March 21, 2023

Leadership Capital Region Class Announces the Connect Center Community Outreach Renewal and Expansion Project in partnership with the Connect Center in Cohoes

The Leadership Capital Region (LCR) Class of 2023 is excited to announce a partnership with the Connect Center for Youth, a community hub for connection and empowerment for youth development programs located in Cohoes, NY. The class will complete a Community Outreach Renewal & Expansion Project that will address food insecurity by improving the storage and distribution of food items to the local community at their location.

As a part of Leadership Capital Region, the class must reach consensus and come together to complete a community service project. Participants in this year’s LCR class solicited proposals via an RFP process and received submissions from local community organizations. This class requested proposals for projects that would have a substantial impact on the Capital Region in the area(s) of children and youth. The class collectively decided to help make a difference in the lives of youth and families in need while also supporting those that may be dealing with food insecurity by partnering with the Connect Center for Youth.  Nora Ritinski, Director of Communications and Community Relations at Couch White LLP commented “We met Ben Williams, Executive Director at the Connect Center, at our Non-profit session day and his passion for the Connect Center and goals for its future aligned with how our class wanted to make a difference in the community.”

The project will provide much needed renovations and upgrades to the center’s food storage, food pantry and BackPack program packing area. The class will work to bring these spaces up to standards to become a member of the Food Pantries of the Capital District and increase the number of families served through the pantry and BackPack program.

“I am thankful and proud that the Leadership Capital Region Class of 2023 will be partnering with the Connect Center for their class project,” said Ben Williams, Executive Director of The Connect Center for Youth. “It will also allow us to pursue partnerships with other organizations that will help contribute to program sustainability. I’m very excited about the immediate impact that this project will have both in our organization and in our community.”

For many in the Capital Region, hunger means not knowing when, where or what you will eat next. The Community Outreach Renewal & Expansion Project at the Connect Center will directly result in more families being able to answer those questions by removing food insecurity from their list of urgent challenges. This project will further the mission of the Connect Center to “break the cycle of poverty by connecting youth to their full potential.”

“The opportunity to partner with Ben Williams and his team for the advancement of his vision for the Connect Center is extremely inspiring. The City of Cohoes is often overshadowed by larger cities in the Capital Region making resources like the Connect Center that much more critical to supporting its many children and families in need. The added resources being deployed through this renovation help to combat food insecurity in the city and further solidify the Connect Center as a safe space for struggling families. My colleagues at LCR and I are thrilled to support Bens passionate philanthropy and cannot wait to see the projects continued growth and benefit to its community!” Zachery Gohl, Development Manager at The Rosenblum Companies, on behalf of the LCR class of 2023.

About the Connect Center for Youth, it is a 5,000+ sq ft retrofit project housed within a 130 year old cathedral. The ribbon was cut on the center in early 2021 under the leadership of the new Executive Director, Ben Williams, with the mission to break the cycle of poverty by connecting youth to their full potential through free education and a safe after school environment. The center at that time included only a co-working space, music studio/editing suite, and commercial grade kitchen. Since then, The Connect Center has expanded rapidly to include a S.T.E.A.M. lab, black box theater, fine arts area, a BackPack program, and a food pantry/community closet. While all our services are open to the public and their children grades 6-12, the Center predominantly serves the community of Cohoes, NY with the support of the City of Cohoes and the Cohoes Central School district.

“It’s great to see our class come.together as a team, all pitching in to get this project completed for the Connect Center.” Said Phillip Quindara, Director of Marketing at CSArch

The LCR Class of 2023 is fundraising and accepting cash and in-kind donations from individuals and organizations to make this project possible. For information regarding sponsorship opportunities, please contact us at Your generous support at any level will have a positive impact on families in need in our community, and it is greatly appreciated. Donations can be submitted online here>>