We are Greater Hartford's community foundation. In 2021, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving awarded more than $45 million in grants to organizations in our region.


Interested in receiving a grant from the Hartford Foundation?

Our grantmaking is guided by our commitment to dismantling structural racism and advancing equity in social and economic mobility in Greater Hartford's Black and Latinx communities.

We seek to support organizations with missions or projects that align with these goals. 

Our Strategic outcomes

When awarding grants, one of the most important things we consider is how programs or projects align with our five strategic outcome areas. These outcomes were identified as key to reducing persistent disparities and advancing equity in our region. If you want to apply for a grant, consider how your project aligns with one or more of these outcomes.


Our grantmaking: Policies and Guiding Principles

The following policies and principles guide our grantmaking and application process. Organizations should read and consider before applying for a grant. We recognize that each grant is unique, and when deciding whether to award a grant, we consider a holistic view of the project and organization being funded.

Policies 

What We Fund

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving works to achieve its mission and strategic outcomes through a variety of activities that align with our core values, including grantmaking. Grants are considered for activities that contribute to the Foundation’s strategic outcomes and emerging community needs and may be made to a variety of entities, as the work requires. The Foundation supports nonsectarian activities and typically does not supplant other forms of revenue (including tax dollars), fund reimbursable expenses or resolve prior debt through its grants.

How We Fund

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving uses a variety of grantmaking tools and strategies to achieve its strategic priorities including, but not limited to, support for organizational operations, programs, capital projects, organizational capacity building, and learning and evaluation. The Foundation prioritizes flexible funding wherever possible and honors the time needed to plan, implement and evaluate. Grant frequency and duration, award levels, evidence of sustainability and reporting requirements will be considered by staff, informed by the potential grantee and other community partners, on a case-by-case basis guided by the Foundation’s grantmaking principles and practice.

Values-Based Grantmaking

As a diligent steward of its assets, the Foundation reviews grant requests and makes decisions aligned with our mission and core values. This includes requiring that applicant organizations confirm that they do not discriminate against any person or group of persons on the basis of race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, learning disability, intellectual disability, or physical disability (including, but not limited to, blindness or deafness), pregnancy, genetic information, sexual orientation, and/or any other characteristic protected under federal, state and/or local laws.

The Foundation also reserves the right to deny grant recommendations from unrestricted and donor-advised funds to organizations that attack or malign individuals or groups of individuals on the basis of their having certain characteristics, including, but not limited to, race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, learning disability, intellectual disability, or physical disability (including, but not limited to, blindness or deafness), pregnancy, genetic information, sexual orientation, and/or any other characteristic protected under federal, state and/or local laws. The Foundation may use a variety of methods as part of its due diligence to determine whether a grant recommendation is consistent with this policy, including but not limited to:

  • Review of statements of charitable purpose and activities on grantee website and IRS Form 990
  • Review of grantee advocacy and/or lobbying activity as evidenced by IRS Form 990
  • Request and review grantee’s policies regarding nondiscrimination and legal compliance
  • Review of unbiased charity “watchdog” sources such as Charity Navigator, Southern Poverty Law Center, GuideStar by Candid.

Governance Diversity

The Foundation expects agencies that serve a broad spectrum of the population to have boards and staff that reflect that diversity. The extent to which an agency’s board and staff reflect diversity of the area and population served are critical factors in determining eligibility for grants. The Foundation will work with nonprofits that have demonstrated a commitment to diversify their governance who may not yet meet policy requirements at the time of a grant application and allow reasonable time to achieve compliance. Exceptions include:

  • Grants from Donor Advised and other restricted funds: While donor-advised funds are exempt, donors are informed of the Foundation’s policy on Governance Diversity at the outset of engagement and any information regarding diversity for agencies that the donor is considering.
  • Public agencies or other organizations with appointed or elected boards: These entities are exempt from the policy as their board composition is not within their control and they are unable to make changes to their bylaws in order to diversify.
  • Faith Organizations: When appropriate, the Foundation will encourage faith organizations to diversify their boards to reflect the diversity of the broader community they serve, but not require governance diversity for grant eligibility.

