Ellen Groh named 2022 Citizen of the Year

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Ellen GrohCONCORD, NH (September 2022) - The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce is honored to announce Ellen Groh, Executive Director of Concord Coalition to End Homelessness, as its 2022 Citizen of the Year. The Chamber will recognize this outstanding leader at its 103rd Annual Meeting and Citizen of the Year Award event on Wednesday, November 2 at the Grappone Conference Center. All are welcome to attend this celebration of Groh’s unmistakable positive impact on the Greater Concord community.

“Ellen stands among the most effective leaders fighting homelessness in the country,” wrote Rosanne Haggerty, CEO of Community Solutions, a national organization that works with more than 100 communities across the country to reduce homelessness. As its leader, Ellen Groh has drastically expanded Concord Coalition to End Homelessness’s ability to provide critical, sometimes life-saving, services to individuals experiencing homelessness.

In her first year as Executive Director, Groh led the organization to implement the City of Concord’s new Plan to End Homelessness—a multi-organizational effort that mobilized hundreds of community members to join her cause. Concord Coalition to End Homelessness Outreach Coordinator, Connor Spern wrote, “[Groh] exemplifies a perfect balance of logic and compassion, making space for everyone—our clients, the neighbors, our politicians and government, our supporters and even those who disagree with our work.”

Groh’s dedication to her cause, and momentum to create palpable change, has been unwavering, despite facing a global pandemic and national and local housing shortage. Under her leadership, the organization moved the Resource Center to a larger location and expanded services offered and hours of operation, expanded the staff from two parttime individuals to a team of ten full-time workers, plus two part-time employees and seasonal staff, built an impressive 40-bed winter shelter, and expanded the operating budget from $70,000 in 2014 to nearly $1,000,000 in 2022. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Groh reacted quickly to obtain emergency federal funding to purchase the First Congregational Church Building that was used as an interim location for the Resource Center and Winter Shelter—providing enough space for social distancing and freeing up separate quarantine locations for clients who contracted the virus.

Groh also led Concord Coalition to End Homelessness’s recent efforts to actually begin buying buildings in Concord to house some of their most vulnerable clients. The organization now owns four properties around Concord, with more housing units in development. In the past two years, over 40 clients have been housed in these properties and local apartments. This impressive effort, in response to a crippling housing shortage throughout the region, has been thoughtfully led by Groh, even receiving praise from New Hampshire Preservation Alliance who awarded the apartments on Green Street for historic preservation. Concord Coalition to End Homelessness former Board Member, Ellen Fries, commended Groh for these astounding accomplishments saying, “[Groh] is an incredibly hard worker, always striving for the highest goals, but also always sensible, always listening to the input of others… and putting things on a reasonable timeline despite dreaming big.”

This significant organizational growth has allowed Concord Coalition to End Homelessness to serve between 250 and 300 unique individuals every month, providing everything from coffee to showers, housing, medical supplies, case management and dozens of other items and services. Recently, the nonprofit has begun developing a “by name list” of every chronically homeless person in Concord, which will allow the organization to better serve its clients.

During her eight years leading Concord Coalition to End Homelessness, Groh has made a profound and transformational impact on the community and its most vulnerable residents. The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce received an outpouring of nominations for Groh, who will be retiring at the end of 2022. “I can think of no better way to honor her upon her retirement from the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness than to recognize her… with the 2022 Citizen of the Year Award,” wrote City Councilor, Byron Champlin. The Chamber is eager to celebrate Ellen Groh at its biggest social event of the year.

The Chamber’s 103rd Annual Meeting and Citizen of the Year award event takes place on Wednesday, November 2 at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. Presented by Merrimack County Savings Bank, the celebration begins at 5 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by a plated dinner, and culminates in the Citizen of the Year award ceremony. Register online at concordnhchamber.com/key-events, email events@concordnhchamber.com, or call (603) 224-2508.

Incorporated in 1919, New Hampshire's state capital chamber of commerce—the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce—develops economic opportunities, strengthens the business climate, and enhances quality of life in the Capital region. As largest chamber in the state, it is deeply invested in the local community and dedicated to shaping competitive economic development strategy, advocating for policies and projects that benefit the region, and promoting Concord as a culturally vibrant visitor destination. For more information, please visit concordnhchamber.com.

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