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Join community-minded people in a hands-on philanthropy experience that’s making an impact throughout Greater Hartford.


Interested in learning about the critical issues facing our region, meeting new people who share your commitment, and determining grants to help tackle those issues?

The Catalyst Endowment Fund provides that opportunity. 

Since 1993, when a small group of volunteers came together to create the fund, this Giving Circle has worked together to make a difference in Greater Hartford. The fund’s endowment is now more than $1 million, and the Circle has awarded more than $750,000 to dozens of nonprofits.

Replicated across the country and in the United Kingdom, the Foundation's Catalyst Endowment Fund is a great way to try a new form of philanthropy.

How does it work?

“The Catalyst Endowment Fund brings people together from all over the region to learn about critical issues and to pool their contributions to make a real difference.” -- Bob White, local attorney and long-time Catalyst member

 

Catalyst members attend three meetings each year.

At the first two, members learn about a topic they have chosen and hear about promising programs that are addressing the issue in our community. Past topics have ranged from job training for veterans, to arts in education, to early childhood literacy.

 

Members review grant applications from area nonprofits.

At the final meeting, members vote on which programs to fund.

 

Members make a contribution to the fund on a yearly basis.

A minimum contribution of $500, or $250 if you are a first-time member, is required to vote at the grant meeting. Contributions are tax deductible.

 

Are you ready to join people from across the region who share the values of thoughtful giving?

Join Catalyst online or print this form to mail in with your check. Member information will be sent to you shortly.

Catalyst Topics Since 1993

2017 Family Economic Security: Career Pathways 

We know the importance of earning family-sustaining wages to overall wellbeing and economic security in our region. This year, Catalyst Endowment Fund members will learn about programs that integrate education, job training and support services for adults, as well as why more employers do not participate in employment partnerships, and what needs to change.

Click here for more information and 2017 meeting dates

2016 Addressing the Mental Health Challenge 

Catalyst members learned about issues and challenges surrounding mental health and its prevalence in our communities. They also learned about the importance of raising awareness and addressing the stigma of mental illness.

A $50,000 grant was awarded to:

  • The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center/Injury Prevention Center for mental and behavioral health services for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence and residing at Hartford Interval House.
2015 Preventing Harm: Domestic Violence and the Effect on our Community 

Catalyst members learned about the impact of domestic violence on children and families, and voted to make these grants to support programs that address the impact on their emotional, behavioral and physical health, and help them live healthier, happier and more stable lives.

$46,249 in grants were awarded to:

  • Hartford’s Interval House to implement an enhanced version of the Moms’ Club and Kids’ Club offered at its facility.
  • Prudence Crandall Center to integrate the evidence-based Kids’ Club model into its existing Children’s Services program and to help build relationships with professionals in the community to improve long-term outcomes for the children and families it serves.

We were fortunate to partner with the Petit Family Foundation this year. After hearing the presentations from Connecticut providers serving families impacted by domestic violence, the Petit Family Foundation provided an additional $5,000 to each of the selected finalists.

2014 Learn to Read, Read to Learn 

Learn to Read, Read to Learn, concentrated on efforts to ensure that children learn to read competently at grade level by third grade, a key benchmark for future academic success.

$49,800 in grants were awarded to:

  • East Hartford Child, Inc. to implement a two-generation early literacy program.
  • Family Life Education, Inc. to develop, pilot and refine a young child cognitive learning component as part of its planned Children’s Fitness/ Wellness Center’s child development facility.
2013 ARTS in Educational Achievement 

Research indicates that integrating the arts into interdisciplinary curriculum provides students with opportunities to become more engaged with their own learning. Arts integration helps students improve academic performance and, in conjunction with teaching core subjects, promotes comprehension, retention, and critical thinking.

$44,000 in grants were awarded to:

  • Artists Collective for the Arts Integration and Meaningful Learning Project
  • HartBeat Ensemble for the Arts-Based Curriculum Integration
  • Judy Dworin Performance Project for Moving Matters!
2012 Beyond Basic Training: Job Readiness for Veterans 

Catalyst members learned how veterans returning home are faced with multiple barriers preventing them from entering into the workforce – a depressed economy, fewer jobs, and lack of knowledge to access educational/training programs. Many veterans return with a disability, either emotional and/or physical, which impedes their employability and often leads to homelessness.

