Under the direction of The Rev. Robert Schenkel, then Rector, and Carl Swenson, administrative staff member, the congregation of the Church of the Good Shepherd approved a by-law mandating that 10% of its annual budget was to be spent each year on LOCAL outreach. Forming the “Community Concerns” committee and program, Carl began spending half of his time responding to the needs of the community, and the Emergency Assistance Program began, spending some $20,000 per year.
The Rev. Dr. Robert “Odie” Odierna became Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd. After discussions with Mr. Swenson, examining the needs of the community, and observing the growing demand for limited church resources, the decision was reached that a unified community effort might better respond to the needs that were overwhelming the church’s resources. The goal was to enlist religious, civic, business and government entities to join CGS in this work.
“Community Concerns” held its first “Adopt-A-Family” Christmas Program, with parishioners helping four families. This program is now run by The Front Door as its Holiday Program, bringing in gifts, clothes, and food to over 300 families in need. In 1996, The Telegraph officially designated The Front Door as a recipient of monies from the “Santa Fund Campaign” to help fund this program.
Under the leadership of Odie and Carl, CGS separately incorporated The Nashua Pastoral Care Center, Inc. as a non-profit, non-denominational agency with a 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. A small board of directors was formed, and Odie became the agency’s first President and remained in that role until 1994. Carl was hired as the agency’s first Executive Director. The agency had a budget of $50,000 and one employee Carl, running an Emergency Assistance Program.
A CGS parishioner began bringing in food to start a Food Pantry. Although no longer active, at its peak the Food Pantry fed some 3,000 people a year through donated goods.
Desiring to facilitate a healthier, permanent change in its clients, the Transitional Housing Program and the Security Deposit Loan Program were created. Part time staff members were added. Transitional Housing met the need for long-term support of the clients. Six local apartments were accessed from landlords at reduced rates this first year.
The Board held its first annual fund raising event – The Gourmet Festival that raised $6,000. This annual event now brings in over $100,000.
There was a need for enhanced income and the Board started its annual Golf Tournament, raising $5,000. Today, this event generates in excess of $25,000.
The agency now employed three full time people, and its budget was $250,000. Funds were comprised from religious, civic, business, city, state, federal, and individual sources. Inadequately operating out of classrooms and closets at CGS, it was now time for the agency to find its own quarters to efficiently run its operations and expand services.
With the help of $100,000 of capital seed money raised by the agency, the Church of the Good Shepherd constructed a second story addition to its office building, creating office space for the agency. The agency paid rent to the Church for the use of this space, with the amount being equal to the monthly payment of the 10-year mortgage the Church obtained to complete the project. Two additional staff members were hired during this time to help fulfill program and administrative functions. The first Penny Drive was held raising $7,500. Today, this event raises over $38,000.
The agency purchased its first owned Transitional Housing site at 12-14 C Street, later named “Caroline’s House”.
Due to its experience with security deposit loans, the agency became the agent for the State of New Hampshire to administer the Housing Security Guarantee Program for southern Hillsborough County. Over 100 security deposit loans are issued annually totaling nearly $100,000 in support. The agency also held its first “200” Raffle fundraiser.
The agency joins the United Way of Greater Nashua and changes its fiscal operations from a calendar year fiscal year to a July-June fiscal year. The Telegraph partners with the agency in its “Santa Fund” program.
The agency hired a Director of Development and Community Relations to enhance public relations and fund raising. Two part-time case managers were also hired to meet the growing needs of our clients.
Carl Swenson, Executive Director retires and Maryse Wirbal is named his successor.
The agency purchases and rehabilitates its second transitional housing project at a price tag of $550,000 providing 3-3 bedroom units and 2-2 bedroom units located at 65-69 ¾ Vine Street, known as “Victory House.”
The need for increased office space was apparent. In April, the agency moved its operations to 7 Concord Street thanks to The First Congregational Church of Nashua. Our food pantry increased in size by 10 times and because of First Church’s generosity, our overhead costs were also reduced. Upon moving, the agency received a $66,000+ from the Church of the Good Shepherd representing the agency’s equity in the 214 Main St. offices. These funds went to renovations of 7 Concord Street, and to the agency Endowment Fund.
The agency purchases the Norwell Home facility creating an 80 percent expansion in its transitional housing program. This property created Phase I of the program providing a group setting for up to eight families bringing our capacity to 18 families.
The agency begins the “Securing the Future” Campaign in an effort to raise $500,000 for the purpose of enhancing the agency’s current $40,000 Endowment Fund after a feasibility study was completed.
The “Securing the Future” Campaign comes to a close with the goal of $500,000 being reached, and the agency’s holiday program in conjunction with the Telegraph Santa Fund serves a record 472 families, 1013 children. A comprehensive Financial Literacy Program begins.
The agency reaches a milestone – 20 Years of Service! The agency kicks-off the celebration with an event honoring The Rev. Dr. Robert Odierna’s (Odie) 20 years of active service to the agency.
The agency begins a comprehensive Planned Giving Program and offers the Homeless & Housing Access Revolving Loan Fund Program as a complement to its HSGP Security Deposit Program.
The agency partnered with Southern NH Services in obtaining a federal grant to provide Early Head Start Child Care Services to residents of Greater Nashua, securing child care for the Transitional Housing residents with children ages 0-3. The agency also partnered with the PSNH and the Weatherization Program in securing $80,000 in energy improvements to the Norwell Home.
The agency embarks upon its next strategic plan identifying ways we can enhance what we already do well.
Phase III of the Transitional Housing Program began with the purchase of a new property at 128 Amherst Street expanding our capacity to 20 families. The agency was recognized and received the 2011 Nonprofit Excellence in Management Award
We celebrate our 25th anniversary and unveil our new name: The Front Door Agency, Inc.
The agency purchased a 6-unit complex located on Shattuck Street in an effort to expand affordable housing opportunities for those we serve. This increased our housing capacity to 26 families.
The agency currently has a budget of $1 million and capital assets in excess of $1.5 million.