Birmingham Foundation Fund

Established in 2005 by Birmingham Group Health Services, now known as BHcare.

In the formative years of the Valley Community Foundation (VCF), the Foundation launched an endowment challenge to help local nonprofits start a fund. This program allowed nonprofits to set a fundraising goal, which was matched by VCF funds to create endowed funds designated for that organization. Birmingham Group Health Services, now known as BHcare, was among the five organizations accepted into the program.

"BHcare chose to participate in the grant challenge in 2005 to build an endowment that would provide an additional source of funding for our programs such as the Umbrella Program and The Alliance for Prevention and Wellness," says BHcare Chief Financial Officer Lorraine Branecky.

Originally established as the Birmingham Group Health Services, Inc. Fund, the organization set a fundraising goal of $30,000, which was met in September 2006 through a number of donations. In 2012, the fund agreement was amended to change the name to the Birmingham Foundation Fund.

BHcare provides services that address behavioral health, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol addiction to individuals and their families both in the Valley and along the shoreline. BHcare is the result of a 2012 merger between Birmingham Group Health Services in Ansonia and Harbor Health Services in Branford. Last year, BHcare provided services for more than 17,000 people according to giveGreater.orgĀ® and with the addition of the Parent Child Resource Center in 2016, BHcare now provides services for more than 1,200 children.

Despite BHcare's major impact in both the Valley and Shoreline communities, the organization continues to experience major budget cuts. As funding is reduced, so too does the number of clients the organization can serve. Diversifying a nonprofit's revenue source is critical to softening the impact of federal and state budget cuts.

"BHcare relies heavily on funding from state agencies," Branecky says. "The State of Connecticut is in a fiscal crisis, so endowment funds are more critical now than ever before. We continue to invest in the endowment and hope that others will as well. Partnering with VCF for our endowment provides our donors with the flexibility of making more complete gifts to help secure funding for our programs. As our endowment's balance increases, it can provide a larger stream of funding that may offset additional budget cuts in the future."