Hartford Foundation’s Grantmaking Topped $36.8 Million in 2019

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the community foundation for 29 cities and towns in Greater Hartford, awarded more than $36.8 million in grants to the region’s nonprofit agencies in 2019.

“At a time when our state and many of our towns face significant fiscal challenges, the Hartford Foundation was able to support our community with significant resources this past year,” said Hartford Foundation president Jay Williams. “We continue to look for ways to work together with our donors, nonprofits, and community partners to ensure Greater Hartford residents have access to opportunities that enrich their lives and to secure a better future for our region.”

According to the latest estimated, unaudited numbers, the Foundation ended 2019 with total assets of $1.06 billion. The Foundation received gifts totaling $14 million and opened 31 new funds. Since its founding in 1925, the Foundation has awarded more than $795 million in grants. 

“Greater Hartford is fortunate to have so many generous residents who want to make a lasting difference in our community,” Williams said. “The resources we have been able to provide to nonprofit organizations is a testament to our donors’ level of commitment to the region and to the work the Hartford Foundation supports.” 

The Foundation’s 2019 grantmaking was based on the recognition that a vibrant Greater Hartford region requires that all residents, especially those with the greatest need, have equitable access to opportunities. This past year, the Foundation announced a new strategic framework focused on addressing the region’s persistent disparities affected by race/ethnicity, place (ZIP code) and income that create barriers to our region reaching its full potential.

The Foundation’s directed grantmaking is focused on a series of outcomes, including:  increasing the number of Hartford residents living in higher opportunity neighborhoods, creating employment opportunities for black and Latinx residents throughout the region,  improving community safety and resilience in Hartford neighborhoods, and decreasing barriers to progress for students in the region’s highest need districts.  Support for basic human needs, arts and culture and civic and resident engagement continue to be priorities that will be embedded across all outcomes.   The Foundation’s donor-directed grantmaking supports a wide array of organizations that respond to community needs, and a significant number of those grants align with the Foundation’s strategic framework.

Below are some examples of grants awarded in 2019:

Employment Opportunities

  • Inner City Capital Connections - Research shows a significant gap in access to capital for many inner city entrepreneurs, especially minority- and women-owned businesses. To support these businesses, the Hartford Foundation awarded the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) a $325,000 grant to bring the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program to more than 60 businesses in Hartford and its surrounding communities. ICCC is a tuition-free, high-level executive education program that positions inner city businesses for long-term success.

Student Progress

  • Summer Learning Programs - The Hartford Foundation provided more than $810,000 in grants to 56 programs, operated by 45 agencies to enhance summer learning and youth development. The Foundation targets participation of youth from Hartford and East Hartford and those with disabilities from throughout the region. Foundation funding supported free and reduced-cost access to summer programming, as well as targeted support for literacy, parent engagement and other enhancements for nearly 8,000 youth from across Greater Hartford.
  • Hartford Student Internship Program - The Foundation awarded a $200,000 grant to Capital Workforce Partners to provide 150 Hartford high school juniors and seniors with internships and other work-based learning opportunities. The Foundation’s support extends opportunities to students with a variety of backgrounds, including students who have become disconnected from school.

Community Safety and Resiliency

  • Hartford Youth Service Corps - To respond to the significant challenges faced by young adults without a diploma or job training, the Hartford Foundation awarded $1 million in grants to Our Piece of the Pie to administer the Hartford Youth Service Corps. The Corps is a collaborative effort between government and community organizations to help Hartford youth advance their education while earning income. Our Piece of the Pie has been successful in working with young people who face multiple barriers to success. With this additional funding, they'll be able to engage 250 youth between the ages of 16 to 24.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Hartford - To support the Boys and Girls Club capital/endowment campaign to construct and operate a new Southend Boys and Girls Club, the Hartford Foundationawarded up to $1 million in grants over three years. Foundation support will be focused on developing the infrastructure for programs in the new club, and implementing its new Workforce Development Initiative across the city.

Higher Opportunity Neighborhoods

  • LISC Hartford - The Foundation renewed its commitment to provide operating support and capacity building to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Community Development Corporations (CDCs) through the Hartford Neighborhood Development Support Collaborative (HNDSC) with a grant of $860,000 over two years. The HNDSC is a long-running funders’ collaborative that has provided grants to several CDCs (nonprofit developers that often take on the most challenging projects critical to residents in disinvested neighborhoods).
  • Hartford 400 - The Hartford region has created many short- and long-term plans for growth and development, but there has never been an effort to integrate these plans into a shared, long-term vision and roadmap for our region. The Hartford Foundation has awarded iQuilt a $390,000 grant to support the Hartford 400 effort to engage in more inclusive financial planning, and community and economic development for the region. Hartford 400 is a collaborative initiative led by iQuilt, the City of Hartford, MetroHartford Alliance, the Bushnell, and the Hartford Foundation focused on five aspirations for Hartford in 2035: a place that is more equitable (plan400), prosperous (grow400), mobile (move400), vibrant (live400) and sustainable (green400).  Community engagement will be central to the process; community groups and residents from specific neighborhoods and towns will contribute to the development of the plan.

