and Spanish) - 58-page directory for families and service providers that includes a thorough compilation of schools, health programs, libraries and literacy organizations, entertainment and attractions, state-wide organizations and community information, specific to families with children. This guide, published since 2006 is the go-to guide for parents, providers and social service organizations. Five hundred guides are distributed yearly through our partner organizations, Town Hall, the Counseling Center, WIC, Community Dining Room, Family Resource Center, schools and more.
 
Further, in June of 2017, the East Shore District Health Department was focused on putting together a directory of resources for the region and requested our directory to include in theirs, saving them time and efforts on certain family-focused resources that we had already been publishing. 
Population Served Families / Infants to Preschool (under age 5) / Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
% increase in request for multi-language guides
Google analytics  
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
Restocking continues to be an important validation of the community need for the directory. 
When we visit programs, homes, libraries and social service programs we see the directory in active use! 
The Branford Counseling Center called for restock in the past month, as has the Family Resource Center and the Branford Town Hall.  
Directors have called it "their bible for referrals to services." 
 
Description
We know that 20% of Branford children do not have a dental home and are not getting oral health care regularly. This community dental partnership with East Shore District Health Department, Branford Counseling Center, Mendillo Family Dentistry, The School Based Health Centers and Branford Cares has been working to change that. Through our outreach and educational efforts, "We strive to educate the public about dental health with the goal to help every person in Branford find a dental home." 
 
We provide a Preschool Dental Loaner Kit for schools with curriculum and take home materials that stress the importance of good oral health practices in children. Each child takes home a trifold and sample toothbrush.  We donate a dental book to each classroom. We have also added dentists and oral health professionals to our Resource Guide to assist with finding a dental home. 
 
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) / Families / 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.
* We will see an increase in Branford Early Care Centers using the Loaner Dental Education Kit 
* Increase of children 5 and under that are participants with the kit will self report having seen a dentist
* The rate at which children self-report brushing their teeth each day. 
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.
The Community Health Assessment Survey done by the East Shore District Health Department in 2016 showed that:
* 78% of Branford residents reported seeing a dentist in the last year.
This was an increase from the Greater New Haven Well-Being Survey in 2014 which reported that:
* 76% of Connecticut residents reported seeing a dentist in the last year.
 
A Branford Cares Community Survey in early 2016 also reported that 20% of respondents reported that their children had no dental insurance.  
 
Long term success could therefore be measured by:
* The increase in Branford children that see a dental provider in a year
 
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Evaluations filled out by Child Care Centers with number and ages of children using kit. 
Questions to include in kit:
* How many children self report brushing their teeth each day?
* How many children self report going to a dentist? 
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
We are always in search of best practices and have found that other community dental health programs experience similar challenges with collecting data. We are focusing now on early childhood educational opportunities with our already strong network of preschools and daycares. The teachers report, "the kids love the Rasta Lion" and they are adapting the kit to their age and language levels. They are developing craft projects such as floss necklaces and toothpaste painting. One school reported using the kit as their science enrichment project during Feb. National Dental Month. According to one classroom teacher, "The children were happy to share their brushing stories with us, they liked the 'plaque bugs' and talked about going to the dentist." "Excellent kit!" Additionally,  toothbrushes are sent home as takeaways with fact sheets for parents and our trifold on the importance of good oral health.  So far we have provided the kit to over 100 kids and 7 classrooms. 
  
 
Description
Celebrating NAEYC's Week of the Young Child is a yearly community-wide literacy event for families and children in the month of April. In 2019, we gave 850 free books to promote literacy with our One Book One Town program. The public schools, family-care and center programs, as well as playgroups and ELL programs, submit over 550 pieces of kids' art that hang in downtown businesses. Each year is theme-based with a moral, community building lesson. This year we chose What does it Mean to Be Kind by Rana DiOrio. This staple program gives us community exposure as an organization that cares about Branford kids and is dedicated to creating sound foundations for learning.
 
We also held Talking Early Childhood, a 1/2 day conference,  a first for BECC. We brought in a well-known keynote speaker, Susan Graham, and Luz Rivera from OEC's Help Us Grow, who introduced the community to ASQ developmental screenings. Because of this program, we are now investing efforts to expand ASQ, community-wide. 
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) / Families / 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.
Rate of licensed Early Care centers and home care providers participating in program
Rate of licensed Branford preschool children submitting artwork for the Art Walk
Creating a month long digital literacy campaign 
Increased attendance to WOYC events 
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.
In a 2016 Branford Cares Survey, only 50% of respondents with children under 7, reported reading to their children daily. 
The report also showed that 35% of kids under 18 live in families who fall below the state median income and that the majority of parents work full time.
1/3 of respondents reported having their child in a center and 1/5 in family day care (under age 7) and 32% of respondents noted that childcare was a hardship. 
 
