Catalyst Endowment Fund Awards Grants to Support Mothers and Children Impacted by Domestic Violence

Petit Family Foundation Provides Additional Funding 


Each year, more than 60,000 victims receive services through CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence member programs. Many of the families impacted by domestic violence include children who, by witnessing domestic violence, are more likely to exhibit behavioral and physical health problems and engage in risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse. In an effort to assist some of these families, grants totaling $46,249 have been awarded to Hartford Interval House and Prudence Crandall Center for Women by the Catalyst Endowment Fund a giving circle at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Both organizations were awarded grants based on their proposals’ focus on supporting both mothers and children dealing with the long-term effects of domestic violence.

Each year, Catalyst Endowment Fund members choose a topic and invite local experts to speak at program meetings. Area nonprofits are then invited to submit grant proposals that address the topic, and members of the giving circle analyze the proposals and award grants. This year’s Catalyst Endowment Fund membership includes representatives from the Petit Family Foundation who, after hearing the presentations from Connecticut providers serving families impacted by domestic violence and the variety of challenges they face, agreed to provide an additional $5,000 to each of the selected finalists.

“When we first learned of the many gaps in the systems available to support victims of domestic violence, we were particularly concerned about the impact these traumatic events had on children in these families,” said Andrew Worthington, chair of the Catalyst Endowment Fund steering committee. “Both Hartford Interval House and Prudence Crandall Center for Women each address the aftermath of domestic violence by meeting unmet needs in the system to support mothers and their children.

Mr. Worthington continued, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Petit Family Foundation to assist two organizations that are working to support the emotional needs of children and help them live healthier, happier and more stable lives.”

“Given the major impact domestic violence has on children and their families, the Petit Family Foundation is pleased to help in any way that introduces kindness into the victims' lives, helps them becomes safer and empowers them to go forward,” said William A Petit, Jr. MD, president of the Petit Family Foundation.

Hartford’s Interval House, in collaboration with the Injury Prevention Center of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC), has been awarded $25,074 to implement an enhanced version of the Moms’ Club and Kids’ Club offered at its facility. The Moms’ Club and Kids’ Club are based on an evidence-based model developed by Dr. Sandra A. Gaham-Berhman of the University of Michigan. Through Kids’ Club, children learn conflict resolution, develop positive expectations about themselves, share experiences and identify concerns, and learn new coping skills. Moms’ Club helps mothers to repair and enhance the mother/child relationship and educates them about parenting under stress, child development, and teaches strategies on how to communicate about family violence through curriculum guided support groups. The parenting education component includes discipline strategies, stress management, “mom time” and having fun with kids. The enhanced version of Moms’ Club and Kids’ Club will include follow-up case management and an evaluation.Catalyst funding will partially support the part-time salaries and benefits of a case manager/group facilitator for Moms’ Club, a group facilitator and three child assistants/baby sitters for Kids’ Club, as well as program supplies, incentives, travel reimbursement, transportation and an evaluation. 

Prudence Crandall Center (PCC) has been awarded $21,175 to fully integrate the evidence-based Kids’ Club model into its existing Children’s Services program, which will address the emotional, social and educational needs of children and youth residing in its emergency shelter for domestic violence. PCC is also using this effort to help build relationships with professionals in the community to improve long-term outcomes for the children and families it serves. The Kids’ Club program provides a new framework and curriculum for PCC’s services, with strategies that help children feel safe, learn to cope with the violence they have experienced, understand how to express their feelings, learn about healthy relationships, and improve family dynamics.  The program is also designed to strengthen parenting skills of the non-abusive parent to enhance the parent-child bond and better support the family as a whole. Catalyst funds would partially support the salary and benefits of the child advocate.

Since the Catalyst Endowment Fund was established 21 years ago, grants totaling more than $750,000 have been awarded in support of nonprofit programs in areas such as health, housing and education. The Hartford Foundation pools and invests donations from members (a minimum of $500 annually per membership) to fund grants based on program areas selected by the membership. Funds like Catalyst, also known as ‘giving circles,’ provide individuals with an opportunity to be involved with philanthropy while providing greater impact through the pooled contributions. For more information on the Catalyst Endowment Fund contact Betty Ann Grady at or 860-548-1888 x1055.

The Petit Family Foundation honors the memories of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Elizabeth Petit and Michaela Rose Petit by continuing the kindness, idealism and activism that defined their lives. The Foundation's funds are given to foster the education of young people, especially women in the sciences; to improve the lives of those affected by chronic illnesses; and to support efforts to protect and help those affected.