Initiative Reflects a Change in Foundation Policy and Practice
In March, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving announced a new grant opportunity to support faith organizations assisting residents disproportionately affected by COVID-19, addressing needs of congregants and the broader community impacted by racial/ethnic, geographic, economic disparities, or advancing community engagement focused on social and racial justice. After receiving nearly 40 applications from organizations representing a broad range of faiths from throughout the region, the Foundation’s Faith Community Grant program has awarded 33 grants totaling $300,000.
In 2020, the Hartford Foundation convened Greater Hartford faith leaders representing various religious organizations and traditions to learn about pressing needs they see, the ways they address them, and what they need to enhance their efforts. These faith leaders told the Foundation how their organizations are sharing resources and providing vital resources for critical human needs, nurturing and healing, regardless of whether they identify with a specific faith. The Foundation also heard how communities of faith are catalyzing their congregants and the broader community around social and racial justice issues.
“The faith community is an essential partner in responding to community needs across Greater Hartford, and it plays a fundamental role in supporting residents, providing inspirational support and nurturing the overall well-being of the people we both serve,” said Judy McBride, the Hartford Foundation’s director of strategic partnerships investments. “Faith leaders see and hear the challenges of residents and their families across the life cycle—from birth to death. The projects supported by the inaugural Faith Community Grants are examples of the creativity and breadth of services faith organizations offer to our community. With a modest amount of funding, they are undertaking powerful projects to support their congregants as well as the broader community, attending to vital resident needs, taking on courageous conversations and building interesting partnerships to ensure success.”
This new grant opportunity reflects a change in the Hartford Foundation’s policy and practice to expand funding opportunities to religious organizations, and broaden the range of projects that can be considered for support. The Foundation will not fund activities that promote religious doctrine.
Below is a list of organizations and project descriptions for each of the 33 grants awarded.
|Asylum Hill Congregational Church
|Grant supports expansion of the weekly Community Meals program.
|Hartford and Tolland Counties, particularly Vernon, Rockville, and Manchester
|Bloomfield Congregational Church
|Grant supports upgrading the community kitchen to support program expansion.
|Northeast, East Hartford, East Windsor, Hartford, Manchester, Windsor
|Center for Leadership and Justice
|Grant supports hiring a bilingual, bi-cultural community organizer to support residents of the Frog Hollow neighborhood. The community organizer will assist resident leaders in identifying action areas and strategies.
|Christ Church Cathedral
|Grant supports providing guests of Church Street Eats with personal hygiene products at Christ Church Cathedral location and at Bushnell Park at the time of meal distribution.
|Asylum Hill, Blue Hills, Clay Arsenal, Downtown, Frog Hollow, Parkville, Sheldon-Charter Oak, South Green
|Congregation Beth Israel
|Grant supports creation of a formal diversity, inclusion and equity assessment of the congregation, facilitated conversations and sharing the process and lessons learned with other Hartford area faith communities.
|Asylum Hill, Blue Hills, Downtown, Frog Hollow, Northeast, Parkville, South End, Upper Albany, West End, Greater Hartford
|Emanuel Lutheran Church
|Grant supports creation of a 12-month wellness program for women of color. Focusing on a cohort of 10 women, services to be offered include group coaching, individual follow up, assistance with job coaching, social connection, and service resources.
|Asylum Hill, Barry Square, Behind the Rocks, Blue Hills, Clay Arsenal, Frog Hollow, North Meadows, Northeast, Parkville, Sheldon-Charter Oak, South End, South Green, South Meadows, Southwest, Upper Albany, West End
|Enfield People for People, Inc
|Grant supports securing space in the Enfield area for use as a warming center for homeless population and providing an array of outreach services, including basic human needs supports.
|East Windsor, Enfield, Somers, Suffield, Windsor Locks
|Faith Congregational Church
|Grant supports the Faith in Our Future Project to re-instate, reinvigorate, and expand their service and strong commitment to the community by renewing the Faith Community Initiatives nonprofit which provides programs and basic supports for families and children.
|Asylum Hill, Clay Arsenal, Downtown, Upper Albany, Bloomfield, East Hartford, Windsor
|FaithActs for Education
|Grant supports a collaboration with partner churches in Greater Hartford to provide coronavirus relief to their neediest members, expand nonpartisan civic engagement programming, and build support for community engagement focused on social and racial justice.
