Western Connecticut leaders Barbara Ajello and Gail Seymour during the 2016 environment session led by the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy. Photo by Rich Pomerantz.
Western Connecticut Leadership (WCL), a program of Connecticut Community Foundation, has provided seasoned leaders, former professionals and those seeking a deeper connection to their communities with opportunities to learn more about the Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills region, engage locally to make positive changes, and connect with like-minded peers.
Through full-day learning sessions at diverse venues throughout the region, participants have enjoyed behind-the-scenes site visits and off-the-record conversations with knowledgeable experts from Connecticut’s nonprofit and public sectors. WCL has aimed to “match need with know-how” by inspiring and informing participants to get involved after completing the program with local nonprofit organizations in need of their time, wisdom and talents ― as hands-on volunteers or as board members. Since 2014, over 120 people have completed the program.
In its fifth year, the Foundation is now taking the important step of conducting an evaluation of WCL. As a learning organization, we believe it is essential to take stock of the program and be open to changes we can make to ensure that it is effective, is aligned with our mission and is meeting needs in the region we serve. We are working with TDC, a Boston-based nonprofit consulting group, which is conducting research and speaking with alumni, WCL leadership, program volunteers and Foundation staff in order to provide a clearer picture of the program’s impact in the community and the experiences of WCL participants. We look forward to sharing the results of TDC’s evaluation and the Foundation’s next steps with you in 2019.
In order to allow us to absorb the evaluation report and consider potential adjustments and improvements, the Foundation has decided to pause the WCL program, meaning we will not be holding the nine-day program in the fall of 2019.
Importantly, during this time, graduates of the program will continue learning during ongoing alumni events, which include numerous social-cultural and educational experiences.