GoodWorks and CEMA Help Operation Fuel Keep Connecticut Families Warm This Winter

BrendaWatsonandPaulBrianCheckPresentation3December 20, 2017–Operation Fuel recently received a $5,000 donation, with potentially up to another $10,000 or more to come, as a result of a partnership among GoodWorks Insurance, the Arbella Insurance Foundation, and the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association (CEMA).

The funds will be used to help lower-income Connecticut families stay warm this winter.

GoodWorks Insurance donated $2,500 and is adding a $2,500 matching grant from Arbella. GoodWorks also will match up to $5,000 in donations from CEMA’s members, so the total could exceed $15,000 by next April.

“Operation Fuel does wonderful work throughout Connecticut, where one in five residents has a hard time paying for energy. We’re glad to join with CEMA and Arbella to support them,” said GoodWorks Insurance President Paul Brian.

“CEMA is proud to join GoodWorks, Arbella and home heating oil dealers across Connecticut to contribute to Operation Fuel’s mission to give people in need access to energy assistance,” said CEMA President Chris Herb.

“The generous support from GoodWorks, Arbella and CEMA members shows that we are all in this together. Without the support of the community, we could not do what we do,” said Brenda Watson, acting director of Operation Fuel.

Headquartered in Glastonbury, Conn., GoodWorks Insurance has other offices in New Milford, Avon and Columbia, Connecticut; in Western Massachusetts; and in Walnut Creek, California. It offers home, auto and business insurance, surety bonds and group health insurance.

One of America’s fastest-growing insurance agencies, GoodWorks donates 50 percent of its operating profit to local charities. Its mission of “Purpose Beyond Profit” is fulfilled through GoodWorks Community Grants and strategic partnerships with leading nonprofit groups.  More information is on the web at and

CEMA, based in Cromwell, Conn., consists of 585 Connecticut home heating oil dealers and gasoline distributors. It works to support and protect the hundreds of thousands of consumers its members serve in Connecticut. For more information, visit

Operation Fuel, which is based in Hartford, is a statewide nonprofit organization that provides emergency energy assistance year-round to lower-income working families and individuals, the elderly, and disabled individuals who are in financial crisis.  For more information on Operation Fuel, or to make a donation, visit  For energy assistance, call 211.

Since 2005, the Arbella Insurance Foundation has been committed to supporting local, nonprofit organizations that work hard to positively impact the lives of the people of New England.  More information is at

CHELSEA GROTON FOUNDATION Awards Over $170K in Grants to Area Organizations

2017_CGFoundationDonation.jpgThe Chelsea Groton Foundation awarded $171,247 in grants to 89 non-profit organizations from Connecticut and Rhode Island this fall. This dollar amount marks the greatest total awarded to area organizations in a single giving cycle since the Chelsea Groton Foundation was founded. Inclusive of these donations, the Foundation has provided over $2.6 million in total grants to the community since 1999. The Foundation reviews applications and awards grants two times per year.

Chelsea Groton Bank’s gift of a $5 million endowment to the Chelsea Groton Foundation in December 2016 enabled the Foundation to provide a greater level of financial support to organizations that impact our region in the areas of health, human and social services; education; economic development; and arts and culture.

“As a community bank, one of our most important responsibilities is to help improve the overall quality of life in the region,” said Michael Rauh, President and CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank. “Through the Foundation’s increased endowment, we have been able to support more non-profits than ever before, at a time when they are in great need of our help. These organizations work tirelessly to provide education, alleviate hunger and homelessness, improve healthcare, support economic growth, deliver arts and cultural experiences, and more. We are so grateful for the work they do, and to be able to support them with grants from the Chelsea Groton Foundation.”

