Our work began in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford in 2008. At that time, we were engaged in a wide breadth of programming, from artist in residence programs to community gardens, all of them focused on the residents of the Billings Forge apartment complex and the surrounding streets. Although all of these programs had value and great personal meaning to participants; their focus and long term purpose was not always clear.
Over the past decade, our work has become more defined and the area we serve has broadened. We have consistently and uncompromisingly focused on the impact our work has on the lives of our neighbors. In 2017, we began a process to formally and transparently state the mission and strategies of our organization.
After this work was completed, we looked at our name of Billings Forge Community Works and realized that it no longer fit what we were actually doing: providing culinary and customer service job training programs to more than 50 people yearly; providing food access through our farmers market; and running successful and sustainable social enterprises such as our cafes and catering businesses. After a long process and with input from many community members, we have chosen Forge City Works as our new name.
Because of its connection to our beginnings in the Billings name and for its other identity as a word meaning to move forward, to create, and to shape
Our initiatives empower and support residents throughout the city and surrounding communities, not just the Frog Hollow neighborhood
Because our programs are embedded in places of business; help people ready themselves for, and acquire jobs; and because what we do works in supporting people to change their own lives.