Annual Report 2020-2021

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SPARK! COMMUNITY CENTER
 Annual Report July 2020- June 2021

The 2020-2021 year was full of challenges for everyone in our community. Spark! participants, our leadership team, and staff did an amazing job at holding our community in its hands. In a time when social connections have been key due to state restrictions and shutdowns/shut-ins, Spark! has been able to bring our community back together. Here is what has happened:

Programming: Programming has changed but our community is still connected. Spark!’s year started off well with all our programming going virtual through the Zoom platform to adapt to COVID-19 precautions when our Center shut down to in-person activities. Our Outreach Specialist, John Fenley and Activities Specialist, Merrie Hedges worked together hosting and teaching our daily classes. Their commitment made it possible to participate in two classes every weekday as well as transition to virtual Friday Fun nights. Overall, we felt this was a major success.

We held a virtual event with Dr. Temple Grandin in February. This popular event raised $1,300 in four days with 79 participants, some from across the world. What great exposure for Spark! Thank you to all who participated online, including CATV for hosting this event with us. 

As Executive Director, I was delighted to welcome about 40 new participants who were able to participate in Spark!’s virtual programming. Some were well outside of our usual Upper Valley and included CT, NY, ME, PA, FL,
and CO. I have been impressed with how much Spark! has grown in the past year. Going forward, we plan to keep virtual programming in place for anyone who cannot make it into the Center, while adding new in-person activities at the Center and more activities out in the community.

Administration: Our leadership team has also had some changes. We welcomed Bonnie Fields and Jane Clifford as new Board of Directors. Working together, we had a productive retreat this May.

We reorganized and updated our website and migrated to Google for Nonprofits to be more accessible and user friendly, as well as incorporate online donations through credit/debit cards. Thank you, Jason Lemieux, for your expertise. The staff, Board of Directors and our participants appreciate the completion of this overdue project. Spark! gives you one of our High-Five’s!

Our additional 2021 High-Five award winners are John Hamel, Dennis Jones, Sarah Hedges, Kate Enneper, and Patricia Enneper. Thank you all for your hard work this past year in helping our virtual world become a success.

Participants: Our participants have come through Covid-19 like champions. They have grown in number over the shut down and grown in community, connected in new ways but have remained connected to each other. Our fresh updated presence on Facebook and our website has generated a lot of new traffic, up by eighty-five percent in a year!!

Staff: As of spring, we were able to bring back our final employee Jenny Kobbs, Activities Specialist, to assist in the virtual programming classes. I am grateful to have my team back together again after a year apart. I am looking forward to working with them all to reopen this summer.

We have hired a new Program Coordinator, Kelly Burton, she will be at the Center when we reopen, starting on June 21, 2021. Welcome Kelly! We are so excited to have you join our Spark! Community Center’s team.

Fundraising Highlights:
– The annual Quilt Raffle has started, and the lucky winner will be drawn in December 2021. This is generously spearheaded by Madeline Boughter. Thank you, Madeline, Rita & Bill Tingle, and Colleen O’Neil, for all the
hard work every year to make this fundraiser a success! And thank you to Adelle Patch for donating this year’s quilt to our fundraiser/raffle sale.
– Our Winter fundraiser at the Lebanon Poker Room raised $12,500. Thank you to all who participated in this event!
– We have just participated in this year’s NH Gives event online. In 24-hours we raised $1,370. Thank you, generous online donors! We appreciate you!
– Spark! Community Center applied for seventy-nine grants from July 2020 through June 2021. Ranging from a few hundred dollars to ten thousand dollars. We have heard back from about forty percent of them with either
approval or denial.

In 2020, Spark! received $66,900 in Covid-relief funding. In 2021, Spark! received a 2nd PPP forgivable Loan of $7,895. Spark! Community Center’s fiscal year net is almost $6,000 (see graph on
next page).

Reopening in Person! We are keeping all the great changes in place and adding back in our in-person time as well. Our new Center will still be the welcoming place it has always been to anyone in our community. Please stop by and check it out! We will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. As we
head into our new fiscal year, I am filled with deep gratitude that we are prepared to relaunch in person programming while continuing with virtual programming.

In closing, I am so grateful for all the opportunities we have found during this year to proudly work together to create a community where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can live their best lives safely and
happily. I look forward to continuing our work together.

With deepest gratitude,
Melissa Valcourt, MLSD
Executive Director