The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the community foundation for 29 communities in Greater Hartford, awarded more than $34.5 million in grants to the region's nonprofit agencies and educational institutions in 2017.
"At a time when our state and many of our communities face significant fiscal challenges, the Hartford Foundation was able once again to award a record breaking 2,385 grants amounting to over $34.5 million this past year," said Hartford Foundation president Jay Williams. "We continue to look for ways to work together with our donors, nonprofits, and community partners to ensure Greater Hartford residents have access to opportunities that enrich their lives and secure a better future for our region."
According to the latest estimated, unaudited numbers, the Foundation ended 2017 with total assets of $1.04 billion in 1,208 funds. The Foundation received gifts totaling $16.7 million, opened 55 new funds, and received 1,918 individual gifts, the highest number in the Foundation's history. Since its founding in 1925, the Foundation has awarded more than $720 million in grants.
"Greater Hartford is fortunate to have so many generous residents who truly want to make a lasting difference in their community," Williams said. "The historic number of new donor funds and individual gifts is a testament to our donors' level of commitment to the region and the work the Hartford Foundation supports."
The Foundation's 2017 grantmaking was based on the recognition that a vibrant and strong Greater Hartford region requires that all residents, especially those with the greatest need, have equitable access to opportunities to achieve and flourish. In order to make this possible, the Foundation provided support to nonprofit and public entities that provide the supports and services our neighbors need to thrive.
The Hartford Foundation 2017 grant investments included:
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Below are some examples of grants for a wide variety of activities that support our residents and create more vibrant communities in Greater Hartford.
- The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy was awarded a two-year, $70,000 Hartford Foundation grant to support the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative. Foundation funds will be used as part of a pool to support critical early childhood projects. The Early Childhood Funders are a coordinated grantmaking community committed to shared goals and common strategies for young children to improve child and family outcomes and increase attention to the importance of the early years.
- Until recent years, performance gaps between Bloomfield Public Schools and other schools spanned between 19 and 35 percentage points in reading, and 35 to 37 percentage points in math. Under Superintendent James Thompson however, Bloomfield is experiencing a striking turnaround. One aspect has been a new afterschool program offered to select grades in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford. With the support of the Hartford Foundation, Bloomfield students are offered a host of supplemental and fun learning experiences at the end of the regular school day and throughout the summer in subjects such as science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics. In 2017, the Hartford Foundation awarded $493,000 in grants to Bloomfield Public Schools and Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford to expand these efforts. The results and Bloomfield's future plans are bold and impressive. Dr. Thompson now hopes to make these types of opportunities available to every child in the district.
- The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving awarded a $208,103 grant to the UConn Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP), a school leadership program based at the Neag School that prepares highly qualified school administrators in Connecticut. The purpose of the project is to infuse 10 hours of research-based content in the areas of family, school, and community partnerships into the UCAPP curriculum. The project seeks to build the capacity of practicing school administrators and to expand statewide knowledge of family, school, and community partnership practices as a means of supporting student achievement.
- As nonprofit leaders retire, new, qualified leaders are needed to take the reins. Public Allies Connecticut provides a training ground for young leaders (ages 18 to 30) to develop their skills within a local nonprofit. To support this effort, the Hartford Foundation awarded a two-year, $55,000 grant to Public Allies to recruit and provide 10-month apprenticeship opportunities for young adults in Hartford.
Family and Social Services
- In its second year as a member of the Immigration Strategic Funders Collaborative, the Hartford Foundation awarded six grants totaling $109,835 to support the network of immigration providers in the Hartford region with distributing information, conducting outreach events, offering legal clinics for pathway screening, providing educational support for students and educators, and delivering leadership workshops/youth meetings for undocumented youth. Three of the grants went to Hartford Public Library, Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, and Connecticut Students for a Dream to serve as Hub organizations that have the added role of working with all our region's immigrant-serving organizations to coordinate services across our region.
- The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving awarded MARC, Inc. of Manchester $275,000 in general operating support to better serve its program participants with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Manchester and surrounding towns. MARC will use the funds to expand its in-home supports, transportation services, community-based job opportunities, and smart home technology. These investments will promote independence among persons with disabilities, increase efficiency and reduce costs, helping MARC to manage fluctuations in state funding.
- The Vernon Community Network (VCN) received one of the Hartford Foundation's first Small Agency Grants of $7,500 to support the establishment of a Neighborhood Advocates program. Neighborhood Advocates are community members who are trained to assist families by connecting them to appropriate community resources. VCN will use the dollars to contract with a part-time coordinator who will lead efforts to recruit and train Neighborhood Advocates as well as provide periodic coordination and review of the program during its first year.