A $50,000 grant was awarded to:

  • The Chrysalis Center, in partnership with Journey Home, for a project to provide homeless military veterans in Greater Hartford with job training and vital support services.
2011 Financial Literacy: Building a Better Future 

Catalyst members explored how they can help provide more people with the necessary tools to make sound financial decisions on a daily and long term basis.

A $50,000 grant was awarded to:

  • Co-opportunity, Inc. for a pilot project providing financial literacy education and coaching for parents at Burr School in Hartford.
2010 New Face of Homelessness 

Catalyst Endowment Fund members learned about the profound effects the recession and housing crisis have had on homeless people in Greater Hartford.

A $45,000 grant was awarded to:

  • Journey Home for its Moving On Initiative, a pilot program that will help 40 stable tenants of supportive housing to move to permanent affordable housing, allowing access to the vacated supportive housing for 40 vulnerable individuals.
2009 Healthy Food for Everyone 

Catalyst members learned about the availability of healthy food in Greater Hartford and how deficiencies in the food environment have a clear impact on the well-being of a community.

$50,000 in grants was awarded to:

  • Hartford Food System – to expand outreach of the Healthy Food Retailer Initiative.
  • Billings Forge Community Works – to expand its Farmers’ Market to a year-round program including nutritional workshops and healthy food demonstrations.
2008 Access to Health Services: Who is Missing Out and Why? 

Even if everyone had a way to pay for health services, what barriers exist that challenge people from getting proper care?

$50,000 in grants was awarded to:

  • The Malta House of Care – to help expand free health care services of its mobile clinic.
  • University of Connecticut’s Connecticut Health Education Center – to establish a Healthy Hartford-Healthy Eating Project to provide preventive and therapeutic nutrition and healthy lifestyle programming to the community.
2007 Truancy: A Family and Community Matter 

Members learned about truancy, and explored a variety of factors that affect students and their attendance in school.

$50,000 in grants was awarded to:

  • Hands on Hartford – to support expansion of the Family School Connection program.
  • Center for Children’s Advocacy – to enhance the Truancy Court Prevention Project.
2006 Literacy in Greater Hartford 

Members learned about local literacy levels, the implications these have for families and the region, and best practices for addressing our area’s particular challenges.

$50,000 in grants was awarded to:

  • Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford for educational technology.
  • Hartford Public Library to support computer-assisted literacy instruction for the homeless.
2005 Metropatterns: Population and Land Use Trends Shaping Greater Hartford – Part 2 

Members continued to explore how growth patterns affect rural, suburban and urban communities, and how to work together as a region for mutual benefit.

$45,000 in grants was awarded to:

  • Corporation for Supportive Housing, to create permanent supportive housing, and for a supportive housing Small Towns Project resource toolkit.
  • Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG), on behalf of the Capitol Region Partnership, for a regional indicators project.
  • 1000 Friends, to support its Grow Smart Connecticut Project.
2004 Metropatterns: Population and Land Use Trends Shaping Greater Hartford – Part 1 

Quality-of-life factors are related to the way our state is growing. The group learned about the challenging issues raised by the Metropatterns Report, a study published by the CenterEdge Coalition on land use, taxation, and concentrations of wealth and poverty in the region.

$45,000 in grants was awarded to:

  • Corporation for Supportive Housing for the Next Step Initiative.
  • Connecticut Public Broadcasting, through CPTV, towards a production entitled “Regionalism: A Commitment to Place.”
2003 Capitalizing on Hartford’s Strengths 

Building on last year’s topic, members focused on our capital city’s strengths. What are they? How can we make the most of these successes to keep Hartford and our region moving forward?

$40,000 in grants was awarded to:

  • The Greater Hartford Arts Council – Comprehensive Community Calendar.
  • Hartford Economic Development Commission – Continued Support of the Hartford 2000/CREN Neighborhood Leadership Training Institute and Alumni Network.
2002 The Power of Perception: How Attitudes Affect Progress in Greater Hartford 

Catalyst examined the commonly held perceptions of our region, and how perceptions affect progress. They learned how a region’s identity is formed, and how best to promote positive thinking.

