Annual Report


MISSION: to provide high-quality, affordable childcare and educational services, while comprehensively nurturing the unique needs of children and their families.

VISION: a community of families, staff, volunteers and donors working towards a common vision where all children are safe and receiving the highest quality education with all families self-sufficient and succeeding.

WHO WE SERVE: Families live throughout southeastern Connecticut, with the majority residing in Groton and New London. Most parents work at entry level jobs in health care, manufacturing, and the service/hospitality industry, or are attending school or training programs; 59% of the children live in a single parent household; 57% of the families earn less than $30,000 per year.

NAEYC: The center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children; 2017 was spent preparing for a reaccreditation review. In November the center was awarded a five-year renewal.


Dear Friends:

Thank you! Your connection to Riverfront makes us bigger, better and stronger! We are a community of staff, teachers and families working together in an environment where children grow and thrive. We are glad you are part of our community!


I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the individuals, organizations and businesses who make up our community. You give your time, goods, services and money to assure families have access to high-quality early care and education where children grow and learn, forming a foundation for life-long learning.


Thank you for helping assure families have high-quality, affordable care and early education for their children.


—Dr. Sue



What did your contribution do? 

It helped provide:
• 128 children with tuition assistance
• 192 hours of enrichment programming (storytelling, reading, library visits, science, art, music and yoga)
• 375 hours of volunteer work: painting, making improvements to the outdoor play spaces, landscape and gardens, organizing the food pantry and clothing bank and much more
• Supported building repairs and classroom improvements


Play-Based Learning

Children learn real world problem solving as they explore through play. Play is important!

• The White Fence Playground was redesigned, resulting in two licensed outdoor classrooms. One is a dramatic play area where children can learn through play in our mud kitchen (purchased with a grant from Dominion Foundation).

• The Infant/Toddler Outdoor Classroom was refurbished with a grant from the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation, providing a soft space for the youngest children and sturdy dramatic play equipment for the toddlers.

• An additional space in the lower level was licensed as a preschool and school-age classroom. This allowed the school age Summer Camp program to expand to serve 30 children and provides space for the many enrichment activities that support learning.


CORE VALUE #2: Relationships

Partnerships are the foundation of Riverfront’s success. This year they included:

• Literacy skills develop with the help of classroom readers including, Mayor Keith Hedrick, UCONN Husky Reads and Mystic Congregational Church Readers.

• Participation in the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence RULER research project, bringing continued professional development for teachers on social-skill development.

• Preschool children are learning mindfulness through yoga, with the guidance of Amy Kobelski.

• The Parent Teacher Organization (4 teachers and 12 parents) is sponsoring events that increase our visibility in the community with the first Annual Trunk or Treat and creation of Old MacDonald’s Farm scarecrow display (earning 2nd place in the City of Groton contest), and the end-of-summer picnic to send off 29 children to kindergarten with music and Pop’s Premium Ice Cream truck.
• Pfizer employees, Coast Guard cadets and families provided hours and hours of time helping to maintain, clean up and repair the grounds and facilities.

• The Summer Meals Program (Groton Public Schools) provided 7,600 meals to children at the center.

• Riverfront was named United Way Non-Profit Partner of the Year for their increased campaign giving, involvement with community service projects and grant collaborations.


Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.   – HELEN KELLER


CORE VALUE #3: Respect

• Children learn to respect themselves, each other and the environment. Teachers are trained to use the Second Step program to introduce and teach important social skills. Identifying and expressing feelings, showing empathy, and problem- solving are cornerstones to the development of friendships.

• A summer celebration, with music and Pop’s Premium Ice Cream Truck, congratulated 28 children ready to leave Riverfront for kindergarten with the social-emotional skills needed to be successful learners.

• Children learn to clean up and pick up after themselves both indoors and outdoors. The garden has a compost bin for leftover food and children practice recycling.


CORE VALUE #4: Safe and Secure

• Nine of the 11 classrooms had new flooring installed. It was amazing to see how bright and fresh the classrooms looked with light colored floors. Each classroom is now half vinyl plank and half carpet.

• The award of a Neighborhood Assistance Act grant will be used to replace old wooden windows and install security panels on the lower-level windows.

• Upgrades were made to the sprinkler system and new water shut off valves were installed.



Riverfront recognized Mayor Keith Hedrick for his unwavering support of the mission of Riverfront. He schedules time twice a month to visit classrooms and read to the children, coordinated with City of Groton employees to assist with putting together Thanksgiving food baskets, and is always available as a resource to assist Riverfront in connecting to community resources.


• A specialized dramatic play learning space for small groups of children to practice their self-help skills.

• Loose parts! A bin of just about anything can become an opportunity to explore and create.

• Continued playground and garden improvements, including the installation of a sunshade and gross-motor equipment.



Gary Zimbelman, President
Michele Pearson, Vice President
Rashid Haynes, Treasurer
Nicole Broadhus, Secretary
Roberta Fauntleroy
Debra Gaynor
Diane Gozemba
Jean McGran
Candace Woodhall-Graves


The Scholar Dollar Program; $300,000 is needed to cover the cost of tuition subsidies for families in need.
The Endowment Fund and see your legacy continue in the years ahead.
Provide unrestricted funds for items like emergencies or capital improvements.
Fund a special project, such as music, outdoor classroom, or human services.


CONDUCT A DRIVE: Collect items for the Family Resource Center.


GIVE YOUR TIME: Have a special skill and you like to work with children? Please consider sharing. This could be a one-time event, multiple sessions, or a regular visit throughout the year.


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PHONE: 860-445-8151

Riverfront’s mission is supported through the donation of money, time and service. The contribution from businesses, donors, grants, partners, sponsors and volunteers are critical to our success. Together you contributed $311,577.42 to support children and families!  THANK YOU!


  • Government Grants

  • Program Service Fee

  • United Way

  • Foundation Grants

  • Fundraising

  • Rental

  • Investments


  • Salaries

  • Operations

  • Contracts

  • Fundraising

  • Program


Big Y Community Grant $201
Brownington Foundation $10,000
Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT $5,000
Charter Oak Federal Credit Union $1,000
Chelsea Groton Bank Foundation $4,000
Chelsea Groton Bank Employee  Appreciation Fund $2,115
Chelsea Foundation—Acts of Kindness $165
Community Foundation of Eastern CT (anonymous) $15,000
Community Foundation of Eastern CT  $25,000
Dime Bank $3,000
Dominion Foundation $5,000
Edward and Mark Lord Foundation $15,000
Electric Boat Management Associates $1,000
Eversource $300
Faith Based Organizations $1,950
Frank Loomis Palmer Foundation $16,000
Kiwanis Club of New London $500
Ledyard Rotary Foundation $1,000
Mystic Garden Club $650
Mystic Lions Community Foundation $2,000
New London Telephone Employee Assoc $500
Neighborhood Assistance Act Program $34,971.42
Pfizer Community Days of Caring $5,000
Rotary Club of Mystic $1,000
United Way (Capacity Building) $5,570
United Way (EFSP) $2,000

TOTAL $157,922.42