We can make assumptions that parents are busy and depend largely on teachers and the caregivers to expose them to books. Our programming strives to improve those results.  
* Long term success would have an increase of parents reporting reading to their children daily
 
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Program uses month-long social media campaign to encourage family literacy activities:
(Year one baseline measurements would be collected and measured year after year)
* # of posts liked, shared, retweeted etc. per week
* # parents engaged to share details on frequency and titles of books
 
Through our surveys at events and tracking of participation rates
Expansion of audience outside of Branford
 
With future activities, we are focused on making improvements to data gathering (beyond participation rates) that can support the case that the program is improving outcomes. This will include creating an ambassador program whereas we reward parent ambassadors (with gift cards) by modeling family reading activities on social media and encouraging peers to do the same. Our intention is to increase exposure virally, but more importantly, this will manifest into long term family routines. This will grow through hashtags and videos to reach out to personal, community and neighborhood pages. 
 
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
* In 2019 we distributed 847 books to kids
* Also in 2019, 542 pieces of artwork were submitted to the Art Walk, a 26% increase from 2018
 
We know that families and teachers look forward to WOYC through word of mouth and overall feedback. The merchants love the playful look the work brings to their windows and look forward to being included each year. One business drew crayon pictures of his staff and hung it up next to our children's work! When storefronts are empty we track down the owners of the property and get permission to use their windows for "huge" displays of work! 
 
The Talking Early Childhood mini-conference, though not as widely attended as we had hoped, did bring in people from outside Branford. Working with the School Readiness Council and using the state as a resource brought a level of credibility. While learning about the ASQ tool we discussed the benefits of a common tool to guide K readiness and our collective developmental appropriate expectations of children.
Description

Food Allergy Friends Youth & Parent/Caregiver Support Group(FAF) is an in-person support program originally launched in 2012 by the non-profit organization Food Allergy Education Network (FAEN). FAEN officially dissolved in 2018, however, the leaders of the program vowed to continue to provide the program in partnership with Branford Early Childhood Collaborative. Food Allergy Research and Education's (FARE) Community Outreach Award helps so we do not have to charge a fee. As food allergy diagnoses continue to rise, we serve as a resource and our referrals come mainly from allergists/pediatricians and word-of-mouth.

Our overall goal in offering these monthly support groups is to not only educate children and families about their food allergies, but also to connect them with others who share similar experiences and challenges. In turn, they will bring food allergy awareness out into their communities (home/family, school, extracurricular activities, etc.).

Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) / Adults / People/Families with of People with Disabilities
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. The objectives of both of our youth and parent programs are measured by: 1) an increase in the number of food allergic children with improved comfort level at school, in the community, and among peers and families; 2) an increase in expressive skills and self-advocacy (including parental advocacy); and 3) an increase in use of strategies for keeping safe while interacting in situations where allergens are present.
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.

One objective is to educate, empower, and help these children and parents/caregivers lead safe yet fulfilling lives despite the challenges presented by living with food allergies. An additional objective of our youth program is to provide an outlet and strategies for handling difficult situations with peers in a variety of school and community settings (e.g. bullying, teasing, exclusion, etc.).


Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.

Upon joining Food Allergy Friends, children take a survey to establish a baseline, with follow-up surveys given at the 5-month and 10-month point of participation. Developmentally appropriate questions are designed to assess anxiety, knowledge base, and allergy awareness on a numerical scale so the data can later be quantified.

Upon joining our support program, parents/caregivers also take a survey to establish a baseline, with follow-up surveys given at the 5-month and 10-month point of participation. Questions are designed to assess anxiety, knowledge base, allergy awareness, and empowerment/advocacy on a numerical scale so the data can later be quantified.

Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.

Food Allergy Friends (FAF) serves as a unique resource to the food allergy community as the only in-person support group in Connecticut.  We have 13 families enrolled and 11 children (ages 5-12). 

Each month activities are designed so participants can take the skills they learn and apply them in the settings in which they interface; school, extra-curriculars, family and friend holidays/celebrations. We host a Teal Pumpkin activity to raise awareness of food allergies at Halloween, a food-free holiday party (featuring carolers, holiday crafts, and safe visits with Santa), and Food Allergy Awareness Week activities in May. Each event focuses on raising awareness in schools and the community.