Community and Economic Development
- Hartford's Community Development Corporations (CDC) have worked to rehabilitate neighborhood properties, helping revitalize the community for Hartford residents. Three of Hartford's CDCs, Mutual Housing Association of Greater Hartford, Northend Neighborhood Association (NINA) and Sheldon Oak Central provide vital access to high quality, affordable housing that not only improves the lives of residents but also stabilizes neighborhoods and attracts businesses. Hartford's CDCs benefit from operating support and organizational development services provided by the Hartford Neighborhood Development Support Collaborative (HNDSC), administered by LISC Hartford. In an effort to continue and broaden this work, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving approved a two-year, $440,000 grant to LISC Hartford to continue the Hartford Neighborhood Development Support Collaborative's mission.
- In an effort to enable resident and business access to the internet, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is awarding a three-year, $297,925 Innovation Grant to the Hartford Public Library. This new project will support two innovative strategies to narrow the digital divide in Hartford, with a focus on Hartford's North end. The "Crossroads to Connectivity" project will allow low-income adults currently enrolled in a high school diploma or certificate training program to borrow a digital device and Wi-Fi hotspot from the library (along with training on how to use it). A second strategy will use TV White Space technology to bring broadband access to Hartford's North end, where slow and unreliable access stymies the success of small, locally-owned businesses. TV White Space technology, also known as "super Wi-Fi," performs much like regular Wi-Fi, but uses broadcasting wavelength frequencies to cover greater distances than wireless hot spots or cellular service.
- The Hartford Student Internship Plan (HSIP), a partnership with Hartford Public Schools, Capital Workforce Partners, the City of Hartford, MetroHartford Alliance and CBIA, offers project-based learning experiences and internships to juniors and seniors in high school. Through this program, students participate in mock interviews, resume development and other workforce readiness training prior to gaining actual work experience. Internship placements are aligned to student interest and/or the theme of the high school. Despite reductions in municipal support, the Hartford Student Internship Program continues to offer internship opportunities to 150 Hartford students thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Pubic Giving.
- The Healthy Eyes Alliance was awarded a two-year, $67,610 grant to support its Healthy Eyes for Hartford Kids Project. Traditional vision screening tools such as eye charts and depth perception screenings are particularly difficult for pre-school children who have yet to develop necessary communication skills. The Healthy Eyes Alliance, the only nonprofit in the Tri-State region dedicated to the prevention of blindness, employs a sophisticated screening tool – the Welch-Allyn Sure Sight Screener 14000/Spot Vision Screener – to detect problems without relying on the children's communication. Through the project, sight difficulties will be detected and medical follow-up provided at no cost to the children's families.
- Greater Hartford Arts Council (GHAC) received $500,000 in grants from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to support Hartford arts and heritage organizations (Ignition grants), major cultural events in Greater Hartford (Hartford Events grants), and infrastructure costs at the GHAC. Hartford Events grants support events including foundational cultural programs such as First Night and the Riverfront Recapture RiverFest, activities that celebrate the city's many cultural communities and traditions, as well as the production of musical, theater and performance pieces, arts and cultural activities throughout the City including festivals, concerts, and parades. Ignition grants target capacity-building to arts and heritage organizations by supporting projects that will enhance the organizations' ability to raise funds, improve outreach, and build audiences.
- The S.A Johnson Family Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving awarded a grant of $1,200 to the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center to support the costs for loom parts and repairs, and costs related to equipment and supplies for the new weaving center in Manchester, Connecticut.
- Founded in 1978, Hartford Food System (HFS) has been dedicated to finding long-term solutions for access to affordable and healthy food in the city of Hartford. In recognition of its vital work, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving awarded Hartford Food Systems a General Operating Support grant of $109,500 over three years to support the implementation of key objectives within its new strategic plan. The new strategic goals include: enhancing partnerships and engaging deeply with community members and organizations to achieve constituent-responsive and comprehensive solutions to food system issues; using best practices and research findings to provide effective programming; being open to new challenges in a changing food environment; and becoming recognized as a creative and competent food security organization.
- The Nonprofit Support Program (NSP) helps strengthen nonprofit organizations in our region by providing tools and knowledge for agencies to build strong boards, plan for their futures, evaluate programs, improve finances and update technology. In 2017, 22 directors attended the Executive Management Institute, 80 nonprofit staff and board members across 16 agencies completed the Board Leadership Program, 14 nonprofit teams completed the Building Evaluation Capacity Program, 23 nonprofit teams received strategic technology training, and 14 CEOs participated in Leaders Circle programs. In addition, 84 grants totaling $1.97 million were awarded to support technical assistance (such as strategic planning and board development), strategic technology, financial management, and evaluation within our local nonprofits. Six nonprofit organizations participated in NSP's executive transition support program including CT Main Street Center, Foodshare, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Our Piece of the Pie, Women's League and the YWCA Hartford Region with five successfully hiring new CEOs and the sixth one in the process of hiring a new leader. In total, more than 230 area nonprofits were supported by NSP during the year.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $720 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.