Through the Conference of Churches, The 224 EcoSpace allows all people the opportunity to advance for the greater good of themselves and the community. The EcoSpace is a multipurpose building located in Connecticut’s Capital City that enables members and visitors to experience authentic collaboration, encounters with the arts, the pursuit of justice, the fostering of community and the exploration of faith. The 224 EcoSpace provides access to 30,000 square feet of endless possibilities.

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Founded in 1900, The Conference of Churches is one of the oldest ecumenical, not-for-profit corporations in the United States. We began as a membership organization “in covenant” with congregations, based on shared Christian principles found in Scripture.

Since our inception The Conference of Churches has been recognized as a key leader that works to eliminate poverty in all forms. With this in mind, we began providing direct services to address systems of social injustice and poverty.

In our more recent evolution, The Conference of Churches is helping to redefine the role of faith-based organizations (locally and nationally) by reimagining the practice of community engagement and economic empowerment. Locally, with our acquisition of The 224EcoSpace  — we have become an anchor in the Asylum Hill neighborhood and a gathering place for creatives; the underserved; thought leaders; for social and business entrepreneurs and those seeking health and wellness.

Our Mission

The 224 EcoSpace is a transformative incubator for those who desire to build a life and a business around their soul calling. We believe that these "Soulpreneurs"should have a place to explore innovation, elevate creativity and serve others.

The 224 EcoSpace understands the complexities of starting and running a business – from the the big decisions to the day-to-day. Our unique structure brings energy, passion and clarity to Soulpreneurs and helps open new levels of success.

Through our InsideOut approach, we provide business advisement strategies and access to resources that empowerour clients to make better informed decisions about their business and personal goals.By focusing on efficiencies and effectiveness, our clients are better able to create mission-driven results for themselves, their organizations and those they serve.

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High Speed Wifi

Download and upload faster for free. Get more work done with high-speed internet access spots throughout the eco-space.

Print, Fax, Copy

Full access to all of your major office needs. Easy, fast and convenient self-service work stations.

Commuter Friendly

Free parking, no matter how long the stay. Bike racks. Within a block of the FastTrak.

Mailing Address

A professional address for all of your business needs.

Storage Space

Keep your belongings safe in accessible locker space. Secure and large enough to hold whatever you need.

Community Cafe

Artisan coffee, tea and snacks for a short break or take it to-go

Meeting Rooms

Make use of the perfect location for intimate business meetings, lectures and presentations.

Podcast Studio

Take advantage of our inventory of audio equipment, post-production and content development services.

Changing Rooms

Conveniently get ready for fitness in our changing rooms equipped with showers and full-length mirrors.

Massage Therapy

Get in touch with the health benefits of body-work therapy in our Restoration Rooms for massage tables.

The Chapel

Practice uninterrupted meditation at your leisure in a quiet, closed-off atmosphere.


Expand your knowledge in our resource center  with an extensive literary collection.

Yoga and Dance Studio

Host or join a yoga, fitness and dance class in our spacious fitness studios equipped with wall mirrors and mats.

Community Garden

Find your perfect patch of land to harvest plants in a garden plot designated just for you.

Exhibition Space

Showcase your creative works in one of our many well-lit rooms designed for displaying art.

The 224 Network

Promote your brand through The 224 Network with our Member Wall and Multi-Media Profile.

Leadership Team

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Rev. F. Lydell Brown

President & CEO

A nationally recognized leader in community organizing and clergy engagement, Rev. F. Lydell Brown has served as Chief Operating Officer of The Conference of Churches for 20 years. In April 2022, he transitioned from [Chief Operations Officer] into the role of [Interim CEO], where he will assume The Executive Directorship of The Conference of Churches, and all of its programs. In December of 2022 He was appointed as permanent President & CEO by the board of directors.

