The idea was to create a "public square," a place where people can meet and tackle issues of concern to the community. It should be available for free to non-profit and civic groups, and open to the public. And maybe, just maybe, ideas would be hatched and collaborations launched that would make a difference. Welcome to New Haven’s newest meeting place: The Wells Fargo Community Room. The space officially opened Tuesday at a ribbon cutting at United Way of Greater New Haven's office at 370 James Street. The room, generously sponsored by Wells Fargo, is equipped with an overhead projector, an electronic whiteboard, and is connected to the Internet. It can be configured various ways depending on groups’ individual needs. Among the venue’s various amenities are ample, free parking at the James Street site as well as a full kitchen adjacent to the room. United Way and Wells Fargo partnered on the initiative after noticing “a huge need from the community for a space where leaders can come together, nonprofits can come together, and feel comfortable,” United Way of Greater New Haven President and CEO Jack Healy said. Since its “soft opening” about a month ago, numerous groups have used the room. “The traffic has been unbelievable,” Healy said, adding it has been used by groups as small as 12 and as large as 80 people. Substantive discussions about violence in New Haven, education reform and ending homelessness have already taken place within the Wells Fargo Community Room, he said. “We are just absolutely delighted to open it to the community,” he added. Wells Fargo officials are excited to be part of the venture, said Kent McClun, the company’s president for the Greater Connecticut region. “It was a very easy decision for Wells Fargo. We’re honored to be a part of this,” he said, adding the room will be a great resource and gathering space in the city. “We’re very proud to be a supporter of United Way of Greater New Haven." Numerous groups in the area will benefit from the Wells Fargo Community Room, said Esther Massie, executive director of LEAP Inc., a New Haven-based nonprofit that has already made use of the room. “It’s great,” she said of the space. “It gives nonprofit organizations the opportunity for real collaboration.” Click here to find out more and to reserve space.
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