Patrick McKenna '02 has a deep connection for his hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut. He grew up knowing about many of the local Brass City non-profit organizations and the great work that they did including the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury and the Mattatuck Museum. Today, Patrick is in a position to help many of these organizations as the Organizational Development Coordinator for Connecticut Community Foundation.
Established in 1923, Connecticut Community Foundation was created by and for the people of Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. While serving this 21-town region, the Foundation provides leadership in addressing the community's critical issues, strengthens local nonprofit organizations through grants and technical assistance programs, and works with individuals, families and corporations to steward charitable and scholarship funds.
"I focus on the organization's capacity building initiatives," said Patrick. "We connect local volunteers, adept in communication plans and fundraising plans, with local nonprofits that are looking to work on a specific issue. Nonprofits can also have access to 40,000 professionals through a portal, funded by the Connecticut Community Foundation."
Patrick spends a good part of his time venturing out and speaking with different organizations. "We try not to be too hands-on," he said. "We don't want to tell organizations how to run their businesses. We want to connect them with the proper resources so that they can reach their goals."
Patrick, a University of Connecticut graduate, has mostly worked in the nonprofit sector since 2009. For a brief period, he worked for an insurance company in Boston. During that time, he realized he wanted to do work that focused on the betterment of his hometown community. An opportunity to collaborate with Connecticut Community Foundation presented itself. The rest is history.
"For me, working in Waterbury, surrounded by the great organizations that I utilized, was a great job," he said. "I have a passion for this city. I recognize that all cities have their challenges. However, everyone needs to be kind and supportive. The organizations in this city are amazing. This is my hometown, and I love it."