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Key policies


In addition to meeting the basic guidelines, grantseekers should be aware of the following key policies:

Proposals for Statewide Projects 

The Hartford Foundation makes grants to benefit the residents of the 29-town Capitol Region. Proposals for statewide projects may be considered when there is a substantial benefit to residents in our funding region. In these cases, the Foundation’s support would be in proportion to the anticipated benefit for residents of the Capitol Region.

Governance Diversity  

To further its goal of improving the quality of life for all area residents, the Foundation is committed to improved relations among all groups in the Capitol Region, and ensuring that historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups help shape the decisions that affect them. The Foundation expects agencies that serve a broad spectrum of the population to have boards and staff that reflect that diversity. The extent to which an agency’s board and staff reflect diversity of the area and population served are critical factors in reviewing any grant request. 

Anti-Discrimination 

Applicant agencies must confirm that they do not discriminate against any person or group of persons on the basis of race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability or physical disability (including, but not limited to, blindness or deafness), pregnancy, genetic information, sexual orientation, and/or any other characteristic protected under federal, state and/or local laws.

Frequency and Duration of Grants 

In general, organizations that have received a regular grant must wait three years from the date of the award before they are eligible to receive another regular grant. This policy is known as the “Three-Year Rule.”

An assessment period of up to six months is required after the close of a regular three-year grant. Upon completion of a three-year grant, an organization must submit a final expenditure report and a final narrative report describing project outcomes for Foundation review and approval prior to approaching the Foundation for another grant.

Exceptions to this policy include:

  • Grants for Summer Programs, Planning, and Executive Searches;
  • Grants to agencies acting as a fiscal agent/sponsor and receiving little to no direct benefit;
  • Collaborative grants;
  • Nonprofit Support Program grants, loans through the Nonprofit Loan Fund; and
  • Grants from restricted funds.
Overhead and Indirect Costs 

The Foundation will support overhead costs that can reasonably be allocated to the proposed project. For example, the Foundation may fund a portion of the project’s indirect costs, such as staff development, fundraising, or general occupancy. For most project grants, such indirect costs will not be funded at more than 25 percent of the proposed project’s total cost. For capital grants, an appropriate portion of indirect costs will be considered on a case-by-case basis to reflect reasonable expenses associated with completing the proposed capital project.

Public Policy Grantmaking 

While the Foundation has ventured into the public policy arena and has registered as a lobbyist, it has intentionally decided to limit the scope to areas of priority and expertise. While the Foundation may fund administrative lobbying, as defined by Connecticut law, it will only do so on issues that advance the Foundation’s priority areas.  These activities may include convening, conducting or funding research and analysis, and collaborative advocacy. The Foundation continues not to fund legislative lobbying and does not support or oppose candidates for public office or make expenditures related to election ballots.

Size of Grants 

The Foundation encourages applicants to have conversations with program staff about an appropriate request amount prior to submitting an application. Applicants should request an amount that meets the needs of the project and at a level that is consistent with the organization’s capacity and in alignment with other anticipated or received support. Foundation staff and board members carefully consider each application and may award an amount different than that requested by an applicant. 

What We Do Not Fund 

The Foundation does not make grants to:

  • Support sectarian or religious activities
  • Support the operations of independent schools
  • Support a program at a single school
  • Individuals
  • Private foundations
  • Endowments or memorials
  • Support direct or grass-roots lobbying efforts
  • Support conferences, research, or informational activities on topics that are primarily national or international in perspective
  • Federal, state, or municipal agencies or departments supported by taxation except in selected cases when Foundation initiatives or special projects are involved.
  • Support sponsorship of one-time events, except in selected cases when Foundation initiatives or special projects are involved
  • Support liquidation of obligations previously incurred 
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