FAF participates in the FARE Walk and members attended a peanut-free baseball game at the Hartford Yard Goats. Lastly, each year parents and children participate in many advocacy efforts in Hartford when important legislation arises.
Program Comments
CEO Comments
BECC's programs have a lot of support from the community and partners are happy to work with the collaborative on projects, many times recognizing our limited internal capacity and offering to shoulder some of the operational burdens and costs. For that we are grateful. Private centers are thankful for the opportunities we provide their teachers and programs, yet do not have the ability to become a donor organization.  As we know, this is an ongoing issue in the industry. 
 
In 2019, we had an unexpected opportunity to partner with Read to Grow who received a local grant from Branford Community Foundation allocating books for Branford kids. Instead of starting a new program, we used Week of the Young Child as the vehicle and that infusion of funds offset our expenditures and scrambled to re-allocate funds elsewhere. 
 
We took on a new program this year, Food Allergy Friends. The Executive Director of the BECC had been previously a founding member of the organization that started the program and evaluated the program for self-sustainability before bringing on board. There was no financial risk as the program was already funded through a national organization, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). The sub-committee will determine next steps, as we are looking for a clinician with a Masters of Social Work to facilitate the youth program going forward. 
 
We partnered with Branford Families (BF) and NAMI to offer a Collaborative Problem Solving Five Week Parent program for adults raising kids with challenging behaviors. We had 6 families from Branford, a family each from Naugatuck, Chester and Beacon Falls. We are unsure about our working agreement with BF going forward as key people are not in a position right now to carry forward in 2020. The BECC is working on programming through a community engagement subcommittee.  
 
We have big goals for the Home Visiting Pilot program and have applied to multiple funding sources.  As a piece of the program, we intend to introduce the Ages and Stages program to parents as it will be a common thread as they begin school in our early care centers.  Our daycare and preschools have been asking for years for a standardized measurement tool that they could use. We believe the ASQ-3 is that tool that serves to support teachers and parents and will be pursuing in 2020. To that end, we purchased an ASQ-3 toolkit for one school readiness and state-funded program, and we are working to bring them the resources and training in the new year.  
CEO/Executive Director
Ms Robin Elaine Comey
Term Start Jan 2015
Email branford.becc@gmail.com
Experience

Robin Comey is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University. An experienced advocate for children's healthcare and education issues, she has been leading BECC since 2015, moving from board member to Exec. Director, shepherding it from collaborative to non-profit. She is State Representative for the 102nd District representing Branford. She serves on the Education Committee, Public Health Committee and Committee on Children. In her first month in office, she partnered with United Way of CT and other organizations to show the documentary Resilience to fellow legislators. She serves on Ct State Advisory Council on Special Education, a dental therapy task force and has been being tasked with the Kids Report Card for lawmakers. 

She was inducted into the 2019 Branford Education Hall of Fame. Comey currently serves on the Branford School Readiness Council, the East Shore District Health Department’s MIECV Advisory Board, the Community Health Improvement Planning Board (CHIP) of the East Shore District Health Department and is Treasurer for Short Beach Days. 
 
She is a past member of the Branford RTM, the Civic Association of Short Beach and the Yale New Haven Behavioral Health Patient Advisory Board. She is a past John B. Sliney PTA board member,  Branford Girl Scout troop leader and board volunteer as well as a Branford BOE Parent Advisory committee member. 
 
She is responsible for developing many educational, arts, science, math and environmental programs across the region benefiting children and adults alike, including the memorable Terra Series produced by Projects2k in the Stony Creek Quarry. She has a record of successfully developing partnerships with business owners and non-profits to bring unique projects to the area. 
 
Robin also owns Starprompt with her husband Dave. For nearly 30 years their company has provided public speaking support services for live and recorded events, serving corporations, businesses, hospitals and non-profits, across the region.
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 3
Staff Retention Rate 100%
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
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Collaborations
We collaborate with Branford Families on Parent Education programming, events and areas of advocacy as it relates to early childhood.
We collaborate with East Shore District Health Department and BECC's Executive Director is on the MIECV Advisory Board.
We partnered with Clifford Beers for a Film Screening of the documentary Resilience and Community Conversation.
We are active in the South Central Network of Care as part of the Shoreline Collaborative meetings.
We are members of the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce for networking opportunities. 
We are working at Women and Family Life Center in Guilford as a location for Food Allergy Friends.
The Executive Director of BECC is a standing member of the Branford School Readiness Committee. 
We partnered with Read to Grow for Week of the Young Child 2019.  
We work with the libraries, Blackstone Memorial Library and Willoughby Wallace Library, on our community literacy programs and Preschool Fair. 
We partner with East Shore Regional Adult Education (ERACE) on initiatives. 
We partner with Trinity Episcopal Church and Shoreline Community Church on goodwill activities. 
We partnered with CT Office of Early Childhood to show the documentary Resilience. 
We are a part of The Children's Collective an organization of state-wide community collaboratives. 
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Grade Level Reading Participant RecognitionNational Civic League's All-America City2012
Comments
CEO Comments

The opportunities in the changes that the board and leadership of BECC are working to implement are significant. Most recent is the creation of an alliance to more effectively manage the fiscal administration needs of BECC. A partnership with the CT After School Network will create space for BECC’s executive director to focus on impact, board development, fundraising, and growth of the organization, while the Network manages the finances and a portion of the administrative needs of BECC.

