NEW HAVEN, CT— Columbus House awarded the John S. Martinez Community Service Award to Liberty Bank Foundation at the nonprofit’s annual meeting Dec. 7 at the New Haven Lawn Club. Since 2004 the award has been given annually in recognition of those who have exemplified community leadership and outstanding support for Columbus House programs.
In announcing the award, Alison Cunningham, chief executive officer, Columbus House, said, “We rely on this vital partnership with Liberty Bank Foundation. Without [your] support and that of your associates, we would not be able to reach so many who are in such desperate need.”
Liberty Bank President and CEO Chandler J. Howard accepted the award on behalf of Liberty Bank Foundation. He commended Columbus House as a statewide leader in the fight to end homelessness and remarked on how much the relationship has allowed Liberty Bank Foundation to boost its impact. “Earlier this year, the state announced great strides in ending homelessness,” he said. “We take great pride in our part of this accomplishment. But, Columbus House, we know our contributions were greatly magnified by our working together.”
Columbus House noted the many ways Liberty Bank Foundation has supported its efforts, through funding, donation of furniture and gift cards, volunteerism, and hosting of a cookout for homeless veterans. “Liberty Bank Foundation also helped open doors and made introductions as we entered new geographic territories,” said Cunningham.
Columbus House chooses awardees based on a variety of factors, including the length of relationships, community participation and volunteerism, financial support, advocacy, and a commitment to effecting positive change in communities and throughout the state. Also honored with the John S. Martinez Community Service award at the same event were Stephen Peterson and North Guilford Congregational Church.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded over $10.7 million in grants to nonprofit organizations within Liberty Bank’s market area since its inception. The foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for people of low or moderate income by investing in three areas: education to promote economic success for children and families; affordable housing; and basic human needs, such as food and shelter. Along with its grantmaking, the foundation strives to foster the convening and collaboration of nonprofits, funders, business, and government to address community issues.
The late John S. Martinez was a state representative and former Columbus House counselor and board member. During his time on the Columbus House board of directors he was instrumental in helping the agency obtain state bond funding for its Boulevard property. John was widely regarded as the voice of the underprivileged.
Columbus House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been providing solutions to homelessness since 1982. Throughout the years, Columbus House has expanded its mission and programs to include not only emergency shelter but a continuum of housing and services designed to help people who are homeless move toward independence. The agency's primary goal is to provide housing either through its own programs or through referrals throughout Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, and New London counties to service-enriched or independent housing.