Public Policy Grantmaking

Through its unrestricted grantmaking, the Foundation may fund organizations involved in public policy activities that benefit the community and further our mission, strategic goals, and values. These activities include convening, conducting or funding research and analysis, and advocacy.

  • The Foundation may also fund organizations to conduct legislative and administrative lobbying, as defined by Connecticut law that advances the Foundation’s priority areas.
  • The Foundation may consider grant requests to support community organizing and grassroots lobbying.
  • The Foundation does not support or oppose candidates for public office or make expenditures related to election ballots.
Guiding Principles 

We align grants with our mission, core values and current strategic priorities to impact identified community needs.

We are a learning organization and our grantmaking is outcome-driven and informed by the experiences and expertise of residents, our community partners as well as local and national research and best practice.

We strive to be transparent and accessible, clearly communicating our priorities and processes to a broad range of organizations, including those who may not have the highest visibility or largest budgets but may be more proximate to community.

We offer support beyond grant dollars to build strong and resilient organizations that center equity and inclusion in their values and practice and have capacity to monitor and share their learning and impact.

We seek to continuously simplify and streamline our processes in ways that allow us to make funds available when, where and how they are needed to make a difference.

We ensure strong stewardship of grant resources, carrying out due diligence of requests for support in partnership with nonprofits, to ensure that funded work will be as effective as possible, properly resourced, sustainable, with clear and measurable impact for the community and reflective of diversity, equity and inclusion values and practice.

What We Consider 

Alignment with Our Mission and Core Values

We prioritize resources for organizations and efforts that align and advance our mission and core values. 

Does the organization’s mission and programs align with the Foundation’s mission and core values? Does the organization meet our Values-Based Grantmaking Policy?

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Organizations must demonstrate willingness and progress to ensure that organizational leadership, policies and practice, and strategies embed equity, diversity and inclusion principles. 

Are the board and staff reflective of the community they serve and culturally competent? Does the organization demonstrate how services and programs will be equitably accessible to people from populations disproportionally impacted by structural racism and other disparities?

Community Engagement

We expect our funded partners to engage people who stand to benefit from the proposed efforts.

Have the individuals and/or groups expected to benefit been consulted in articulating the need, solution, implementation, and evaluation? Is there strategy for ongoing feedback with stakeholders?

Demonstrated Need

We will prioritize requests that demonstrate a need and demand among residents in the region served by the Foundation.

Are other organizations doing this work and is there an unmet gap in services among providers? Does the proposed work address a demonstrated need?

Outcome Driven

Strong applications will clearly articulate organizational and/or project goals that reflect community perspectives and indicate the potential to contribute to the Foundation’s strategic priorities.

Is there a plan for how organizational/project goals will be achieved? Does the request include monitoring and learning plans that inform the impact on the people and communities served?

Systemic and Coordinated Strategy

Organizations should consider the structural causes of an issue, including institutional policies and practice and public policy, and how proposed efforts contribute to addressing barriers to opportunity.

Does the request reflect an understanding of structural issues and support improved coordination across multiple systems to address them?

Collaboration

We value efforts where nonprofits work together, and with other sectors, to increase and sustain impact.

Has the organization considered other actors in this space? Is there evidence of prior effective collaborative efforts?

Capacity of the Organization

We want to understand an organization’s capacity to undertake the proposed effort and/or identify areas where the applicant may benefit from capacity building.

Does the organization have the institutional capacity, including qualified staff/volunteers, board leadership, and stable finances to undertake the proposed effort? Are financial management systems and safeguards in place?

Project Budget

Requests should highlight the true costs of the proposed activities.

Is the budget for the proposed efforts realistic and cost-effective?

Sustainability

We prioritize efforts that can produce benefits which endure beyond the period of our funding.

Does the project leverage other funds? Has a long-term funding plan been developed? Does the work advance a permanent change that eliminates the need for this work in the future?

How to apply for a grant

Our grant application process is a partnership. Every grant begins with a conversation. Our Community Impact staff will work with you throughout the process to answer questions and help maximize the impact of your grant.

Complete the brief grantee questionnaire below to ensure that your organization meets our basic criteria for eligibility. If you believe you're ready to start the application process, contact us.

Grantee Criteria

Is your organization a 501(c)(3) nonprofit?