$40,000 in grants was awarded to:

  • MetroHartford Alliance – the Hartford Image Project.
  • Hartford Economic Development Commission – Neighborhood Leadership Training Program.
2001 Beyond “The Bishops”: Leadership in Greater Hartford Today and Tomorrow 

Presentations emphasized the challenges involved in developing effective leaders with a range of skills, and that leadership must occur in institutions and organizations, and on an individual level.

$35,000 in grants was awarded to:

  • Hartford Economic Development Commission – Neighborhood Leadership Development Program.
  • Capitol Region Council of Governments – regional activities coordinated with The Gathering Place.
2000 Inside Hartford’s Schools 

Critical issues facing the Hartford public school system were the focus. Members met with school leaders and parents to learn more about the issues, unpublicized strengths, and plans for the future of the Hartford Schools.

$30,000 in grants was given to:

  • Hartford Consortium for Higher Education – Career Beginnings Program.
  • Hartford School Readiness Council – Family Development Training and Credentialing Program.
1999 Inside Hartford’s Neighborhoods 

Building on the 1998 topic, Catalyst members focused on neighborhoods. They toured North Hartford neighborhoods and discussed what was happening throughout the city.

$25,000 in grants was made to:

  • Capital Community College – scholarship funds.
  • Hartford Areas Rally Together (HART) – HOME program.
  • McDecca Child Care Center – computer labs project.
1998 Revitalizing Our Region: The People, Plans and Projects 

Economic revitalization efforts were examined at the city, neighborhood, and regional levels. Members explored ways in which programs and capital expenditures impact neighborhood development.

Two grants totaling $15,000 were awarded to:

  • Hartford Areas Rally Together – Home Ownership Made Easy (HOME) Program.
  • Co-Opportunity, Inc. – Young Adults Building a Future Program.
1997 Hartford’s Cultural Heritage: The Impact of Changing Demographic Patterns in Hartford’s Past and Future 

While enriching our lives, Hartford’s ethnic and cultural diversity has also created a number of recurring issues. Reflection on the experiences of early and mid-20th century newcomers inspired Catalyst members to discuss some of the issues still facing our community.

One $12,500 grant was made to:

  • Co-Opportunity, Inc. – Young Adults Building a Future Program (YABAF).
1996 Race in America: National and Local Perspectives 

Catalyst members explored race relations in the Capitol Region and considered grants that would strengthen leadership skills, increase public awareness, provide mentoring and educational support, and encourage urban-suburban public school partnerships.

A $10,000 grant was given to:

  • Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program (CPEP) – mentoring at Rawson and SAND schools.
1995 Children’s Checkup: Current Challenges and New Directions for Children’s Health Care in Hartford 

Members explored children's health issues in the Hartford area. Discussed were key policy trends and the importance of defining "children's health" broadly and within the context of family situations.

A total of $10,000 in grants was awarded to:

  • Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – The Healthy Families Connecticut Program.
  • Hartford Hospital – The Hartford Violence Prevention Project with the RAMBUH Family Center.
1994 Education Reform in Greater Hartford: Current Challenges and Opportunities 

Catalyst members explored ways to help school-age children, including after-school activities, programs for gifted students, and new enhancements.

Grants totaling $10,000 were awarded to:

  • Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program (CPEP).
  • Hartford Public Schools – Positive After-School Children’s Athletic Leadership Process.
  • Hartford Public Schools – Humanities Alliance Curriculum Library Acquisitions.
1993 Children at Risk: What Do They Face and What Can We Do? 

In Catalyst’s first year, 74 founding members chose to learn about children considered to be “at risk”, and then support programs effectively helping those children.

Two grants totaling $10,000 were made to:

  • Hartford Action Plan on Infant Health – The Always on Saturday Program at Mi Casa.
  • La Casa de Puerto Rico – The El Futuro en Nuestras Manos Mentoring Program.

LATEST CATALYST ENDOWMENT FUND UPDATES
Catalyst Endowment Fund: 2017 Topic

Information about this year's Catalyst Fund topic, plus meeting dates. [...]

Injury Prevention Center Receives Grant to Help Families Impacted by Domestic Violence

Catalyst Endowment Fund to award $50,000 grant to address the mental health consequences of exposure to trauma [...]

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