Announcing the Spark Funds, Our New Current Use Funds

In an effort to more closely engage the community in its strategic work of supporting education, family economic security and vibrant communities, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has launched “Spark Funds,” three new current-use funds, to better connect current and prospective donors to this work.

Since 1925, the Hartford Foundation has worked with donors to address needs in Greater Hartford’s 29 cities and towns. Over the years, the Foundation has recognized that with the popularity of online giving sites and an increasing desire to support specific causes rather than organizations, people are changing the way they give. In response to these cultural shifts, the Foundation has developed the “Spark Funds” to help residents exercise the power of collective giving to affect change in their communities. Learn more at: By giving through this vehicle, donors are able to make a more immediate and directed philanthropic impact.

Grants from the Spark Funds will support work in three focus areas, which are based on the Hartford Foundation’s three strategic priorities:

  • Resident Engagement – Support and encourage residents to become active participants affecting meaningful change in their neighborhoods. This fund will provide small grants for specific resident-led projects, leadership trainings and meetings that bring residents together to achieve their community goals.
  • Children & Families – Promote the success of Greater Hartford families and their children, in school and beyond.  The Foundation has identified specific programs including early literacy initiatives, training for home-based child care providers, and workshops that promote early learning and parent/child engagement.
  • Workforce Development – Support workers to acquire the skills necessary to launch successful, family-sustaining careers and help businesses attract and retain the workforce they need to remain competitive. This fund will support programs that provide new skills training, placement and retention services for those with low literacy and limited employment opportunities.

“This exciting new initiative gives members of our community the opportunity to more closely engage in our strategic work and augment our existing efforts in these areas,” said Deborah Rothstein, the Hartford Foundation’s vice president for development. “By contributing to these funds, donors will be connected to a larger community of people who share their philanthropic interests and see how their gifts have impact.”


The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, established in 1925, is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. It is dedicated to putting philanthropy into action to create lasting solutions that result in vibrant communities within the Greater Hartford region. The Foundation’s grantmaking is made possible through generous gifts from individuals, families, and organizations. It has awarded grants of $687 million since its founding. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit or call 860-548-1888.