As a small organization poised for growth, we continue to struggle with having the resources to formalize communications and fundraising plans. We are acutely aware that it takes a strong management team and board leadership to move a small organization, in its infancy, into the next stage. 
Board Chair
Ms. Alice-Anne Harwood Sherrill
Company Affiliation Harwood Development Design
Term Sept 2016 to Sept 2021
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Attny Andrew CampbellCampbell Law Firm
Mrs. Sarah CohenParent Representative
Mrs. Catherine S. JacksonNew Haven Adult Education Center
Ms. Martha LoscheMurphy & Co. CPA's
Mrs. Diane PappacodaBranford Early Learning Center
Mrs. Judith SpaarBranford Public Schools
Mrs. Alison TyliszczakNurturing Families -East Shore District Health Department
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 8
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 7
Unspecified 0
Board Co-Chair
Mrs. Sarah Cohen
Term June 2016 to Sept 2021
Email Sarah.cohen93@gmail.com
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Finance
Program / Program Planning
Community Outreach / Community Relations
CEO Comments
This past year, the BECC has undergone a pretty significant board changes due to an increased realization that a working board would be critical for long-term success. Our long-standing board chair is in the process of moving out of state and stepped aside for new leadership. Another one of our board members has developed a serious medical condition that no longer allows her to participate. Our treasurer officially designated her employee to be considered as a full-time member going forward, as she has been the proxy at meetings anyway. And several other board members are moving in other directions personally and professionally and have stepped down. Fortunately, in this downsizing, we now have an 8 person board who are all fully engaged as donors and participants in our work. This is a refreshing change and much more manageable for our small organization. We look forward to growing our board when appropriate with dedicated members who are full participants in the work we do. It's important to recognize that we benefit most, because of our small staff when board members are a critical part of the programs and fundraising. 
 
Our new co-chairs, Alice-Anne Harwood Sherrill and Sarah Cohen are knowledgeable about what a successful board of directors must do. They have the experience we need with fundraising and development from corporations, foundations, and private donors, which the organization needs.   They are focused on growing capacity and long-term stability. Together we are making incremental steps putting a plan in action to manage and grow what we need to be successful. The co-chairs are fully supportive of the Executive Director, yet comfortable calling attention to areas that need more -or less - resources devoted, with an eye toward efficiency. With their guidance, beginning in 2020 we are shifting our bookkeeping, which has been time-intensive for the ED, to an outside service. This developing relationship with our bookkeeping partner is a great fit and strategic for the future of the organization. 
 
We have made some other significant and positive changes this year to streamline communications. We developed a critical new board expectation document and shifted some board duties around to become more time-sensitive to the members. We also created a cloud sharing board folder to encourage more participation between meetings. Finally with our committee's we have rolled out strategy worksheets and workplan templates to standardize work flow. 
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2019
Fiscal Year End June 30 2020
Projected Revenue $45,000.00
Projected Expenses $40,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
Other Documents
Other Documents 3
NameYear
Talking Early Childhood Poster2019View
One Book One Town2019View
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201920182017
Total Assets$26,202$7,204--
Current Assets$26,202$7,204--
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$249----
Total Net Assets$25,952$7,204--
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201920182017
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Community Foundation for Greater New Haven $25,000
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --GMF State Funds $16,228
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Branford Community Foundation $5,000
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Comments
CEO Comments
We are in a holding pattern until we receive confirmation on additional grants. We continue to explore our options, diversify our streams and look for partnerships whenever possible. As many of the community collaboratives have done, some programs can be folded into our community partners and for that we are very fortunate. We are also very experienced at being patient, making adjustments, a dedicated staff and board, and very low overhead costs. 
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. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. 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 P.O. Box 1032
Branford, CT 06405
Primary Phone 203 415-5237
Contact Email branford.becc@gmail.com
CEO/Executive Director Ms Robin Elaine Comey
Board Chair Ms. Alice-Anne Harwood Sherrill
Board Chair Company Affiliation Harwood Development Design

 

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