In the News: TEEG auction raises $40,000 for community service programs

February 9, 2015

TEEG auction raises $40,000 for community service programs

By Denise Coffey Reminder News

When auctioneer Kevin Gaudreau was a little late to the “Have A Heart Auction” at the Raceway Restaurant on Feb. 6, Gene Michael Deary stepped in for him. He started the live auction portion of the Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group fundraiser with an Tom Brady autographed photograph. It didn’t take long before Deary sealed the deal and brought in $380 to TEEG coffers.

That scenario is an example of why TEEG has been so successful for 27 years. The social service agency is adept at developing partnerships within the community it serves. That community includes residents in Thompson, Pomfret, Woodstock and Putnam. But it doesn’t stop there. For emergency food or referral services, TEEG has stepped up to the plate and delivered when and where a need has presented itself. The community has responded in kind.

Deary is the chair of the Brooklyn Board of Finance. While TEEG doesn’t specifically serve residents in his town, it does work with social service agencies to ensure people get the help they need wherever they live. When a client needed help paying for repairs to a furnace, a TEEG case manager contacted the Salvation Army and the Access Agency in Danielson. Access contacted Connecticut Light and Power. Between them, they found a way to fund the necessary repairs.

Executive Director Donna Grant said TEEG is able to provide as many programs as they do because of their ability to leverage donations and affiliations. “It’s the heart of what we do,” Grant said. By working in tandem with area agencies that provide similar services, and by using donations to match grant funds available, TEEG’s outreach, and the help they provide to the community, has grown.

According to their 2013-2014 annual report, $1,007,888 in revenue came in to TEEG coffers. That included $266,375 in municipal, state and federal money, much of which required matching funds from TEEG. That money went to fund a variety of food, community, family and youth service programs.

TEEG offers preschool programs, adolescent mentoring, VITA income tax preparation, Gamblers Anonymous and anger management programs. It offers food and fuel assistance help, back-to-school backpacks and holiday food baskets. It sponsors nutritional and parent education sessions. And while most of the programs are geared to residents in Connecticut’s four most northeastern towns, TEEG also assists residents throughout the state.

The auction highlighted an estimated $38,000 worth of goods donated by businesses, organizations, foundations and individuals. Auction lots in 18 different categories included 210 items ranging in value from $20 to $2,000. Red Sox tickets, gym memberships, artwork, golf rounds, restaurant passes, theater tickets, museum passes, garden supplies, estate planning services and jewelry were donated. Donations came in from as far away as Boston, Providence and New York City.

TEEG Community Liaison Chelsea Valade started online research in July. “TEEG fits so many philanthropic guidelines with the services we provide,” she said. She found a bevy of potential donors, contacted them, and donations started rolling in.

TEEG raised more than $46,000 dollars through the auction. “It’s our 15th year of doing better every year,” Grant said. She expects their net profit to be more than $40,000. That money will be used to secure more grant funds and provide more services. “It’s critically important to the work we do,” she said.

Citizens National Bank outbid all others to be TEEG’s ambassador for 2015. The reward: being listed on TEEG’s website as “giving from the heart.” “We’re thrilled,” Grant said. “They’ve chosen to partner with us again. They’ve maintained their commitment to the community.”

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