Catholic Family Center, Catholic Youth Organization and the Genesee Valley Office of Social Ministry had just merged to form one new Catholic Family Center when Carolyn Portanova was appointed executive director of the new agency in 1989.
"There was no common culture tying it all together. I was hired to mold those all into one agency," said Portanova, who now is CFC’s president and CEO.
What eventually emerged was an agency dedicated to providing service, maintaining clients’ dignity and striving for excellence. That focus on excellence was sharpened in 1990, when CFC was reaccredited by the Council on Accreditation, which works with human-service organizations to develop, apply and promote accreditation standards.
"We’re not just providing what we can and turning you out to your next thing, (saying), ‘Good luck,’" Portanova said. "We’ve always been about helping people to move towards independence — independence from drugs, independence from social services, independence from nursing homes."
Another key to the agency’s success has been the attentiveness of staff and board members to the community’s changing needs, she said. When the agency’s leaders detect an unmet need in the Rochester community, they move quickly to address that need, she noted.