Introducing Access Grants from the Hartford Foundation

Does your organization have a mission or project idea that could contribute to the goal of dismantling structural racism in Greater Hartford?

As part of our mission, the Hartford Foundation is taking significant steps to dismantle structural and systemic racism and achieve equity in social and economic mobility in Greater Hartford's Black and Latinx communities. 

To advance this overarching vision, we created Access Grants. Nonprofits and community organizations with ideas to advance this vision are encouraged to learn more and submit a proposal.

Who is eligible?

All nonprofits, or community groups with a fiscal sponsor, that serve Greater Hartford and have a mission or proposed project that could be an effective strategy or approach to dismantle structural racism, including by advancing equitable social and economic mobility, are eligible to apply. The Foundation welcomes new approaches to advance its outcome areas, as well as new ideas that may fall outside or cut across these outcome areas, but still contribute to this broader vision.

The Foundation has outlined criteria to assess and prioritize requests for Access Grants.  Please review this before applying. If your request does not fit, please contact the Foundation to see what other opportunities may be available. You may direct questions at any time to: Atención disponible en español también.

What types of grants are available?

Requests of up to $50,000 over a period of one year will be considered. Grant award size would be in alignment with the size and scope of the work, the agency’s capacity to implement the work, and its expected impact.  Requests may support new projects or existing efforts, including operating support for organizations who have a mission that is dedicated to dismantling structural racism.

We recognize that work to dismantle racism and advance equitable economic and social mobility will require sustained efforts, beyond one year. As such, Access Grant recipients that are able to demonstrate the potential for impact during and beyond the grant period will be considered for continued support in subsequent years.

What is the timeline for applications?

There will be two rounds of Access Grants made in 2021. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis, with Foundation review of applications received by May 15, for awards on June 30, and by August 16, for awards on November 1. Applications received by the two 2021 “closing dates” will be considered in that round. Unsuccessful applications from the first round will be held for consideration in the second round. After the second round, all applications will be closed out. Unsuccessful applicants may reapply once the next Access grants cycle is launched.

  • May 15: Closing date for first round consideration
  • June 30: First set of awards
  • August 16: Closing date for second round consideration
  • November 1: Second set of awards

How to apply

Visit our grant portal and take our eligibility quiz to determine whether you are eligible for an Access Grant. If so, you can submit an application through the portal.

Determine eligibility and apply

Information Session (Recording)

On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, the Hartford Foundation hosted the second information session for those interested to ask questions and learn more about Access Grants.

Additional questions may be directed at any time to: applications@hfpg.orgAtención disponible en español también.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a grant cover capital expenses for a current project that fits the criteria of the Access Grants? 

Yes, all types of requests are “on the table.” It’s about making the case for why the funds can have an impact in terms of racial and social mobility equity.

Can an organization apply for a grant without a 501(c)(3) tax designation or fiscal sponsor? 

The Foundation’s grantmaking policies restrict our grantmaking to registered nonprofit, IRS designated 501(c)(3) organizations. Neighborhood associations or community groups interested in seeking support should work with a registered nonprofit organization willing to serve as a fiscal sponsor.

Can non-profits apply for an Access Grant as well as other grant opportunities in the same year? 

Yes, applicants are still eligible even if they already have an open grant with the Foundation. Please be aware that using our eligibility criteria, more weight will be given to organizations that do not have an existing open grant, particularly a multi-year open grant. This criteria, however, is only one of the determinants for application assessment.

Could funds from Access Grants be used to provide assistance to employers to address hiring barriers? 

The Hartford Foundation is unable to provide funding directly to for-profit employers. However, we are interested in supporting the ecosystem for employment efforts and small businesses, for example, when such support would create greater opportunity for adults with barriers to employment. We can only make grants to support those efforts through nonprofits.

Is it possible to apply for other grant opportunities and the Access Grant in the same year? 

Yes. This is not an exclusive grant opportunity. Please be aware that using our eligibility criteria, more weight will be given to organizations that do not have an existing open grant, particularly a multi-year open grant. This criteria, however, is only one of the determinants for application assessment.

Is there a minimum budget size requirement to be eligible for a grant? 

No. There is no specific minimum budget size; however, we do require that organizations have existed and have a track record of work and outcomes for at least one year in order to apply.

Is there a preference for supporting programs/projects versus operating support? 

