DANBURY, Conn., Feb. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — After more than 29 years of dedicated service, President and CEO Patricia Zachman, M.ED., has decided to retire from The Center for Empowerment and Education (formerly known as The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury), a non-profit organization that provides services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and other major life crises. Ashley Dunn, MS, MFT, NCC has been appointed as her successor, effective February 28, 2022.
During Pat’s tenure, she created and managed transformative change for The Center. Since 1993, she grew the staff three-fold, while increasing the operating budget six-fold. The organization completed two successful campaigns whereby the main office in downtown Danbury was purchased in 1997 and later renovated, and a new residential facility for women and children in transition was recently opened with no mortgage. The Center’s development office was born and grown, and volunteer opportunities expanded.
Under Pat’s leadership, The Center’s services were enlarged to cover anyone and everyone in need, 24 hours a day, and satellite service sites were established to better assist those throughout a 13-town radius. In 2009, The Center formally partnered with Western Connecticut State University to provide domestic violence and sexual assault direct and educational services to the entire campus community.
“Pat is an inspiration to all of us. We are most grateful for her strong, steady leadership and the successes she has spearheaded. Her professional accolades are impressive, but don’t reveal the truly incredible beneficial effect she has had on the clients, staff, volunteers, and community. We were blessed to have her and are all sorry to see her go,” said Eric Eggan, Chair of The Center’s Board of Directors.
To fill Pat’s shoes, Ashley Dunn was appointed incoming President and CEO of The Center. She was most recently Executive Director and CEO of Almost Home, Inc., a non-profit organization in Denver, CO which provides Emergency Assistance programs and services to households at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness. While there, Dunn initiated the first domestic violence programming in the region. Previously, she served as Vice President, Housing Stabilization Programs, at Way Finders, where she administered prevention, diversion, and housing stabilization programs for the homeless population in Springfield, MA.
“I’m thrilled to be joining The Center at such a critical time. Pat and her team have made incredible contributions to the 13-town service area, and I’m eager to build on those successes. Throughout my entire human services career, I have worked with children, families, young adults, and adults experiencing some level of crisis and find purpose in helping people transition from crises to safer, more stable situations. I believe that The Center fully aligns with my purpose and passion,” said Dunn.
In her role, Dunn will work closely with the staff and Board of Directors to achieve The Center’s vision to end violence against individuals and families and to foster equality and empowerment for all. She will oversee prevention, crisis intervention, and support services regarding domestic violence, sexual assault, and other major life transitions.
About The Center for Empowerment and Education
Since its founding in 1975, The Center for Empowerment and Education has been a safe haven as the sole provider of services to victims of domestic and sexual violence in the Northern Fairfield and Southern Litchfield County areas. Each year, the Center serves over 30,000 individuals from area communities with confidential services that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and are provided at no-cost.
The Center’s key services include an emergency residential facility and support services, counseling and advocacy, crisis intervention, community education, primary prevention, and training. All funds provided to the Center support their critically needed domestic violence, sexual assault and resource services for adults and children in a 13-town service area, including: Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sherman, and Washington. The Center is a member of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) and The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
SOURCE The Center for Empowerment and Education