Fostering a Culture of Innovation and Generosity

Posted on: May 12th, 2022 by Kristen Miller

And How Our Values Translate From The Workplace to the Community

Written By: Christy S. Renjilian

Each business needs guiding principles. Ones that shape every aspect of the business from structure to employees to customer relationships. 

Though Community Connections for Children, Inc. is a nonprofit organization, we’re also a business, and we have principles that shape every decision we make. 

We believe in equality—everyone deserves the same opportunities and resources to succeed. 

We believe in creativity and innovation—progress happens better when we all work together. 

And we believe in generosity—our communities are at their best when we are working to improve each other’s lives. 

These principles radiate in our mission and values—and are at the core of what we do for our community and for the families and children we serve.

Innovation Is Key To Progress

Innovation is an openness to new ideas and change. It’s an understanding that just because you’ve always done something a certain way, that doesn’t mean it’s always how it must be done. 

And it’s one of CCC’s core ideals, as we’ve adjusted and expanded. There are often growing pains. But by valuing innovation, we come out better and stronger. We aren’t stuck doing things the usual way; we want to do things the best way. 

Innovation also means an openness to the thoughts of others—being constantly curious.  Because we know that ideas and strategies are better when there are multiple people contributing to the process. 

Each and every person brings valuable ideas to the table. Together, we find and create better solutions.

And innovation means that when things happen that you never anticipated or imagined, you are able to take a deep breath and rely on your team, your culture, and your creativity to get through it. It’s a trust that you’re not only going to survive the challenge but also create, grow, adapt, and, ultimately, be more well-rounded as a result of it. 

CCC dug deep throughout the COVID pandemic to continue to operate at a high level and show up well for families, partners, and communities. 

The team created and offered virtual support sessions to Early Childhood Education Directors and Teachers to help them serve children and families during the pandemic. Along with the Rapid Response program, to support children with challenging behaviors and provide their teachers and families the support and services they need.  

With an innovative spirit, and by relying on one another, we were able to come out the other side an even better team. 

The Importance of Generosity 

Giving of your time, talent, and treasure to help others without thinking about what reward you will gain from it is at the core of generosity.

And with a generous heart, you understand, even when faced with hardships of your own, that you have a responsibility to help others in whatever ways you can.  

Because all people are interconnected. And families and communities only work when we help each other without thinking about what we get in return. 

A generous person doesn’t think that they are better than others, especially not as a result of their job title, education, or income. A generous person is willing to do whatever it takes to serve those around them.

Recently, Community Connections for Children, Inc. has been recognized as a workplace that strives for excellence. In 2022, CCC received the United Way of York County’s Partner Agency Award and was recognized as the highest producing campaign among all the partner agencies. 

The hardworking staff was recognized for their creativity in continuing to raise money through the pandemic. A huge accomplishment.

And I’m so proud of our team. They went above and beyond, showcasing their generous spirit. They organized karaoke and trivia gatherings over Zoom to expand our donors and giving platform. 

The team was also recognized for donating a high percentage of the funds they raised to the community fund. This community fund helps all the partner agencies throughout York County, not just CCC. And they donated funds to agencies in the other counties we serve—spreading the wealth and our impact. 

How Generosity and Innovation Serve as Guideposts

Generosity is important to me because it was one of the core values that I was raised with.  

From a young age, I experienced the world through the lens of a giver. My parents set the example, volunteering, tithing, and working in the nonprofit world. My father dedicated his life’s work to the YMCA. 

And I’ve carried those lessons with me, giving of time, talent and treasure. And I’m leading a community-based organization that leads by example and helps others to see the benefits of being generous and serving others.

It’s incredibly important to be generous to your staff, financially, and as human beings. In my tenure at CCC, over ten years now, we’ve worked hard to increase salaries and implemented generous paid time off policies.

And CCC has rotation weeks—staff members get one week a month with reduced hours, leaving early Monday through Thursday and having off on Friday. 

Beyond the financial aspects, the leadership team and I recognize that the culture we build and the connection we have with our team are just as important. We work hard to be generous with our praise and appreciation. To reinforce and remind each team member of the important role they play in serving children, families, child care programs, and the larger community. 

CCC impacts the economy of seven counties here in south central Pennsylvania, and each team member contributes to that success. Day in and day out. 

Innovation is important, too. In the world of early childhood education, things change all the time. We constantly work to stay on top of new research and strategies to help teachers work with children and families. We adapt to changes in policies and procedures related to eligibility for financial support to help pay for child care. 

And of course, we have to stay flexible, agile, and adaptable to respond to changes in CCC’s operations, staffing, leadership, and programs. 

That’s why we work hard to foster a culture of trust, respect, and support. Innovation isn’t possible without these core values. 

Hiring the best person for the job, someone who knows how to do those specific job functions better than you do, giving them the support and resources they need, and then getting out of their way is how we create that environment. 

I’m proud to say CCC was a finalist for the Central Penn Business Journal’s NonProfit Innovation Award in the Management Operations category. 

Innovation thrives in a supportive atmosphere of creativity and respect.

Paying It Forward In Our Community

We lead change. At CCC, we are a collective voice, educating local leaders about the critical role child care plays in the community. Access to child care is a workforce, job retention, and education issue. And research has shown quality childcare to be a critical investment that saves significant taxpayer dollars in the years ahead. 

We know, especially as a result of the impact of COVID, that child care is foundational to the health and well-being of children, families, and our local economies.  Without adequate child care, families cannot remain in (or return to) the workforce.  

We administer funding programs, extending those dollars to childcare providers which helps them keep their doors open. These efforts ensure that children receive a solid foundation to be ready for school and life. 

We help families now and empower children to be successful in the years to come.

And we know that together, innovation is possible. Together, our generosity can be more impactful. Together, we are our best.

About Community Connections for Children, Inc.

Community Connections for Children, Inc. (CCC) is a nonprofit centered in the heart of Pennsylvania. They serve childcare providers and low-income families ‒ the ones that have been impacted the most by the pandemic. 

For you and your business, CCC helps keep childcare options open for your employees ‒ saving missed work hours and lowering on-the-job stress levels. They work with early childhood education programs and home-based providers to improve the quality of care, ensuring that all children enter school ready to be successful.

Christy Renjilian serves as its Executive Director. 

To learn more, visit