November 16, 2018

Hartford Foundation to split $2.9M among 29 communities

PHOTO | Hartford Foundation
PHOTO | Hartford Foundation
Hartford Foundation President Jay Williams at Thursday's Greater Together event in Hartford.

After a statewide listening tour, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has awarded $2.9 million to address a lack of resources in the 29 municipalities the community chest serves.

The foundation announced the investments, distributed through 29 separate community funds, Thursday night at its Greater Together annual event at the CREC Theater of the Performing Arts in Hartford.

Each city and town will have its own fund by spring 2019, receiving $100,000 over two years. The foundation said half of the fund's money will be granted when a community's advisory committee of local residents is established.

The committees will identify the community's largest needs and design a grantmaking process. Hartford Foundation staff will assist committee decisions as needed.

The foundation has traditionally focused on funding nonprofits or school districts in north central Connecticut, including municipalities between Canton, Rocky Hill, Tolland and Enfield.

In September, the foundation launched a new $4 million investment arm that will include collaborative investments in companies, organizations and funds that support of affordable housing and economic development.

That new fund has already committed $1.7 million for upgrades to Hartford's Dillon Stadium. That includes $500,000 for improvements to Colt Park.

Officials said the foundation traveled to 16 locations, meeting with residents from 23 towns to learn about the challenges facing their communities. While local residents understood local challenges, the foundation says their city or town is often "constrained" by a lack adequate resources.

"We ask our residents to imagine what their communities can do with a fund like this," said Jay Williams, who was named president in July 2017.

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