CATCHing Up with the Board: Tori Berube
Over a decade ago, Tori Berube attended a Capitol Steps performance at the Capitol Center for the Arts. In addition to a great comedy show at a CATCH Comedy Night, Tori experienced something she wasn’t expecting: the realization that someone she worked with had previously not had access to safe, affordable housing.
“I remember watching a video that CATCH had created before the show started,” says Tori. “There were several families interviewed who had received services from CATCH, and one of the women in the video was someone who worked for me. I then realized not everyone had access to quality housing in Concord.”
Tori grew up a 5-minute walk from what would become CATCH’s East Side Drive property in Concord. She remembers the opening of the apartments but didn’t make the connection until years later.
“I remember this video really helping me realize that not everyone grew up with a lawn, a front porch and a playground nearby, and more importantly I began to understand the complexities around safe, affordable housing. And that’s what East Side Drive apartments gave this woman, her husband and her two small kids.”
This realization had an impact on Tori. Tori serves as Vice President of College Planning and Engagement at The NHHEAF Network, a statewide nonprofit agency based in Concord., In her role at NHHEAF she works with families, including low and middle-income families, who view higher education as a pathway to the future. She draws the parallel between her work with NHHEAF and the work of CATCH – helping those who view higher education or safe, affordable housing as pathways to their future.
After learning about CATCH, Tori spent time thinking about housing needs in the greater Concord area. In order to improve the housing situation for hundreds of Concord’s residents, she decided to get more involved with CATCH. Tori’s been on CATCH’s Board of Directors for nearly 6 years now and sits on the Community Relations Committee. Not only has it been a personal leadership development opportunity for her, but it’s also been a way to learn what is happening in our city on many different levels. Because housing has such an interconnected role in the issues in our community, Tori really appreciates how (CATCH’s President) Rosemary M. Heard always schedules an education corner or speaker as part of the board meetings to discuss a related component to housing, whether that includes CATCH/Alliance staff members, speakers from the Granite United Way, NH Charitable Foundation, Community Development Finance Authority, HOMEteam, or the City of Concord’s welfare department.
“Even just sitting next to (former CATCH board members) Chris Caccia from the Concord Regional VNA, or Peter Evers (previously of Riverbend Community Mental Health), chatting with them before or after a meeting has given me a much broader understanding of what’s happening in our community,” says Tori.
Tori acknowledges that a lot has changed since she first learned about CATCH. She has two adult nieces, one who just graduated from college this spring, and she worries about them being able to afford safe apartments and maybe someday purchasing a home here in central New Hampshire. With a lack of starter homes and rental properties in New Hampshire, she worries about the lack of affordable housing for young adults and their ability to contribute to our state’s workforce and economy.
Tori says that one of the things that CATCH does best is being creative in developing strategies to continue to fulfill on our mission.
“From being creative in building affordable housing developments to innovating by creating a successful company like Alliance Asset Management, CATCH is a remarkable organization,” explains Tori. “CATCH remains laser-focused on being mission-driven and always seeks innovative ways to demonstrate that mission. For many nonprofits, the question of how to diversify income while staying true to mission and surviving these difficult times is a very real challenge. I firmly believe CATCH will remain the strong and vibrant organization it is because it continues to meet this challenge head-on.”