An ordained minister, Rev. Brown has served as a pastor for more than 30 years. Presently, he serves as the pastor and founder of Burning Bush Family Life Center. Rev. Brown is a graduate of the University of Phoenix, the Hartford Seminary Black Ministries Program, and the Yale Clergy Scholar program; he is also a highly skilled professional in facilities management and operations, and a nationally known community organizer. Rev Brown has also served on many boards, Community Partners in Action, The North End Catholic Charities of Hartford, President and Founder of The Concerned Black Clergy Council of Waterbury just to name a few.

During his time with The Conference of Churches, Rev. Brown has been pivotal in helping to update and expand the organization’s mission toward becoming a more inclusive, community driven organization. Rev. Brown assisted in the development of the 224 EcoSpace- a premier arts, health and wellness center in Hartford and a nationally recognized model of creative social enterprise for The Conference of Churches. Described as the first of its kind in the nation, the facility is “more than a traditional gallery, co-working space & technical assistance for start-up businesses, yoga, dance studio and performance sanctuary. We combine them all within our 30,000 square foot community of possibilities.

Tamara Brown

Office Manager

“I'm Tamara Brown a.k.a Tamara Knows Taxes. I joined The 224 in April 2022 as the Office Manager and Bookkeeper. Prior to that, I worked in a corporate office for over 20 years; during, I became a professional tax preparer and earned my bachelor degree in accounting. I’ve been known to wear many hats including self-published author, furniture upcycler, and home improvement D.I.Y’er.

I love being at the 224 because I'm able to use my years of experience in a space that's for small business owners and creatives like myself. In addition to being the office manager, I host events to help entrepreneurs understand bookkeeping and taxes.”

Andre Rochester

Program Director

Andre Rochester is a Fine Artist from the Greater Hartford region of Connecticut. He studiedillustration at the University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts and completed his BA inStudio Art at Charter Oak State College. He also earned a MS in Organizational Leadershipfrom Quinnipiac University.

Andre makes statements for which words are not enough, highlighting underlying emotionsconnected to his subjects. It is a combination of portraiture and conceptual works linked bynarratives of his own experiences. His art is a tool for healing and a catalyst for connection-letting people know they are not alone.

Andre is an inaugural Artist of Color Accelerate Fellow, partnered with The Amistad Centerat Wadsworth Atheneum, Leadership Greater Hartford- 2021 Quest Program Alum, GreaterHartford Arts Council 2022 New Voices Fellow, and 2022-23 National Leaders of ColorFellow- representing CT for the New England Foundation for The Arts.Andre is a board member at Windsor Art Center and the Connecticut Arts Alliance as wellas a Board Elector at Wadsworth Atheneum. He has also served on the City of HartfordCommission on Cultural Affairs. Andre coaches emerging artists, encouraging them todevelop their craft with a focus on professionalism and business acumen. He believes thatwith every step forward, we must make room for others to join us.

Board of Directors

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Mary Crean

Executive & Governance Committee

MARY CREAN, a Digital Marketing Director at Nassau Financial Group. Curiosity, persistence, and the desire to help others have afforded Mary a fulfilling and diverse career in business. Mary began her professional journey as a serial entrepreneur most notably in health and fitness, transforming people’s lives one at a time. Nonprofit executive leadership is where she spent the next decade helping people from marginalized communities work toward upward mobility. Her love of digging into marketing problems and solving them with technology led her to join the marketing team at Nassau Financial Group. She is a licensed insurance agent. Mary holds a BS in Nutrition from the University of Saint Joseph and an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from Post University.

Isaias Diaz, Esq

Vice President
Executive & Governance Committee

ISAIAS T. DIAZ is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Connecticut. Attorney Diaz was raised and baptized in the Spanish Pentecostal church. He served as Chairman of the State of Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission for four years until completing his term in December of 2013. While Chairman, his task was to make legislation to help alleviate the social ills suffered by Latinos statewide. He has been involved in government, community, and policy work since he was 19. He also trains law students in trial advocacy every year at the Quinnipiac School of Law. Attorney Diaz is a native of the north end of Waterbury, where he was born and raised. He has also been involved in ministry for the past 20 years and is currently a minister at Iglesia De Dios Mision Contra Murallas.

