Politics aside, Democrat Joe Kaliko and Republican state Rep. Fred Camillo are forging ahead with a plan to help pair local nonprofit organizations with businesses and individuals who want to give back to the community.
The men have teamed up to develop a “Needs Clearing House” (NCH) that helps nonprofits find funding for projects that would require extensive fundraising efforts from individuals and institutions who aren't aware of the financing needs in the community.
The idea to create a funding clearinghouse was spawned by the pair's work to obtain whose members must pay for training. The cost is reimbursed by the town upon successful completion of the course but some young members don't have $1,500 to pay for the tuition.
Last month, Greenwich Bank & Trust agreed to provide the tuition line of credit after being approached by Camillo. And the owners of Greenwich Pharmacy offered to underwrite the cost of a music therapy program for Alzheimer's and dementia patients at the town-owned Nathaniel Witherell nursing home, after Kaliko told them about the program's demise because of lost funding.
Camillo said, "We discovered there are other organizations that have funds available for nonprofits. We need to figure out who needs what; what’s available, who’s offering funds." He added, "I think it's a question of having one place for people to go."
Camillo added, "There's a lot of need out there ... many groups are resigned to the fact that there's not a lot of money. But I'm sure we can get a few institutions to help."
Hence the Needs Clearing House was born—an informal network of satisfying the needs of local agencies with private donations. Kaliko and Camillo have worked together for years with the fire patrol—Kaliko is a former president of the group and now a board member, and Camillo is an associate fire patrol member.
Kaliko explained, "It’s a free service. The service is to counsel the needy organization, to give them some thoughts on how to attract the money they need." He continued," We’ve been successful—successful with the fire vehicle, the credit line needs, the nursing home." A few years back, Kaliko helped organize the effort to raise $100,000 in donations to pay for a Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol utility truck.
"I thinking the clearing house is good for undertaking projects up to $100,000," Kaliko said. "I’m happy to donate my time to help the nonprofit charitable organizations to focus on project-oriented goals, not the day-to-day operations."
Kaliko says that he and Camillo plan to work with Greenwich Community Gardens which last week unveiled plans to establish a community garden at the Montgomery Pinetum in Cos Cob. The group is seeking town approvals for the project they estimated will cost about $75,000 to get off the ground.
"That's a perfect project," Camillo said. "Some of those gardens will be used by groups who will grow produce and give food back to charity (the Neighbor to Neighbor food pantry). It's a circle of giving and we want to help level the playing field."
Kaliko said local nonprofits or those who want to make donations may contact him at 203-629-5555 or at Jjk827@aol.com.