Grant from FCCF helps Burroughs Community Center

From its days as a home for single working women at turn of the 20th century to its current role as one of the Northeast’s leading nonprofit centers, the name “Burroughs” has been synonymous with providing opportunities to the residents of Bridgeport’s West End and Black Rock sections. Thanks to a generous $5,000 grant from the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, the more than 40,000 individuals and families who pass through the front doors of Burroughs Community Center on an annual basis will continue to receive the educational, recreational, social and economic tools needed to lead successful lives.

“One of the great things about Burroughs is that the vast majority of our programming is of no cost to the end user,” said Burroughs Director Paul Farina. “And if there is a nominal fee associated with a program that someone can’t afford to pay, we’ll simply waive the fee. Without the generosity of organizations like the (Fairfield County’s Community) Foundation, there’s no way that would be possible.”

The Burroughs Community Center’s targets an adult demographic and offers a vast array of programs and services. Offerings include VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), the Quick Start Language Center, a Computer Center, a Community Garden and assorted personal enrichment lectures and classes.

Running from January through April, the VITA program offers free income tax preparation and e-filing to low income individuals and households. Appointments are scheduled via telephone starting at the turn of the calendar year.

During the recently concluded 2014 tax season, the Burroughs Community Center prepared close to 400 tax returns. These returns resulted in more than $300,000 worth of refunds.

“VITA is an amazing program. Through the dedicated efforts of our volunteers, we’re literally able to help put money back in the wallets of our community members.” Farina said. “There aren’t many situations in life where you can witness such a direct and powerful impact on a family’s life. It affords me and everyone involved with the program a tremendous amount of satisfaction.”

Highlights of other Burroughs offerings include:

Quick Start Language Center: Provides language tutoring and instruction to individuals and small groups. Allows participants to supplement their tutoring experience with the use of Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur language software. Approximately 300 community members use the QSLC annually.

Computer Center: Provides one-on-one computer tutoring to individuals and small groups. Formal classes are offered as well with an emphasis placed on skills and tasks associated with an employment search (Resume writing, internet job searches, etc.). Approximately 400 people use the Computer Center annually.

Community Garden: Provides 20 garden plots to community members and organizations allowing the opportunity to grow fresh fruits and vegetables. Many of the individuals who cultivate a plot would not otherwise have the means or resources. Organizations, including Burroughs, donate their harvest to local food banks. Nutrition lectures and healthy cooking classes are also provided.

To learn more about any Burroughs programs or for general inquiries, call the Burroughs Community Center at 203-334-0293.

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds and contribute to existing funds. The Foundation provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues. It is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards for community foundations. The Foundation has awarded over $151 million grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. For more information, visit www.fccfoundation.org

About Burroughs Community Center

Burroughs Community Center (BCC) is a charitable, not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide the residents of Bridgeport with program opportunities and facility resources for the purpose of building community cohesiveness and promoting individual growth. The Center is also home to numerous mission-driven, non-profit agencies, including the Bridgeport American Youth Soccer Organization, Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of Southwestern Connecticut, the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, Safe Neighborhood AmeriCorps, Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, The Witness Project, Public Allies Connecticut, the Center for Children’s Advocacy and the Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership-organizations that advocate for and serve the needs of families in Bridgeport and beyond. The BCC also provide space and support to over 70 non-profits and community groups. For more information, visit www.burroughscc.org

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