Hartford Stage, Connecticut Public Television and the Mark Twain House have something new in common — special attention from United Technologies Corp.
The three cultural institutions will all participate in a pilot program UTC plans to announce today in which company employees will try to help nonprofit groups cut expenses, drive revenue and operate more efficiently.
UTC, which had 2007 profits of $4.2 billion, views the initiative as a way to maximize the value of its financial contributions to the organizations. The Hartford-based company reported making gifts of more than $20 million in 2007, about one-quarter of the total in Connecticut. UTC recently donated $50,000 to the financially struggling Twain House.
"This program results from UTC's ongoing pursuit of efficiencies and continuous improvement opportunities," company spokesman John Moran said in an e-mail. "Our nonprofit partners also see value in this innovative approach."
UTC employees with expertise in energy, financial planning, strategy consulting, computing and real estate will offer a variety of consulting services, including energy consumption and information technology audits.
An energy audit of Hartford Stage, which relies on a 30-year-old heating and air-conditioning system, is already underway, and UTC will begin consulting with CPTV about its information technology systems this month.
UTC considers itself an expert in energy, and executives often say that all of the company's business units "convert energy to useful work." UTC will initially work with groups it already supports financially, it said. Organizations can visit www.utc.com/responsibility for information about seeking grants from the company.
Other participants in the pilot program include The Connecticut Science Center, the Greater Hartford Marathon, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and South Arsenal Neighborhood Development.
Depending on its success in Hartford, the company might consider expanding the program to other cities, it said.
UTC will tap employees from all its business units to work with nonprofit groups for 25 to 50 hours over periods of three to nine months.
Jeffrey Nichols, executive director of the Twain House, said UTC would provide a variety of "staff and expertise we can't possibly afford."
For example, he said UTC has offered to advise the museum on energy efficiency, legal matters, the sale of a non-historic property and general business strategy.
"Obviously we're at a point in our development where that's very helpful," Nichols said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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