The Hartford Foundation awards grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. If you're interested in creating a nonprofit, the following resources may offer help:

Some of the Hartford Foundation's grantmaking opportunities, such as Access Grants, are available to faith-based organizations. 

In some instances, the Hartford Foundation will support resident-led initiatives or other projects, when undertaken in partnership with a nonprofit or through a fiscal agent. If you have questions about whether your project qualifies, feel free to contact us

Does a significant portion of your organization's services benefit residents of the Hartford Foundation's 29-town funding region?

As a community foundation, we make grants that benefit residents in our funding region. If your organization is in Connecticut but does not serve our funding region, you can find the community foundation that serves your town through the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy's directory of community foundations.

Does your organization operate under best practices for governance? Do you have a board that meets regularly? Do they provide financial oversight of the organization's resources?

The Foundation seeks to support organizations that strive for best practices in their governance. 

A strong board is a true asset to an organization. High-performing boards have engaged members, understand their roles and responsibilities, and reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.

If you need assistance developing and training a board that will advance your mission and maximize the effectiveness of your nonprofit, our Nonprofit Support Program team can help.

The Hartford Foundation is committed to dismantling structural racism and advancing equity in social and economic mobility in Greater Hartford’s Black and Latinx communities. Does your organization’s mission or your proposed work contribute to these goals?

In Greater Hartford, Black, Latinx and other communities of color face persistent disparities, which are the result of decades of systemic factors and disinvestment in our communities, many of which are still woven into the fabric of our institutions. 

To achieve our mission, the Hartford Foundation is committed to working with community partners to develop strategies to dismantle structural racism and advance equity in social and economic mobility in Greater Hartford’s Black and Latinx communities.

We encourage grantseekers to consider projects and approaches that help reduce persistent disparities in our region. What can you do to positively affect the disparity in opportunity experienced by Black and Latinx residents? We want to hear about your institutional experience and track record addressing these issues, as well as community perspectives, research and data that support your approaches.

If you’re unsure whether your project aligns with these goals, feel free to contact us and begin a conversation. 

Your organization meets our basic eligibility requirements. Please read through the rest of this page to learn about our grantmaking policies, guiding principles and other criteria that determine how and when we award grants.

If you believe you are ready to start the grant application process, you can email Tara Sundie, Community Impact Manager, at tsundie@hfpg.org to begin a conversation.

  

Other opportunities for grantseekers

We go beyond traditional grantmaking, offering multiple ways for organizations to engage with us and receive grants. 

Grant Opportunities

RFP Calendar

A list of open and upcoming Requests for Proposals and other available opportunities for funding.

Access Grants

Access Grants

Rolling grant applications for projects that contribute to our goal of dismantling structural racism.

Capacity Building

Organizational Capacity Building

Programs, workshops and grants to strengthen your nonprofit's capacity.


We also have SPECIAL FUNDS AVAILABLE.

A few of our funds solicit applications throughout the year. Each fund has its own criteria and application process. 

Newton C. and Elsie B. Brainard Fund 

The Brainard Fund supports qualified individuals or their spouses experiencing financial hardship due to substantial healthcare bills incurred through a serious or chronic illness.

To find out if you are eligible for Brainard Fund support:

  1. Download the brochure (PDF) to learn more about qualifications for support.
  2. Call 2-1-1 and ask about the Brainard Fund to find out if your healthcare provider is involved in this program. If you are eligible, you will receive guidance on next steps for applying for assistance.
Natale and Norma Sestero Fund 

This fund supports nonprofit programs and services that benefit the citizens of Glastonbury, CT. Grants are made for a broad range of community needs. The deadline for applications is typically in the fall of each year. For eligibility criteria and application procedures, interested organizations should contact Dawn Grant, Senior Community Impact Officer.

Amiel P. Zak Public Service Fund 

This fund supports nonprofits serving the residents of Suffield, CT. Grants are made for projects that will address basic needs or improve the quality of life for residents in Suffield. For eligibility criteria and application procedures, interested organizations should contact Betty Ann Grady, Senior Development Officer.

Are you a student seeking a SCHOLARSHIP?

The Foundation awards scholarships to hundreds of area students to help them afford a college education. To learn more and/or apply for a scholarship, visit our Scholarship Program Directory.