Fall grant awards included: $1,000 to Children First Groton to buy books for one year of the “Prescription to Read” program; $2,500 to FRESH New London to fund summer stipends for 10 New London teenagers who will care for urban farming sites, public fruit trees and community gardens; $3,500 to H.O.P.E. Inc. to fund a nine-week series of free home repair workshops for low income first time homeowners; $5,000 to MALTA to purchase food, toiletries, clothing and to maintain the Transitional Living Center; $1,000 to Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters to help fund the Foster Grandparents Program in New London, Norwich and Willimantic; and $5,000 to St. Vincent de Paul Place in Norwich to purchase food and necessities for the “Served Meals” program.

Each year, Chelsea Groton Bank and the Chelsea Groton Foundation support more than 200 local organizations through monetary gifts, grants, sponsorships, scholarships and employee volunteerism. More information, including a list of all fall grant recipients, is available here.


American Eagle Financial Credit Union, With Help of Membership, Donates $5,000 to Community Renewal Team

DSC_0013.jpgIn honor of Veteran’s Day, American Eagle Financial Credit Union, with the help of its members, donated $5,000 to Community Renewal Team (CRT) of Hartford and Middlesex counties to help veterans in the local area. Members of American Eagle FCU were encouraged to use their debit cards on Veteran’s Day with $0.10 on every purchase made donated to CRT.

“On behalf of CRT’s Veteran Services, we are extremely grateful for the continued support of American Eagle Financial Credit Union, and this generous gift generated by their members,” says Christopher McCluskey, Vice President of Housing and Community Services for the Community Renewal Team. “These funds will go a long way in our efforts on behalf of veterans throughout Central Connecticut. It is because of these acts of kindness that we are able to maintain our programs throughout the year.”

Community Renewal Team (CRT) is a community action agency for Hartford and Middlesex counties. CRT connects people to resources, programs and services that resolve urgent needs, provide support for when individuals are the midst of a crisis and empower others to take steps to create their own opportunities. CRT has programs specifically for veterans; this includes Veterans Crossing, a transitional residence in East Hartford for male vets who are homeless. CRT’s Support Services for Veteran Families helps both male and female veterans and their families stabilize their housing, and avoid homelessness. Veterans can also find work through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.


pennachio.jpgGlastonbury’s jewelry scene will soon be a little different when Pennachio Jewelers changes owners. The news is probably something most customers never expected of the business which has served Glastonbury and its surrounding communities for nearly 10 years.  Tracey Pennachio and Ron Drost, owners of Pennachio Jewelers who also happen to be married to each other, said that although business has been very good, the timing was just right to sell. “Our ten year lease was ending which got us thinking about the future of our business but also its impact on our daily lives,” Drost said. “As you can imagine, running a business is a 24/7 job and it takes its toll on family.” Drost went on to say that it basically comes down to priorities. “Our oldest son is in college and our youngest, at age five, has special needs so selling the business now just fits our family’s needs and where we are in life.”

The search for a new owner has been an exhaustive one as both Ron and Tracey said they wouldn’t just sell to anyone. “We had many parties interested in purchasing our store but wanted to find the right person who would continue building on the foundations that we had worked so hard to put in place,” Drost said.  “We love our customers and employees and wanted this to be a seamless transition with as little impact on them as possible,” Pennachio added. They expect the new owner to continue offering the same high quality brands at everyday low prices with great customer service.

Selling the store is not without sadness though according to Pennachio.  “Jewelry has been a huge part of my life from age 19 and owning my own store has been extremely fulfilling and the pinnacle of my career. I am also very passionate when it comes to meeting customer needs. Watching them fall in love with that perfect piece of jewelry is certainly something I’ll miss.” Drost goes on to say, “we cannot fully express our deep gratitude to our customers, the community, and our dedicated staff for their business and support. It has been nothing but an absolute pleasure.”

Pennachio Jewelers has been very active in the community over the years giving time and financial contributions to area charities as well as community events. Most notably, for four years straight Pennachio Jewelers celebrated their store anniversary with a series of free treasure hunts sending willing participants on real time treasure hunts throughout the area in search of hidden jewelry.

