Giving Back During the Season of Giving
Over the last few years, we began redirecting our “holiday card” resources at Hobson & Motzer. In the spirit of the season, we decided the impact would go further to funnel the resources we used to allot towards printing and sending holiday cards into charitable causes. So, each year we search for local charities that are making a difference by acting in service to others. It’s just a small way for us to help charities that quietly go about their work in the community to improve people’s lives, while also uplifting the community as a whole.The response from customers, suppliers and colleagues alike has been overwhelmingly positive, such that it's now an annual tradition. We send an email greeting to people on our holiday card list, just to let them know who got their "card" this year, and often receive feedback from some who are familiar with, or have a connection to, a certain charity. Read ahead to learn a little more about this year's dedicated and deserving organization.
Investing in Individuals and Futures
This year, we are thrilled to be donating to Futures Inc., which has enterprises in various locations across Connecticut, with executive offices in West Hartford and Middletown. Futures Inc. “advocates equality for individuals with disabilities by advancing personalized opportunities so each person can live a life within our community.” Futures is an extraordinary operation, providing professional, aspirational guidance for people to realize their career passions and also build upon skillsets. One of the questions they ask each of their “consumers” or students is: “What is your passion?” The answers vary, and are always optimistic—everything from making a barbeque sauce for retail and wholesale distribution to manage a gift shop, to prepare excellent cuisine in a commercial kitchen, or having art displayed for sale in Futures' art gallery, and so much more.
Futures has been a Connecticut 501(c)3 non-profit organization for over 32 years, is proud of its 95 percent graduation rate, and has impacted over 500 lives, not to mention the ripple effect that immersion experiences within the community have for Futures graduates, as well as the community at large. Pamela DonAroma, founder/president/CEO of Futures points out that Futures’ programs are “100 percent community based.”
Non-Profit Social Enterprise and Community Integration
She further explains, “Above all, we feel it is important to keep people in their community—and to value them, regardless of their disability. Every program we have maintains the vision of integrating people within their own community. We support a fairly wide range of people with varying levels of disability. Our work is innovative and creative and geared towards giving them a purpose—of their choosing—to have a meaningful life. They deserve to feel the same self-satisfaction that everyone else experiences after a productive day at work. This is the inspiration for creating the first community-based school and non-profit social enterprise for people with disabilities in Connecticut.”
The Kitchen at Futures, Inc., based in Middletown, operates a commercial kitchen, cafe, grab-and-go, and hot dog cart, and also provides catering and food sold at farmers’ markets. They offer customized culinary training and employment (all social enterprise employment is at competitive wages) to individuals with disabilities. With six professional chefs on staff, and all employees (many of whom are graduates from the school program) passing “Safe Serve” certifications among the other training they receive onsite, they serve delicious food that meets the same high standards you would expect at any professional dining establishment. Good Cause Gifts, with three locations and online shopping available, is an award-winning gift and clothing store. As a non-profit social enterprise, 100 percent of purchases made (through the kitchen or store) go directly back into supporting Futures’ mission. Every purchase, large or small, truly matters and makes a difference. Futures also assists individuals launch their own micro-enterprise, helping them live and work their passion. Some of their touching journeys can be found here.
Empowering People for Full Lives
It’s a simple enough philosophy: “Empower each individual to live life to their fullest and know the satisfaction of personal achievement.” It covers an impressive breadth of possibility for Futures—and its participants:
- Two social enterprises
- Accredited school
- Art Center
- Adult services
- Transitional planning
- Career training and placement
- Independent living
- Recreational activities
- Community involvement
DonAroma tells us, “We make the most of the state funds and grants that we can, and we also rely—with gratitude—on donations that we receive from businesses and individuals. We are very thankful to Hobson & Motzer for their generosity. We get to see it in action through the twinkle in someone’s eye who gets to live and work their dream or learn a new skill, or really feel like a valued, productive member of the community.”
If this has made you as excited to learn more about Futures as we were, take a look at their website. If you are inspired to help them break barriers, one individual, one future at a time, we encourage you to do just that!