After 34+ years of incredible service and commitment, CEO Rick Calvert Retires

After 34+ years of incredible service and commitment, CEO Rick Calvert Retires

When Rick Calvert arrived at the doorstep of 255 Hempstead Street in 1984, the staff numbered eight individuals, the budget amounted to $325,000, stamps were in use, accounting was in accordance with the “one write system”, and a single IBM PC 256k had just been purchased.  No one had a clue as how to operate it.  The agency’s endowment, if it could be called that, totaled $151,000. Over the next three plus decades, Rick played an instrumental role in seeing Child and Family Agency grow into the 13 million dollar multi-service family service agency it is today.

You could call Rick a man of many talents.  An accomplished singer and songwriter, Rick was the director of the Essex Child Guidance Clinic during its formative years. Later, as director of school-based health clinics, he guided this politically charged new program of blending physical and mental health care for students in southeastern Connecticut’s urban areas through occasionally rocky waters negotiating the rights of students to receive health care and yet respect the crucial role parents and schools officials play in the lives of those students.

With the passage of time Rick’s unique listening skill set and ability to seek compromise when it was possible made him a natural to be selected as Child and Family’s first chief operating officer. In that new role, Rick oversaw not only the daily operations of the agency but also represented the agency on several important boards and commissions.  In 2015, with Tom Gullotta’s retirement, Rick was selected as his replacement.

The past three years have not been, to use the colloquialism, a “cake walk”. Connecticut’s weak economy has battered the non-profit sector repeatedly.  To illustrate, after the B.P. Learned Mission merged with Child and Family in 2003 United Way funding totaled nearly 1 million dollars. Today, that fine organization is only able to provide Child and Family with $375,000 in support.  The same is true for state funding, especially as it applies to school-based health centers.  Rick has managed these difficult times with grace.  The agency, under his leadership, has seen its endowment grow, substantially improved its facilities, and kept the overall agency budget level thus avoiding the layoffs and closures many of our sister agencies have had to face.

For Rick, retirement should be retitled “commencement”.  His varied interests and commitment to social justice issues will continue to occupy his life, as will family and friends. For thirty plus years of service on behalf of this noble organization as it strives to improve the lives of Connecticut’s children, thank you Rick.