Looking ahead to the next few weeks Pennachio said, “there will probably be a lot of memory sharing and maybe even a little crying but we want our customers to be excited about this change as well.” The transfer of ownership is tentatively scheduled for November 30.

Tracey and Ron are planning to move to the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area once they wrap up all of their business and personal commitments in Connecticut. “Having a special needs child with tons of energy makes for very long winters here in Connecticut,” Pennachio said. “We are looking forward to warmer weather and new adventures as both Ron and I love to travel and this will give us more freedom to do so.”

Pennachio Jewelers is located at 120 Hebron Avenue in Glastonbury CT.


Joint Commission GoldSeal_4color InterCommunity, Inc. announced it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Accreditation demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care.

InterCommunity underwent a rigorous onsite survey in late September. During the review, compliance with health care standards related to several areas, including care, treatment, and services; environment of care; leadership; and screening procedures for the early detection of imminent harm was evaluated. Onsite observations and interviews also were conducted.

Established in 1951, The Joint Commission’s accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.  The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.

“InterCommunity is pleased to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” states Kimberly Beauregard, President & CEO. “Staff from across the organization continue to work together to develop and implement approaches and strategies that have the potential to improve care for those in our community.”

The Joint Commission’s health care standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, quality improvement measurement experts, and individuals and their families. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.

InterCommunity, Inc. is a comprehensive non-profit health care organization dedicated to providing quality primary, mental health and addiction recovery services out of 17 locations in the Greater Hartford community.  For more information on InterCommunity, please visit

Alexis Kahn Joins Chelsea Groton Bank As Assistant Vice President, Business Banking Officer

Alexis Kahn.jpg Alexis Kahn joined Chelsea Groton Bank as Assistant Vice President, Business Banking Officer.  In this role, Alexis will be responsible for developing new business banking relationships and enhancing existing relationships as a subject matter expert for the suite of products and services the Bank offers business customers.

Most recently, Alexis worked for Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank in New York where she gained experience as a Corporate Banker and Relationship Manager, assisting clients with cash management and commercial banking products.

“Over the past five years, we’ve built a suite of sophisticated Cash Management products to accompany a great service model.  We’re very excited to have Alexis join our team. She will help introduce our extensive offering to more potential customers, and she will also work alongside current customers as their business needs evolve and grow,” said Alex Masse, VP, Business Banking at Chelsea Groton Bank.  “Alexis brings a high level of customer service and experience to our team and her personality is a great fit with our culture and our community.”

A dressage rider, Alexis has volunteered with Pegasus Therapeutic Riding in Fairfield County, as well as with Student Sponsor Partners in New York City, where she mentored a student through her four years of high school.

Alexis graduated from Georgetown University with a BA in Government and French and speaks fluent French.  She previously taught English in a primary school in France.  Alexis and her husband recently relocated to North Stonington, CT.

Donate Clothing to Help the Second Chance Shop Support Women in Need at The Village for Families & Children

1796080_740500099366621_1074448705765629156_o.jpgThe Second Chance Shop, and its charity partner J.Jill, are again teaming up to help women in need. Bring your donations of new or gently used clothing to J.Jill, Somerset Square, Glastonbury, from October 10 through October 22, to receive a coupon for 30% off a single full-priced item in-store at J.Jill. Items may also be donated at the Second Chance Shop, 730 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury; mention the event and you will receive a coupon. The Shop is a thrift boutique and is run entirely by volunteer Auxilians.
Donated items will be sold at the Second Chance Shop, and all sales proceeds benefit The Village for Families & Children.
For more than 200 years, The Village for Families & Children has been working to build a community of strong, healthy families who protect and nurture children. This mission is fulfilled by providing a continuum of behavioral health treatment and support services for children and adults – including support services for new moms, financial literacy classes, outpatient mental health therapy, substance abuse treatment, and foster care and adoption – which help them achieve real and meaningful change in their lives. For more information, visit