YMCA of Greater Hartford Receives Grant from Black Giving Circle at Hartford Foundation to Support Youth Financial Literacy

Many young people lack even the most basic information about such things as how to open a checking or savings account or how to budget their money to save for the future after they get their first job. Studies show that providing young people with practical, real-world information about finances can have a great impact on improving students' financial literacy. In an effort to promote this type of learning for black youth in Hartford, the YMCA of Metropolitan Hartford has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Black Giving Circle at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to support financial literacy programming offered to over 200 youth participating in YMCA programs.

"We are excited that the grant entrusted to us will be reinvested in the families we serve to help them succeed in their personal and financial goals," said Harold Sparrow, president and CEO if the YMCA of Greater Hartford. "The key to achieving those goals is education, and we are proud to offer a supportive environment for our students and families to learn how to manage their finances."

The Wilson-Gray YMCA's financial literacy program will be incorporated into existing youth development programs, including the Y Achievers Fun & Finance Academy, Y Teen Incentive Program (Y-TIP), Girls Creating a Future (GCAF), Boys with a Purpose (BWAP), and Beat Lab, a new multimedia program combining financial literacy, photography and music creation in partnership with the Hartford Public Library. Combined, these programs serve over 200 youth, of whom at least 75 percent are black. Participants will learn about saving for their future, personal budgeting strategies, stock market investing basics, and banking.

The goals of our financial literacy programming are to:

  • Ensure children have the knowledge and tools needed to manage personal finances responsibly;
  • Engage parents to help them plan for their child's future by offering strategies for college savings; and
  • Help students establish savings accounts to begin a personal savings plan.

In Y-TIP, GCAF, BWAP, and Beat Lab, the month of February will be dedicated to financial literacy. Students will learn about different aspects of personal finance, including opening and maintaining a bank account, budgeting, and investing. In addition, parents will be invited to at least two seminars during the month wherein they will also receive information on budgeting and saving for college.

The YMCA will use a newly revamped Y Achievers national, evidence-based curriculum developed by YMCA of the USA. The content is entitled "Fun and Finance," and we will use elements of this curriculum in both the Y Achievers Fun & Finance academy as well as in the other youth development areas.

The Y Achievers Fun & Finance Academy serves 6th grade students from Hartford and surrounding communities. The program meets two Saturdays per month, from October through May, at the Wilson-Gray YMCA.

This is the second grant awarded by members of the Black Giving Circle Fund at the Hartford Foundation. At the beginning of 2017, Black Giving Circle members chose the importance of financial literacy for Black youth as this year's focus. Members hosted two informational sessions to learn from local and national experts about the issues surrounding financial literacy for Black youth.

"This grant helps to facilitate, with intention, a financial literacy program that transforms the way young people view their finances, said Darryl Thames, co-chair of the Black Giving Circle Fund steering committee. "It is our hope that the programming will expand the mindset of money management in such a way that young people and their families view themselves not only as consumers, but as investors in their future. The Black Giving Circle Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is proud to offer this grant to provide more of our young people with the tools and strategies they need to more responsibly save, budget and grow their money to ensure their long-term future."

Now in its second year, the mission of Black Giving Circle Fund is "to create sustainable change in the Black community by leveraging the philanthropic efforts of donors and celebrating Black philanthropy." Membership to the Black Giving Circle Fund is open to everyone. Donations from members (at least $365 annually per membership) are pooled together in a dedicated endowed fund at the Hartford Foundation. Members of the fund examine issues facing the Black community in Greater Hartford and, collectively, recommend grants to nonprofit organizations that work to address needs in the Black community.


For more information, or to join the Black Giving Circle Fund, visit hfpg.org/blackgivingcircle or call Francesca Borges Gordon at 860-548-1888.


The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. In 2015, the Foundation celebrated ninety years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations. It has awarded grants of more than $680 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.