In response to the public health and economic crises that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving launched coordinated fundraising and emergency grantmaking functions in March 2020.

Grant Highlights

  • Small Business Emergency Micro Grant Program: In partnership with the City of Hartford, Capital for Change, Travelers, Bank of America, HEDCO, and others, this program awarded grants averaging $7,500 to neighborhood businesses, primarily those owned by women and people of color, that struggled to remain viable during COVID.
  • Arts and Culture Institution Grants: The Foundation supported the reopening of arts and culture institutions in targeted ways, including a partnership with the Greater Hartford Arts Council to support PPE purchases and a grant to ScholarScripts for reopening capacity building activities.
  • Vaccine Education and Outreach: In response to disparities in vaccination, the Foundation awarded 10 grants totaling $826,545 to municipal health departments, federally qualified health centers and hospitals serving areas of Greater Hartford with the largest numbers of people of color for enhanced outreach and partnership with trusted providers.
  • Hispanic Health Council Grant: A $100,000 grant to the Hispanic Health Council directly supported undocumented families that were not eligible to receive stimulus or other benefits offered throughout the pandemic.
  • Supporting College Student Success During COVID-19 (Report):  The Foundation awarded short-duration grants to community colleges and affiliated local organizations to address and support community college student retention during the 2020/21 academic year. To understand the impact of these grants during the pandemic, the Foundation contracted an evaluation team from Trinity College to provide insights as the Foundation hones its approach to postsecondary grant-making. 


Phase I responded to immediate needs created as a result of the pandemic and community lockdowns. Grants provided funding for emergency basic human needs, health and safety of vulnerable populations and emergency operating support to critical nonprofits and neighborhood small businesses.

Phase II broadened types of nonprofits eligible to receive grants beyond basic human needs. This funding focused on the costs associated with reopening safely.

Phase III narrowed the Fund’s grantmaking focus to vaccine equity and learning loss, while the Foundation’s regular grantmaking addressed recovery from the pandemic.


  • Elements of our COVID-19 grantmaking process made funding more accessible to nonprofits, especially smaller organizations that we did not have relationships with prior to the pandemic. The Foundation has incorporated several of these elements (streamlined application process, publicly available rubrics, trust-based processes, and more) in our general grantmaking and we continue to learn from our crisis response.
  • The Foundation continues to explore our unique role in filling funding gaps, with an eye towards equity, as federal recovery dollars make their way into our communities.

Interested in learning more? Click here to access the full report and click here to access the report brief.