The Hartford Foundation Receives $50,000 Grant from Travelers Foundation to Meet the Needs of Individuals and Families Relocating from Puerto Rico

In November 2017, the Hartford Foundation established the Respond-Rebuild-Renew Fund in response to the growing needs faced by individuals and families relocating to Greater Hartford following natural disasters. A $50,000 grant from the Travelers Foundation, the charitable arm of Travelers, will help meet these needs. 

Thanks to the response from generous donors, to date the Hartford Foundation has awarded a total of $230,000 in grants from the Respond-Rebuild-Renew Fund. The Capitol Region Education Council, Catholic Charities and The Salvation Army of Southern New England received a total of $30,000 to meet a variety of critical and basic needs (e.g., public transportation passes, housing deposits, furniture, food and clothing). In addition, the Foundation granted $200,000 to The United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut’s Neighbors in Need Fund to support disaster case-management services and shelter diversion/emergency assistance.  

The results of Hurricane Maria were devastating. Merelys Torres Garcia arrived in Hartford from Fajardo, Puerto Rico with her husband, 10-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son on November 15, 2017 knowing no one and with nothing but flip-flops on their feet and summer clothes on their backs. After calling 211 they were directed to CREC’s Relief Center where they were not only greeted with smiles and love, but also with winter clothes and shoes, food, toiletries, bus passes and resources about where to find housing, and how to secure CT identification cards. Merelys’ husband quickly found work as a waiter at a restaurant in Wethersfield, and after living in the FEMA sponsored refugee housing at Hartford’s Marriot Residence Inn, they were able to use their new income to secure an apartment in Hartford, furnished with household goods and furniture by CREC’s Relief Center.

“I was so overwhelmed by the love I received at the Relief Center that I couldn’t stop crying from gratitude,” Merelys said. “They welcomed us as if we were old friends. The Relief Center was truly a blessing for all of us.”

To better understand the long-term impact of displacement on the Greater Hartford region, the Foundation has provided a $47,280 grant to The University of Connecticut’s El Instituto: Institute for Latina/o Caribbean and Latin American Studies and the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College to launch an online bilingual survey. The Foundation will be carefully examining the results of this survey in order to determine the areas of greatest need and the best use of the Travelers Foundation’s generous award.

"We are grateful for the Travelers Foundation’s support of the Greater Hartford community in meeting the needs of individuals and families relocating from Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria,” said Hartford Foundation president Jay Williams. “Support from the Travelers and other donors will allow the Respond-Rebuild-Renew Fund to continue to help fund services and supports for the influx of people who continue to come to Greater Hartford as people continue to struggle from the aftermath of this past fall’s devastating hurricanes. These funds not only support immediate assistance, but also long-term efforts that may be necessary to stabilize our region in the aftermath of a serious crisis.”

To donate to the Respond-Rebuild-Renew Fund follow this link.

About Travelers

The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home, and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has approximately 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $27 billion in 2015. For more information, visit

Travelers is ensuring opportunity by contributing to efforts that create strong, vibrant communities and offer pathways to success. Through corporate funding and the Travelers Foundation, Travelers targets its giving to three key outcomes: academic & career success, thriving neighborhoods and culturally enriched communities. With the primary focus of educating underrepresented students to lead tomorrow’s workforce, Travelers also contributes to organizations that aid in developing communities through small business support and neighborhood revitalization, and enriching lives and learning through arts & culture.

About The Foundation

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 $720 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit or call 860-548-1888.