|Behind the Rocks, Clay Arsenal, Frog Hollow, North Meadows, South End, Bloomfield, Canton, East Hartford, East Windsor, Enfield, Hartford, Manchester, Marlborough, Newington, Rocky Hill, South Windsor, Suffield, Vernon, West Hartford, Wethersfield, Windsor, Windsor Locks
|Families United Serving and Embracing (FUSE)
|Grant supports offering Brave Embrace’s Bold Girls for Gender and Racial Equity program in Greater Hartford. FUSE plans to offer the Bold program to cohorts of vulnerable and minority girls at no cost, partnering with local church youth groups and high-need schools for participant recruitment.
|First Church of Christ Congregational Glastonbury, CT
|Grant supports decreasing barriers to education by ensuring uniforms and appropriate clothing are available to students of the O’Brien STEM Academy.
|Glastonbury Links Together
|Grant supports the creation of a free choice food pantry in Glastonbury.
|Glory Chapel International Cathedral
|Grant supports providing outreach to underserved Hartford residents to promote engagement in faith-based best practices recovery-oriented services, peer support, advocacy, and provision of basic needs. Partners will conduct monthly neighborhood outreach throughout the City, provide virtual and on-site peer support opportunities and mentoring, helping people access and engage in treatment, aftercare and re-entry support in the context of community, and provide information on community resources.
|Asylum Hill, Behind the Rocks, Blue Hills, Clay Arsenal, Frog Hollow, South End, South Green, Upper Albany, Bloomfield, East Hartford, Hartford, Manchester, West Hartford, Wethersfield, Windsor
|Grace Episcopal Church, Hartford CT
|Grant supports a project to create a community action plan to make a difference in the structural racism, and social and economic disparities experienced by residents in Parkville.
|Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
|Grant supports a program designed to bring people together weekly for enrichment and discovery. Residents will have the opportunity to gather and engage in conversation on a topic, employing Ted Talks as the basis for the discussion. The program will be promoted at Friday dinners (100+ people), monthly meetings and newsletters and at a nearby food pantry.
|Asylum Hill, Avon, Bloomfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Granby, Hartford, West Hartford, Wethersfield, Windsor
|Hartford City Mission
|Grant supports free summer camp operating July 12, 2021 to August 20, 2021, five days per week providing breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a free after-school program emphasizing homework help, leadership training utilizing Black history as the curriculum and social-emotional support.
|Blue Hills, Clay Arsenal, Northeast, Upper Albany
|Grant supports The Black Ministries Program at Hartford Seminary and My People’s Community Services collaboration to provide training, mentoring and counseling to religious leaders and community members. Faithful Healing will comprise three main components, extensive training for Hartford clergy, chaplains and religious leadership; post-training, professional mentorship for program participants; and psychological counseling for those most in distress.
|Asylum Hill, Blue Hills, Clay Arsenal, North Meadows, Northeast, Parkville, Upper Albany, West End, Greater Hartford
|Horace Bushnell Children’s Food Pantry
|Grant supports the Northside Faith in Action Collaborative to address and mitigate communal barriers that prevent resident access to services, quality employment, and community involvement.
|Blue Hills, Clay Arsenal, Northeast, Upper Albany, Bloomfield, East Hartford, Hartford, Manchester, West Hartford, Windsor
|International Gospel Fellowship
|Grant supports a series of six Saturday workshops starting in September 2021 and a conference in October 2021. Workshop topics will be selected based on the needs of people in the church and community as well as community data. The conference will address challenges of isolation, mental health of family caregivers, grief support, as well as domestic violence issues.
|Blue Hills, North Meadows, Northeast, Sheldon-Charter Oak, Upper Albany, Bloomfield, East Hartford, East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Hartford, Manchester, Wethersfield, Windsor, Windsor Locks
|Lawson Chapel/Urban Hope Refuge Church
|Grant supports a community program to provide youth with leadership skills in social justice, social action and advocacy with an emphasis on civic engagement. Activities will range from round-table discussions and attending and observing public school boards and commissions to community organizing and public-awareness campaigns to affect systems change and transform their community, primarily through positive use of youth social media.
|Northeast, East Hartford, East Windsor, Hartford, Manchester, Windsor
|Mount Olive Baptist Church, Inc.
