Tremont Street property new use perpetuates legacy of help to people in need

Two Connecticut nonprofit organizations recently achieved a mutual step forward in the effort to help state residents in need.

Wallingford-based Capital for Change Inc. recently transferred ownership of its former office structure at 121 Tremont Street to Hartford-based Futures Inc., which will use the site to expand its services to students at risk and/or receiving special education services.

The Tremont Street building is connected to a 1960s-era challenge to community-wide housing inequities. Officials for both organizations said the new use perpetuates that legacy of help to people in need.

“The purchase of this building is very timely,” said Pamela DonAroma, president and CEO of Futures Inc. “One of our priorities is to address the educational gap that has occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.

“We've worked in Hartford for 30 years but this is the first building that we will own in Hartford,” DonAroma said. The new Tremont Street site is expected to be ready for operations in early July.

The organization was launched in 1990 as an innovative project within the University of Connecticut's Center for Excellence to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. With corporate offices in West Hartford, Futures Inc. maintains a school in West Hartford and service locations in Norwich, Middletown, Berlin and New Britain.

The organization's capacity to offer tutoring services and individualized small-group instruction is expected to double as a result of the space available at the Tremont Street site even as social-distancing protocols are observed, DonAroma said. The organization also supports individuals with more significant disabilities in launching micro-enterprises.

“We definitely can increase the number of individuals with whom we're working,” DonAroma said. “This really solidifies our commitment to the work we do with the population of students we've been working with for many years, and gives us a very strong presence in Hartford.”

The Tremont Street building's history is connected to a 1960s grass-roots movement among Hartford residents who created a pool of funds to challenge longstanding housing inequities in the community.

In 1963, the former residence became the office of the Robert Littleton Companies, forerunner of the Connecticut Housing Investment Fund (CHIF) that formed in 1967. The organization rented the property until it took ownership in 1979.

In 2016, CHIF merged with the Community Capital Fund and the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund to create Capital for Change Inc., which continued to use the building as its central office until 2019. In that year, Capital for Change moved to a central office at 10 Alexander Drive in Wallingford, combining the three former organizations under one roof.

“It's great to know our former Tremont Street home will continue to be used in ways that help people in need in Hartford,” said Calvin B. Vinal, president and CEO of Capital for Change. “We're always pleased to see our mission have a ripple effect elsewhere through our partnerships with other organizations. This is a real win-win for the community."

Futures Inc. provides services to people with disabilities, including employment at its social enterprises, educational support, mentoring, transition planning, job training and placement, community volunteerism, independent living and recreation.

More information about Futures Inc. is available online at futures-ct.org. Questions may be directed to DonAroma at pdonaroma@futures-ct.org. 

Capital for Change's mission is to provide flexible, creative and responsive financial products and services to benefit low- and moderate-income persons, and minority and otherwise underserved individuals, businesses and communities. Its programs and products broaden access to affordable housing, energy efficiency and job opportunities.

Additional information about Capital for Change is available online at CapitalForChange.org and the organization's Facebook page, “Capital for Change, Inc.”

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