Community Leadership

  • Get Out the Vote/Get Out the Count - The Hartford Foundation awarded $448,400 in grants to 20 organizations to support a 2020 voter registration and census campaign. Across these grants for 2019 and 2020, participating nonprofits will reach several underrepresented demographic groups and geographic areas using a mix of strategies, including canvassing, phone banking, outreach at neighborhood events such as parades and festivals, internet and text messaging, special events such as voter registration drives, one-on-one assistance and embedding conversations into ongoing operations. Six of the recommended grants focus on GOTV activities, three on GOTC activities, and 11 include both. The work is concentrated in Hartford, with a particular focus in north and south end neighborhoods. Projects will also reach underrepresented residents in hard-to-count areas in Bloomfield, Manchester and East Hartford.
  • Basic Human Needs - As the state and local municipalities continue to reduce funding for human services programs, the Foundation is awarding grants totaling $560,000 to 69 nonprofit agencies that provide food and other basic human needs to residents throughout Greater Hartford. These grants range between $3,000 and $20,000 and are primarily funded through the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation as well as Foundation discretionary funding. The majority of the grants —more than $300,000—were awarded to agencies for use in food; other services supported by the grants include emergency housing, fuel assistance, medical and dental services, employment counseling, and providing clothes and other personal care items.
  • Out of School Time Arts Programs - In July 2019, the Foundation and the Connecticut Office of the Arts released the Greater Hartford Arts Landscape Study.  The study identified several disparities in access to and use of arts resources, inequities within the arts workforce, and multiple benefits of the arts for school-age children and youth. Many youth in Hartford do not currently have access to quality arts instruction either in school or out of school. In response to these findings, the Foundation awarded $360,000 in grants to support 11 arts programs. Foundation funding will support free access to programming and, in certain cases, stipends for students.

Special Projects

  • Nonprofit Support Program (NSP) - The Foundation’s Nonprofit Support Program helps strengthen nonprofit organizations in our region by providing tools and understanding for agencies to build strong boards, plan for their futures, evaluate programs, improve finances and update technology. In 2019, ten staff and board teams participated in Phase 2 of the Social Enterprise Accelerator Program, 20 agency teams took part in the Board Leadership Program, 22 nonprofit teams received strategic technology training, nine agency teams completed the Building Evaluation Capacity Program, 20 agency teams took part in the Building Human Resource Capacity Program, 11 organizations enrolled in the Building on Success capacity building program, and 16 nonprofits participated in the Organizational Assessment Program. In addition, 89 grants totaling $2,006,482 were awarded to nonprofits to support strategic technology, financial management, evaluation, and technical assistance (such as strategic planning and board development). Ten nonprofits successfully transitioned to new leaders with support from the Executive Transition Program, 24 small nonprofits received small agency grants, and 32 nonprofits received loans through the Nonprofit Revolving Loan Fund.
  • Small Agency Grant Program - In 2019, the Foundation expanded grants to small and minority-led organizations through its Small Agency Grant Program. Twenty-four agencies received a total of $203,000 from the small agencies grant program. Small nonprofits often represent underserved communities, from arts and culture to education, health, human services, housing, nutrition, youth development, senior services, and community improvement. Few of these agencies currently qualify for regular Foundation grants or the Nonprofit Support Program. The Foundation’s Small Agency program provides funding and capacity building to support agencies in establishing a track record to be considered for regular grants at the Foundation as well as other funders.

Research and Evaluation

  • Community Wellbeing Index - The Foundation is committed to supporting the availability of high quality, impartial research about our region and state to inform action on a host of issues that are critical to the region as well as our own priorities, strategies and operations. To support this work, the Hartford Foundation awarded a $74,000 grant to Datahaven to support its Greater Hartford Community Wellbeing Index. Prepared every five years, this report explores indicators of social progress, economic opportunity and wellbeing in our region.
  • Community School Study - The Hartford Foundation has supported Hartford Community Schools since 2008. Community Schools seek to close a variety of opportunity gaps for Hartford students and families by offering a broad range of wraparound services such as vision, health and dental care, mental health services, academic support and enrichment, civic engagement programs and cultural activities at six Hartford public schools. In an effort to inform the Foundation’s future grantmaking as well as Hartford Public School’s planned expansion of the Community Schools model, the Foundation is supporting The Hartford Community Schools Retrospective Study. The Foundation has awarded a $242,681 grant to RTI International, an independent, nonprofit institute to examine outcomes and implementation from the 2009–2010 to 2018–2019 school years.


The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $795 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.