No. We are agnostic as to the type of philanthropic tool or the kind of structure of the grant. We are interested to hear the impact that the organization expects to have, how it plans to contribute to dismantling structural racism, promote equitable social and economic mobility as well as the support needed from the Foundation. If flexible support is needed to support this overall mission, we would like to hear that.

Is there a maximum and a minimum grant request? 

Requests of up to $50,000 will be considered. The minimum grant request has not yet been explored.

Is virtual programming acceptable? 

Yes. Organizations that understand the need for virtual programming and consideration of the current CDC social distancing and other guidelines would be viewed positively. We expect everyone who applies has considered the current health guidelines that we are facing. While we are hopeful that programming will be open and able to be done face-to-face in the not-so-distant future, we are also realistic of what is possible right now and are supportive of keeping people safe. We would encourage organizations to build flexibility into their proposed activities and be able to adapt.

Is there a particular content area of interest for this grant opportunity? 

No. All nonprofits serving Greater Hartford that can make a case that the work they are requesting support for might contribute to dismantling structural racism and promoting equitable social and economic mobility are eligible. We welcome a range of different project ideas or types of work and are excited to see what ideas the community has that can contribute to this common goal.

Is there a preference for first time applicants? 

If the organization has no open grant or has never received a grant from the Hartford Foundation, they will receive maximum “points” in one area using our criteria to assess grants. We are not favoring first time applicants above all others but rather attempting to provide an opportunity to them.

Would a grant proposal receive more points if there is collaboration among agencies? 

The rubric doesn’t specifically score collaboration, but the rubric does address the consideration of whether applicants consider other stakeholders or service providers, and how the request is fulfilling a gap or is coordinating with other available services. Collaboration is a good way of showing that a conscious effort towards looking at the full “ecosystem” has been made.

Why are Access Grants mainly one-year support, given the long-term nature of the work? 

To some degree, it has to do with how our budgeting works. Multi-year support may be offered after the first year of awards based on the outcomes of the first one-year grant. The one-year approach offers more flexibility to try out options and give more nonprofits the opportunity to try new approaches. But, continued support will be necessary for impactful work that requires longer-term support.

What is the Foundation’s vision of social and/or economic mobility impact? 

We strive to contribute to the dismantling of structural racism and to promote equitable economic and social mobility. This means looking at and attempting to address the needs of Greater Hartford residents facing the greatest disadvantages, the greatest barriers, or the least access across a number of different factors, whether that means access to high quality education, healthcare, stable housing, employment, safety issues, or tables at which decisions are made.

We are working to support efforts that would remove barriers to access and promote more equitable access. Access Grants invite organizations to think about the work that they are doing, the community that they are serving, the needs of their community and barriers they may face to access opportunities and share with the Foundation your organization’s ideas on how to make an even greater impact in the community.

Would requests in furtherance of making materials more accessible be appropriate for this opportunity? 

Yes. If organization believes there is a project idea that creates greater access to their services (translation and interpretation services, etc.) and therefore contributes to dismantling structural racism and promoting equitable social and economic mobility, we would be open to learning about it.

What percentage of Greater Hartford area beneficiaries should be served by this grant opportunity? 

We are prioritizing requests that would serve Greater Hartford 100%. Organizations need to be serving at least 25% of Greater Hartford residents to receive any “points” in our rubric. Even in this case, the budget request would need to be proportional to services or impact in Greater Hartford. 

Would scholarship requests to a private school be eligible?  

This is unlikely. While it may have a deep impact on a small number of individuals, the scope of the impact would be very limited. With Access Grant funds, we hope to have a broader scale impact, particularly given the limited resources.

Would consideration be given to a grant that educates the Greater Hartford area about a certain faith/cultural focus as part of a cultural center? 

The Hartford Foundation has a restriction on supporting sectarian efforts, particularly proselytizing, so we could not support a request that would be seen as proselytizing. However, if an organization believes that they have a proposal that will contribute to dismantling structural racism and promoting equitable social and economic mobility, please feel free to apply or reach out to have an additional conversation.

Some organizations may want to focus internally first to see their own areas for improvement within DEI in order to better position themselves to work for equity in their community. Would Access Grants offer assistance for this area of focus? 

In short, yes, this sort of request for “internal work” can be considered for Access Grants.