More than forty people who live and work in Hartford joined the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving in our second Greater Together Community Fund working session on September 17. The purpose of the gathering was to begin an inclusive process, led by residents, that will establish a selection committee to create the advisory committee for Hartford’s Community Fund. It was an energetic discussion about the opportunity to improve the local community and plan next steps. We are grateful to everyone who attended and volunteered to support the Fund going forward.
After comments from Senior Vice President Judy Rozie-Battle and a presentation of how the Community Funds program will work, participants broke out into small groups to begin the process of defining individual roles, building an inclusive selection committee and thinking about who might serve on the advisory committee. Hartford Foundation Senior Development Officer Wanda Correa will be the Foundation’s liaison to the Hartford Community Fund to guide residents in making those selections and answering questions that may arise along the way.
Inclusivity is a critical component of the Community Funds program. The most successful efforts value and incorporate diverse perspectives and experiences, and practice inclusion. Hartford will ultimately benefit from having an advisory committee that reflects all residents and a decision-making process where all have a say in identifying local needs and how best to address them. When asked, “Who is not here?” the attendees made a list of people to connect with over the coming weeks:
One common area of concern was creating a truly diverse and representative committee and recruiting and engaging city residents who are not already involved. There was a desire to involve the voices of individuals who , for many different reasons, don’t typically show up to local events or serve as volunteers or board members of local organizations. Attendees devised a list of recommendations, including press releases and social media, visits to local organizations and community events and direct one-on-one conversations. The Hartford Foundation will share common practices from other community funds across the country and within its region. It will be the responsibility of the Hartford advisory committee to be inclusive of all Hartford residents in how they do their outreach and implement the program.
At the end of the evening, several attendees volunteered to serve as members of the selection committee, and they asked the Foundation’s Community Funds team to work with them to plan next steps and help them convene additional selection committee members.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is excited to support each of the 29 towns in our region through the Greater Together Community Funds. We appreciate learning from you as this process moves forward.