|Grant supports an 11-week, six day per week food program. Three churches will support the programing on separate days to improve access for residents.
|Clay Arsenal, Northeast
|New Antioch Baptist Missionary Baptist Church
|Grant supports a community breakfast project designed to feed families in Greater Hartford. Volunteers will prepare a full breakfast every Saturday.
|Asylum Hill, Northeast, Bloomfield, East Hartford, West Hartford, Windsor
|Rehoboth Church of God
|Grant supports broadening community outreach and support. Project supports improving service capacity at the daycare, expanding food pantry’s capacity to deliver food, strengthening counseling services, and/or expanding economic assistance program.
|Asylum Hill, Blue Hills, Upper Albany, Bloomfield, Windsor
|Saint Monica’s Episcopal Church
|Grant supports the Your Place Hartford Youth Leadership Initiative (YPHYLI), which will engage young people in the community ages 13-18 to: 1) develop self-awareness and self-esteem; 2) secure the knowledge, skills and qualities needed for effective leadership; 3) encourage and build youth leadership through meaningful engagement in real community issues; and 4) provide a stipend for participation.
|Blue Hills, Clay Arsenal, Frog Hollow, Northeast, East Hartford, East Windsor, West Hartford, Windsor
|South Congregational Church, Granby
|Grant supports expansion of the Waste Not Want Not food program.
|Greater Granby Region
|St. John’s Episcopal Church, West Hartford
|Grant supports the creation of a public space, “Abraham’s Welcome”, on Farmington Avenue at the front of St. John’s campus. The space will have three connected uses: benches for rest, a Blessing Box for provisions (small free food pantry), and a community message board for connection and information.
|Asylum Hill, West End, West Hartford
|The Cornerstone Foundation
|Grant supports developing a One-Stop Resource Center for basic needs and workforce development for homeless or long-term unemployed individuals. This program will provide pre-employment training and coaching, assistance in skill development, outreach to potential employers, serve as a temporary agency for clients and employers, and manage two sites which clients can use as a mailing address and to access other resources.
|Hartford and Tolland Counties, particularly Vernon, Rockville, and Manchester
|The Emanuel Synagogue
|Grant supports bringing public restrooms into compliance with ADA standards, updating fixtures and lighting to support reengaging seniors and people with disabilities.
|The Salvation Army
|Grant supports The Salvation Army’s Parents Second Time Around (PSTA) Program, which addresses the growing demands of individuals and families caring for their grandchildren and/or kin through caregiver education, support groups, and adult and child respite.
|Asylum Hill, Barry Square, Behind the Rocks, Blue Hills, Clay Arsenal, Downtown, Frog Hollow, North Meadows, Northeast, Parkville, Sheldon-Charter Oak, South End, South Green, South Meadows, Southwest, Upper Albany, West End, Bloomfield, East Hartford, Newington, West Hartford, Wethersfield, Windsor
|University of Connecticut Hillel
|Grant supports expansion of the distribution of hygiene totes to women, girls and individuals in Hartford. through nonprofit partners working with Dignity Grows.
|The United Methodist Church of Hartford
|Grant supports five monthly Harmony Conference panel discussion events, community Zoom/dinner events, which will gather the community around topics of anti-racism and diversity. Topics include: mass incarceration, segregated communities, safety, education; unjust poor, homelessness, reparations, police brutality, and environmental racism.
|Asylum Hill, Frog Hollow, Upper Albany, West End, West Hartford
|Unitarian Universalist Society: East
|Grant supports providing culturally appropriate, accessible, empowering and free, developmentally appropriate activities to low-income Black and brown children and youth isolated in two neighborhoods, Spruce Street and Squire Village. Through creative arts and workshops, individual mentors will work with a group of youth who have experienced COVID related trauma such as the loss of family members, household job losses, and/or economic stress. Mentoring will include tutoring and financial literacy activities supported by the Community Child Guidance Clinic.
|Grant supports the Beyond the Basics program, which builds capacity in basic needs programs to yield deeper and more holistic outcomes in the lives of the people served.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding towns. Through partnerships, the Foundation seeks to strengthen communities in Greater Hartford by putting philanthropy in action to dismantle structural racism and achieve equity in social and economic mobility. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $849 million since its founding in 1925. For more information, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.