Spencer T. Clayton, Ph.D.

Executive & Finance Committee

SPENCER T. CLAYTON, Ph.D. is a 2005 graduate of Yale College (B.A. Psychology) and a 2008 graduate of Yale Divinity School (M.Div). During his time at Yale Divinity School, he worked as an intern with The Conference of Churches. Spencer is currently the Senior Pastor of Your Will Christian Ministries, the church that he helped to launch in 2010. In 2019, Spencer graduated with a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from Rutgers University in Camden, NJ. His dissertation was about the interaction between government policy and gentrification as examined though a case study of Philadelphia’s use of residential tax abatements between 2000 and 2010. Spencer currently works for the State of New Jersey was a Research Economist. He is primarily responsible for the calculation and distribution of state aid. Outside of work, Spencer serves as the National Treasurer for Gamma Phi Delta Christian Fraternity, Inc and hosts the Not Your Black Friends Podcast with his wife Tia Burroughs Clayton. In his spare time, Spencer enjoys singing, writing songs, and spending time at home with his wife Tia and their cat Ollie.

Dr. Charles Turner, Pastor

Executive & Finance Committee

DR. CHARLES TURNER is Pastor of New Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, TX. He is a transformative leader guiding the congregation through revitalization with a focus on justice, education, small groups, underserved neighborhoods, and spiritual growth. In addition to his ministerial training, he has a background in economic and community development. Dr. Turner is a proud graduate of Tennessee State University (BBA), Vanderbilt Divinity School (M.Div.) and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (D.Min.). Among many professional roles he serves as Board Chair, Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation and is instrumental to making Fifth Ward in Houston a better place to live, work, and play. He is also active with The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) dedicated to developing power and leadership among citizens to transform the city. Dr. Turner believes that people need help with their immediate reality while seeking understanding of ultimate reality. It is at this intersection Dr. Turner finds joy partnering with people on this journey toward reaching their full potential as a “human being” and not just “humans doing.” As he lives out his calling Dr. Turner has the hope that in some way, he can assist in people lives being made better forever.

J Richard Byrd

Board Member
Marketing & Communications Committee

J. RICHARD BYRD is a serial entrepreneur andinvestor focused on the marketing, branding, e-commerce, and digital marketingindustries. He is the CEO of The ByrdOlogy Group, LLC - A holding company headquartered in Charlotte NC.

Rev. Jaimie D Crumley

Board Member
Development & Fundraising Committee

REV. JAIMIE D. CRUMLEY (she, her, hers) is a 2012 graduate of Wellesley College, where she majored in International Relations and Religion. She earned her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School in 2015 and her Master of Sacred Theology (also from Yale) in 2016. Jaimie is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Gender Studies at UCLA. She is currently working on her dissertation about free, black Christian women’s political witness in nineteenth-century Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Jaimie serves as the Virtual Ministry Associate at the First Baptist Church in Beverly, MA. An experienced blogger and podcast host, Jaimie enjoys using the internet to enhance the mission and ministry of The Church. She also loves working with children and youth as they explore their faith. Jaimie lives in Inglewood, California with her husband, Luke Hardman, their cats, Amber and Riker, and their dog, Malia.

Pablo Pita

Board Member
Marketing & Communications Committee

With more than 20 years of experience working with national brands to deliver game-changing strategies that drive results, build consensus and validate opportunities, Paul Pita brings the focus of an entrepreneur, the resources of seasoned marketer and the creativity of a brand strategist to every client project.
Paul’s deep branding expertise, unique strategic approach to marketing and ability to bring people together to solve challenges creates positive change for companies – internally and externally.
Paul believes that process truly matters. His workshops are carefully crafted to remove subjectivity and marketing fragmentation – replacing dischord with alignment and a clear path forward. In order to be a game-changing brand, you must understand your values and revenue patterns and balance them with the human behavior of your team, clients and stakeholders.
And in today’s world, diversity and inclusion is more important than ever before. As a first generation Cuban-American, Paul understands this first-hand. That’s why a big part of his work centers around helping brands identify and reach diverse audiences.

