NORWALK — Norwalk ACTS selected its first ever Board of Directors earlier this month as the organization continues the transition to an independent nonprofit.

“Thanks to many competent and committed people, Norwalk ACTS’ work and impact has grown significantly over the last three years. Becoming an independent 501(c)(3) will enable Norwalk ACTS to continue its commitment to continuous improvement, in support of our city’s children,” said the Rev. Lindsay Curtis, Advisory Board chairman.

The education advocacy group began in 2005 and has functioned as part of the national StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network since 2011 under the umbrella of Stepping Stones Museum for Children since 2014. Norwalk ACTS is seeking official nonprofit status, allowing the organization to independently collect donations, operate under an independent board of directors and create its own infrastructure.

Norwalk ACTS was conceived in 2005 to address suspension rates, aspects of No Child Left Behind and Connecticut’s achievement gap. The organization has since grown its membership to well over 600 people involved in every aspect and level of education in Norwalk, adopted a Collective Impact mentality and expanded its goals to include children ranging from pre-K to college.

Though the organization’s foundation is abstract — Norwalk ACTS doesn’t actively do any programming of its own, instead working to connect existing organizations and education partners to solve community-wide education problems — its mission is fairly simple: to improve the lives and futures of all Norwalk youth.

The organization has acquired pro bono partners to aid in the transition to an independent nonprofit, including moving from an advisory board to an elected board of directors.

The new board includes ex-officio members Superintendent Steven Adamowski and Mayor Harry Rilling, as well as Harry Carey, AT&T; Rob Cashel, president and CEO of Family and Children's Agency; Curtis (chairman), pastor at Grace Baptist Church; Brian Davis, president and CEO of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk; Cathy DeCesare, senior vice president of Strategic Initiatives at United Way Coastal Fairfield County; Linda Franciscovich, The Grossman Family Foundation; Craig Glover, CEO of Norwalk Community Health Center; Brian Griffin, president of the greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce; Rhonda Kiest, president and CEO of Stepping Stones Museum for Children; David Levinson, president of Norwalk Community College; Ceci Maher, executive director of Person-To-Person; Diana Revolus, Child and Community Advocate; Bruce Ritter of the Ritter Family Foundation; and Erv Shames of the Shames Family Foundation.; 203-842-2563; @kaitlynkrasselt