Low- to moderate-income companies, individuals targeted




NEW HAVEN — First Niagara Bank has pledged $7 million in loans and programming assistance to NAACP New Haven to support low- to moderate-income individuals and businesses in greater New Haven in the form of home-ownership assistance, small business/micro-loans, educational grants and administrative support.



The initiative was announced at a December 8 press conference at the NAACP New Haven headquarters on Whalley Avenue.



In order to make home ownership achievable for a greater number of individuals and families in greater New Haven, the NAACP and First Niagara have developed a home ownership assistance program that provides low- to moderate-income homebuyers up to $10,000 in down payment and closing-costs assistance. First Niagara is also establishing a special affordable home mortgage loan pool with special rates and more flexible underwriting for qualified homebuyers. 



To help New Haven-area small businesses, First Niagara, in conjunction with the New Haven branch NAACP, will establish both a targeted small-business loan pool and a microloan pool for companies that are either located in low- to moderate-income areas, or that create jobs for low- to moderate-income workers. Special focus will be placed on woman- and minority-owned businesses. Loans will be made from the small-business loan pool to a maximum of $150,000, Microloans will range from $1,000 to $25,000.



As part of First Niagara’s overall Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) commitment for the New Haven region, First Niagara has pledged a total of $6.85 million over five years in loans and down-payment assistance through this newly formed partnership with the NAACP. The specific lending parameters and eligibility requirements for each program are still under development but are slated to be implemented in the first quarter of 2012. The New Haven branch NAACP will serve as the referral agency for both the home-ownership assistance and small-business loan programs to ensure that applicants meet established criteria.



In addition to the above programs, First Niagara will make a grant to the NAACP in the amount of $150,000 over three years for administrative support. The bank has also pledged a total of $38,000 to the NAACP’s educational scholarship fund.


 The Connecticut Association of Nonprofits (CT Nonprofits), in partnership with the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), has released the second edition of The Connecticut Nonprofit Compensation Study. The document summarizes information submitted by 266 nonprofit companies on pay administration and the wages and salaries paid for 96 positions within the nonprofit sector.

The study debunks some myths about nonprofit compensation, especially regarding executive director pay, said CT Nonprofits COO Karen Maciorowski. In county-by-county comparisons, the study reveals salaries for executive directors statewide were reported as the lowest weighted average in Hartford County ($88,368) and highest in Litchfield County ($122,181).

The study also reveals that the economic climate is continuing to impact nonprofits statewide, with 76.5 percent of responding nonprofits not offering cost-of-living adjustments last year and 52.1 percent not planning to offer one this year to their employees.

Additionally, 57.9 percent of nonprofit respondents did not offer merit increases or bonuses in 2010 and about 30 percent not planning to offer them in 2011.

"It is important for nonprofits to have a guide against which to benchmark their own compensation practices," said Maciorowski. "This statewide snapshot is a great tool for helping nonprofits to outline how they determine and document compensation levels, in compliance with IRS regulations. In addition, nonprofits that have seen the need and value in utilizing market comparison studies and other resources to establish compensation levels for their key employees are in the best position to recruit and retain talented staff."

A copy of the report is available to CBIA and CT Nonprofits members for $100 and to nonmembers for $150. The report is available at CT Nonprofits (ctnonprofits.org/resources/publications, 860-525-5080) and CBIA (cbia.com, 860-244-1977).

 Does your company have a product, service or process that is new to Connecticut in the last five years and has reached the market? Then it may be eligible to apply for the 16th annual Innovation Prize sponsored by the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award (CQIA) Partnership.


A single-page application is available online, to be postmarked by May 19, allowing applicants to describe the approach, deployment and results of their innovation, including: 1) a description of an organizational problem that was solved by the innovation; 2) a description of the new product, service or process introduced in the last five years; 3) why the applicant considers it innovative; and 4) using numbers applicants show how this innovation benefited their organization. Although greatest emphasis is placed on the innovation, no application will be considered without historical numerical results.


The CQIA Partnership Inc., a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization headquartered in Stamford, takes no money from state of federal governments. All funding comes from application fees, conference registration and sponsors. This year’s sponsors are Joining Technologies, Basement Systems, Honeywell, TRUMPF, Robinson & Cole LLP, Cartus, Kimchuk, Perkin Elmer and the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center.

Since the program began in 1995, the CQIA Innovation Prize has awarded plaques to 524 Connecticut organizations. Highest-level platinum Innovation Prize recipients include Alexion Pharmaceuticals (2008), Griffin Hospital (1996 and 2010), Packard BioScience (2001), Protein Sciences Corp. (1999), Southern Connecticut State University (2009), the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center (2010) and Z-Medica (2003).

For a list of 524 CQIA Innovation Prize platinum, gold and silver recipients as well as the 2011 CQIA Innovation Prize criteria, visit ctqualityaward.org/site/awards.