Rev. Tamara Morland

Board Member
Development & Fundraising Committee

The Rev. Tamara Moreland serves as Senior Pastor of the historic First
Congregational Church in Norwalk, CT, established in 1652. Before assuming this position, she worked as an Area Conference Minister for ten years in the United Church of Christ (UCC) with oversight of 105 churches and seven regional associations. Her primary responsibilities included ordination preparation, clergy development, boundary training, coaching, and search and call. With over 20+ years of professional experience in higher education and non-profit organizations, Rev. Moreland currently uses her experience to focus on strategic partnerships in social enterprise and community engagement. She is a trustee at Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School, serves on the board of directors of the Conference of Churches (224 EcoSpace), and is a former chair of the President’s Advisory Council on DEI at the University of Hartford. Regarding educational background, Rev. Moreland has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Hartford and a Master of Divinity from The Yale Divinity School.

Sandra Ward

Board Member
Development & Fundraising Committee

Sandra Ward is an executive manager with over 25 years of experience in nonprofit and public-sector environments; including positive youth development programs, K-12 and higher education, psychiatric treatment settings, and cultural arts programs. She holds master’s degrees in both cultural anthropology and social work, combining these disciplines to develop collaborative partnerships; and to design and launch innovative community-based and culturally relevant initiatives in Hartford, CT. Some of these initiatives include community schools, youth violence intervention programs, and training institutes for youth development professionals and middle-management human service professionals. Ms. Ward was the founding director of the Human Services Program at Goodwin University in East Hartford, CT, where she now serves as Assistant Vice President for Advancement. Sandra’s most prized professional accomplishment is acting as a mentor and supporting others to learn, accomplish and be all that they can be.

Yvonne Davis

Board Member
Development & Fundraising Committee

Yvonne Davis is the CEO of DAVIS Communications where she thrives in providing services such as, Political Consulting, Public Relations, Project Management, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development. She is a sought-out Foreign Policy News Analyst.

Ellen Last

Board Member

Ellen Last is a Director at Slalom, a purpose-led global business and technology focused consulting company. She is a customer experience and product leader with 15 years of experience in Product Management, Design Thinking and Innovation. Ellen has extensive experience designing and delivering full user experiences and applications across several industries. With a passion for human-centered solutions, Ellen delights in the opportunity to help teams collaborate and break new ground. She holds a MA from Columbia University and a BA from Union College.

Darryl E. Moss

Board Member

Darryl E Moss serves as the Publisher of The Metro Record Media & Executive Director of AFRO RENAISSANCE ARTS SOCIETY both of Springfield MA.        He has a strong background in branding and identity; Negotiation; Marketing and Promotions; Publishing; and Project Management. He is also an accomplished and skilled professional in the area of youth development, prevention & intervention program development. An excellent grant writer and community organizer. One of his legacies is he is the founder of the renown Springfield Indie Soul Festival and worked with a team to find the Springfield Caribbean Carnival. Lastly, he is an accomplished performance poet and writer, having authored two books: She Watches Me Through My Words, and A Different Kind of Blues.

Delano Paul

Board Member

Delano Paul has 16 years’ experience working in the Employee Benefits space with PPLSI the home of Legalshield and IDshield. He also works with Small Businesses and aspiring Entrepreneurs. He has a unique skill set where he can help both non-profit and for-profit businesses save time and money while allowing them to operate like a Fortune 500 company on a small business budget. Delano is a devoted Christian, Family man, Community advocate, and a Published author. He is a highly requested speaker with a genuine heart to help Small Businesses, Employees and Families Nationwide.