Residents Forward of Port Washington has announced the appointment of its next executive director in nonprofit veteran Patricia “Trish” Class.
Class will be succeeding Mindy Germain, who announced her departure from day-to-day operations of Residents last month and will be joining the organization’s board of directors.
“[Germain] has been such an amazing leader for the organization for the past 13 years,” Class said in a phone interview “I’m excited to keep in touch with her, going forward. I think she’s such a great resource for Port. She’s left some very big shoes to fill.”
A native of West Hartford, Conn., Class graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a degree in hotel and restaurant management and worked in Manhattan for over 10 years prior to moving to Port Washington with her husband in 2000 and turning her attention to her two children.
“I really focused for about 13 years just being with my kids and volunteering at the Parent Resource Center and in the school,” Class said in a phone interview. “My kids went to Daly Elementary, so I became involved with the Home School Association there.”
In 2015, Class was hired as director of operations at the Port-based Parent Resource Center, a nonprofit cooperative that focuses on providing affordable education opportunities to students and parents. Class would later be named executive director of the organization.
“I felt like having a hospitality background and being a parent was just kind of the perfect mix, for me,” Class said. “It has been an amazing job for me to serve the young families in Port Washington with classes, events and workshops and support. I had a really good experience working there.”
The COVID-19 pandemic did make “things are a little different” at the PCR, she adds.
“We kind of pivoted to do kind of even more,” Class said. “We have an outreach program at the parent resource center to kind of even do more to support families. We did a diaper drive and some kind of drive-through events where we gave them dinners, personal care items, crafts and supplies for the children to keep them busy at home.”
Over the years, Class got to know Residents as a fellow nonprofit and knew Germain from their children attending Daly Elementary, and a few months ago a friend sent her the job listing for Residents.
“I wasn’t even really looking, because I was happy with my spot at the Parent Resource Center,” Class said. “But when I saw the job description, I just felt like I could really help this organization and use a lot of the skills that I had gained in the past five years at the PRC around fundraising, events, membership and volunteers. And so I felt like it might be a good fit.”
After a few weeks of interviews, the Residents board offered Class the position. In the time since Class has been part of innumerable Zoom meetings to meet her new colleagues.
“Everyone on the Residents staff and the board members have just been awesome to me,” Class said. “These are all professional people in different areas who have volunteered to give their time to this organization. And I find that really, really appealing as well.”
One of the ideas that Class has for Residents is reaching out to low-income families.
“I’m excited to make more connections with the organization to our low-income families in Port Washington, primarily the residents of Manorhaven, who I know really well because they were part of the PRC’s outreach program,” Class said.
She adds that she’d like to work on “getting the word out.”
“I think that with some nonprofits, you still have people that live in your town that don’t know about your organization,” “So I think I can really help with getting the word out and really explaining in the clear and concise manner what Residents’ mission is, and how people can get involved and that it can be at different levels. That’s a great kind of next step as kids get older, and talking about how important it is to protect and advance the beauty of the peninsula, to maintain its vibrancy.”
Class’ daughter is a rising junior at Schreiber High School, and her son was set to attend SUNY Buffalo for his freshman year, prior to the pandemic.
“He was told in early July that all of his classes are going to be remote,” Class said. “It was kind of a moment of ‘wow, you know, this is really not happening.’ We’ll wait to see what happens, and hopefully, he can join the campus life in the spring semester.”
As both of her children begin a new school year, Class will start with her new opportunity, which she sees as an opportunity to grow.
“I just really love being here in Port,” Class said. “It is nice, as my kids have been growing up here. But also, I just really find it very satisfying to be involved with organizations that primarily focus on improving the lives of our residents.”