Community Centers, Inc. was founded in 1955, after a forerunner agency of the United Way (Community Chest) issued a report recommending that the then three community centers supported by it be placed under one administration.
The purpose of this new Agency was clearly articulated in that document, “…to assure to each resident in Greenwich an opportunity to participate in educational and recreational activities and to receive counseling on the basis of his particular needs and interests.” Since a host of social service agencies provided such opportunities to a large portion of Greenwich people, CCI could concentrate on those who have special difficulty in securing and making use of those opportunities.
In January of 1956 Articles of Incorporation and a Constitution were drawn up. It stated that in addition to its responsibility to the three community centers, CCI was to be prepared to undertake any program, for which there was a demonstrated need, that fell within its framework.
THE FIRST 50 YEARS
In 2005, Community Centers, Inc. of Greenwich celebrated its 50th anniversary.
1953. A committee, appointed by the Community Chest and Council (forerunner of The United Way), issued a report, recommending that the three community centers, then supported by the Community Chest, be coordinated under one administration.
1955. The Articles of Incorporation and the Constitution were drawn up and the recommendation was ready to be implemented. On paper it was workable; in reality it was not. Each center involved want to maintain its own identity and autonomy.
1957. The committee of the Community Chest and Council abandoned the original concept, went back to the drawing board and restructured the Board of Directors. In addition to the responsibility for the three community centers, CCI was to be prepared to undertake any program for the Town of Greenwich, for which there was a demonstrated need.
1958. The Old Greenwich Riverside Community Center separated from CCI. CCI declined housing Crispus Attuck at the Hamilton Avenue building due to racial tension.
1959. The Crispus Attucks building was closed and its programs were transferred to the schools. The CCI office moved to one room in the Merry-Go-Round building.
1960. CCI actively sought a new location for Crispus Attucks.
1961. The committee finally located a new site for Crispus Attucks. The Community Chest again supported CCI in this venture and allotted money to make the necessary renovations. CCI was notified by Mrs. Rockefeller that she needed the office space CCI was using. A larger apartment on Greenwich Avenue was located.
1962. The YMCA asked us to relocate the Teenage Canteen. The Community Chest was supportive and formed a search committee for new space.
1963. The Horseneck Tavern was obtained. The Round Hill Originals & Junior League joined the Community Chest in making the relocation possible. The new center was dedicated on October 6, 1963.
1968. The Banksville Community House became an independent entity.
1973. The lease on CCI’s building ran out. United Methodist Church came to the rescue and made its vacated parsonage available for a modest rent.
1979. A fire gutted CCI’s building. Crispus Attucks came to the rescue and offered CCI office space. The “drop-in” program had to be suspended.
1980. One year and a $25,000 grant from Community Development got CCI back on its feet.
1981. CCI started its search for a new and less expensive facility.
1986. Crispus Attucks facility was closed and the program moved to the central location.
1987. The Board made its 1st attempt at a town-wide fundraiser when the Boys Choir of Harlem sang to a packed house at the high school. CCI had a “Back to the Canteen” reunion.
1990. CCI’s first Golf Challenge was held. Ivan Lendl sponsored this event. CCI joined with the Family Center and the Housing Authority to develop the Family Action Program.
1994. The US Dept of Justice was called in by CCI after a racially biased incident to set up a mediation workshop with CCI clients and representatives from the Police Dept.
1997. CCI was the recipient of the proceeds of the Pro Am Golf Tournament. This made it possible for CCI to purchase a new van.
2003. “Festive Giving” fundraising event was born. Its proceeds helped put CCI on a secure financial footing. This has become an annual event.
2005. 50th Anniversary