What Do Pets, Education and the Arts in Manchester All Have in Common?

The answer is H. Louise Ruddell, a lifelong resident of Pearl Street in Manchester. When Ms. Ruddell died in 1983 at age 96, she set up a private foundation in her will, as well as a charitable fund named in her honor, to aid organizations providing programs and services to the citizens of Manchester and institutions working for the prevention of cruelty to animals. The assets of that foundation came to the Hartford Foundation in 2001. Since then, the fund has awarded 227 grants totaling more than $1.3 million.

Our Companions Animal Rescue was among the 19 Manchester-based programs recently receiving a total of $94,363 in grants from the H. Louise Ruddell Charitable Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Their $4,000 grant will help expand the Buddy Project, a humane education program that provides services to youth with special needs and/or difficult histories.

“We are deeply grateful for this generous gift from the Ruddell Charitable Fund because it is instrumental in allowing students to remain in The Buddy Project if private or agency funding is not available,” explains Susan Linker, Our Companions’ Chief Executive Officer. “Over time, students can benefit in impactful ways that can be seen beyond their weekly sessions at the Sanctuary. The funding allows youth the time they need to remain engaged and to observe how their training work is positively impacting the animals at the Sanctuary.”

Another example of one of the Ruddell Fund’s beneficiaries is the Discovery Center. They received a $7,900 grant to support participation of Manchester middle school students in Discovery Camp, as well the participation of teachers in Equity in Education training.

One part of the grant allows fifth and sixth grade Manchester students to make friends and build relationships at Discovery camp, where they have a unique opportunity to learn about equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as the leadership skills necessary to recognize and interrupt racism and prejudice. One Manchester middle school student shares, “I am going to STOP excluding people by their appearance and START including and respecting people for who they are inside not outside.”

Another portion of this grant supports the attendance of Manchester teachers in Equity in Education workshops, which provide training on how to build more equitable and inclusive classrooms. Teachers learn to make shifts toward equity in both ideology and practice, and learn to recognize and respond to inequities in their schools. A participating teacher elaborated, “Students who do not feel safe cannot learn. This work is not just useful, it is essential if we are committed to the academic success of all students.”

According to Gretchen Fountain, the Discovery Center’s development director, “The Discovery Center is deeply grateful for the grant from the H. Louise Ruddell Fund. This support enables Manchester children and educators to have life-changing experiential learning that helps to build more equitable learning environments. What a wonderful way to honor Ms. Ruddell’s commitment to her Manchester community!”


Other 2018 grants from the Ruddell Fund were:

  • C.A.S.T., Inc., $3,500:  To expand marketing and outreach efforts, and to offer reduced-rate tickets for children and seniors.
  • Community Child Guidance Clinic, Inc., $7,500: For iPads for the IICAPS program and waiting room.
  • Community Health Resources, $7,000: To expand health and wellness programming for the Manchester community.
  • Connecticut Humane Society, $8,000: To improve the welfare of owned and unowned pets in Manchester by expanding the current collaboration with Manchester Animal Control.
  • Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, Inc., $2,000: To provide follow-up services to current Manchester clients and to Volunteer Puppy Raisers living in Manchester.   
  • Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, $4,000: For the Aid-A-Pet program.
  • Little Theater of Manchester, Inc., $8,000: For the Passport to the Arts program.      
  • Lutz Children’s Museum, $6,500: To support the care and feeding of all animals in the museum.        
  • Manchester Area Conference of Churches, Inc., $7,000: To upgrade the facilities of the Emergency Community Food Pantry
  • Manchester Community College Foundation, $4,000: To partially support hosting a VISTA worker and the student food pantry on campus.
  • Manchester Historical Society, $2,500: To reprint three local history books used as teaching tools.
  • The Manchester Police Activities League, Inc., $3,500: For technology upgrades to the PAL Center.
  • Manchester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, Inc., $2,000: To support a concert in Manchester featuring a full orchestra, chorale, and advanced young musicians from Manchester High School and other local schools.
  • MRC Track & Field Series, Inc., $1,000: A challenge grant to help raise funds from the business community of Manchester.
  • Protector of Animals, $4,000: For an additional bank of cat cages for the spay/neuter clinic.
  • Rebuilding Together Manchester, Inc., $7,963: To partially support home modifications and repair for low income homeowners.
  • The Children’s Museum, $4,000: to expand the Science Achievement for A11 program in Manchester.

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 www.hfpg.org  or call 860-548-1888.