Experience the power and the meaning of giving to the Hartford Foundation.

At the Hartford Foundation, we are continually inspired by the compassion and generosity of our donors throughout the Hartford region.

Kate emery family fund

Kate Emery is known as a business leader, a small business advocate, artist, and philanthropist. In 1986, Kate founded The Walker Group to offer management services of the new microcomputers that were just making their way into businesses. In 2007, she started the nonprofit organization reSET to help other organizations incorporate impact into their business models. Kate and reSET were instrumental in bringing B Corp legislation to Connecticut in 2014 to protect companies that prioritize impact in addition to profits. Five years later, she transformed The Walker Group into a social enterprise, dedicating one-third of its distributed profits to the community. Not one to retire, she “rewired” to focus on painting and on reSET. Kate started the Kate Emery Family Fund, a donor-advised fund at the Hartford Foundation, to support new ideas and nonprofit organizations doing innovative work in our communities to help create a better world for all. Half of all proceeds from paintings sold on KateEmery.com will go to the fund. 


Individual Scholarship Endowed Fund

Richard (Dick) and Terrye Blackstone married in 1943. During World War II, Dick served with the Army in the Pacific, and after he was discharged in 1945, the young couple moved to East Hartford, where they raised three children. They were both well known in town: Terrye was a substitute teacher and active in many civic organizations, including the East Hartford Woman’s Club and the East Hartford Commission on Culture and Fine Arts. Dick served as mayor from 1969 to 1979 and held several jobs in state government before retiring as deputy commissioner for the Department of Human Resources in 1989.

This scholarship was established by their children to honor their parents’ commitment to public service. It supports East Hartford students pursuing a major in the Arts, Political Science or Education, who have been involved with volunteer and/or extracurricular activities, that include public service.

Research with datahaven, first of its kind in the state

Datahaven has been providing access to data on wellbeing, equity, and quality of life to empower the creation of thriving communities as a nonprofit since 1992. They as an organization develop reports, tools, and technical assistance programs to provide information that is useful to local communities.

They are a partner of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, a learning network of independent organizations in 30 cities that share a mission to ensure all communities have access to data and the skills to use information to advance equity and well-being across neighborhoods. They are also involved in initiatives to further the use of high-quality data at a local and statewide level throughout Connecticut.

Their largest program is their Community Wellbeing Survey, The Community Wellbeing Index reports contain more than 70 data graphics across eight chapters. It incorporates federal, state, and local data sources, including the DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey, to describe quality life in towns across the state. DataHaven interviewed thousands of adults across Connecticut to gather information about issues such as public health, economic development, safety, and civic vitality. Results are used by more than 100 partners in state and local government, healthcare, academia, as well as the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

Related to this program, reports covering the entire state, including the Community Index and Connecticut Town Equity Reports, have been released annually throughout the past several years. Those reports include information from over 100 other federal, state, and local data sources.

Opportunities Matter: Dr. RoberT J. Patterson

When he was in high school, Dr. Robert Patterson began searching for scholarships and came across a listing from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. He was awarded a scholarship and attended Georgetown University for his undergraduate studies. Years later, Dr. Patterson became the Chair of the African American Studies Department at his alma mater, where he teaches students to think critically and focus on solving some of our society’s most complex problems.

With the help of the Hartford Foundation, he created The Robert J. Patterson Scholarship Fund to pay forward the opportunities that he had been given. The scholarship will assist students seeking to major in African American Studies, humanities or social justice.

A Symbol of Stability: Acacia Zawadi Fund

Glastonbury resident Shawnee Baldwin spent her career engaging youth from Parks and Recreation programs and the YMCA to youth ministry in many churches. As the Coordinator of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry for 20 years in the Archdiocese of Hartford, Shawnee developed leadership programs that empowered youth and those who work with them. Shawnee currently works part time at the Glastonbury and Wethersfield YMCAs and with the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network. She established the Acacia Zawadi Fund to support the environment, leadership development for youth and young adults and/or inter-religious and interfaith efforts in the region. It is named for the Acacia tree, a symbol of stability and resilience, and the Swahili word for gift, which it what young people are to her.

The donor experience: Jim and Ellie Venneman

Ellie and Jim Venneman generously established an unrestricted fund to honor the memory of their son, David, who died after a long battle with addiction. The Vennemans chose an unrestricted fund in recognition of how society’s needs are constantly changing. The family appreciates that their fund will be managed by qualified professionals, and distributions will be overseen by a Board of Directors who know where the grants are most needed.

Making Giving a Priority: Janice & Kerry Foster

In May 2006, 15-year-old KJ Foster was tragically shot outside his home in a case of mistaken identity. KJ was a model student and star athlete with a “gift of gab, charisma and unselfish attitude.” KJ’s untimely death inspired an outpouring of donations. Kerry Foster, Sr., a Hartford firefighter, his wife Janice, and their family, friends and community established the KJ Foster Scholarship Fund in 2008 to provide annual awards to graduates from public high schools in Hartford.

While attending a Hartford Foundation scholarship reception, Janice asked Kerry, “When I pass, can you do a scholarship in my name?” He looked at her and said, “Why wait until you pass? We can create one right now and I’ll make sure your name is first.” Thus, the Janice and Kerry Foster, Sr. Scholarship Fund was established in 2014 to support students from Hartford entering college and pursuing undergraduate degrees on a full-time basis.

The road to giving: Elwyn & Elsie Harp

A gift from a favorite aunt inspired Elwyn and Elsie Harp to follow the personal example of generosity that she set. As Elsie remembers it, “With [her gift] came a note that she wanted to share some of her good fortune.” Elsie said it made a lasting impression on her and Elwyn. “I thought, what a wonderful thing to do. And that’s what started us on the road to giving.”

Like their aunt, the Harps established a charitable fund at the Hartford Foundation and they encouraged their children to follow in their family’s philanthropic footsteps. “I think you, by example, can get people to think to help others when they’re able to,” Elwyn said. “You help your neighbor because you may need help yourself one day.”