Fundraising Continued Its Upward Trend, Approaching $25 Million
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the community foundation for 29 cities and towns in Greater Hartford, awarded more than $45 million in grants to the region’s nonprofit agencies in 2021. This is the second largest grantmaking total in the Foundation’s 96-year history, behind only the record $52.7 million in grants made during the peak of the pandemic’s public health and economic crises in 2020.
“Where 2020 tested our flexibility, 2021 tested our resilience,” said Hartford Foundation President/CEO Jay Williams. “We have remained steadfast in our commitment to dismantle systemic racism by listening to residents and creating new opportunities for nonprofits to connect and partner with us. That commitment will not waver in 2022, and we appreciate the unflinching support from our Board of Directors, donors and stakeholders in helping us make progress toward that goal.”
Throughout the year, the Foundation continued its work to advance equity in economic and social mobility through its support of strategic outcomes that contribute to residents’ efforts to reach their potential, with a focus on Black and Latinx residents, including efforts to increase the number of Hartford residents living in higher opportunity neighborhoods within an outside of Hartford, improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of residents, increase employment opportunities for residents of color—including opportunity youth and those returning from incarceration, increase civic and resident engagement, and increase equity and inclusion in the arts sector.
According to the latest, unaudited numbers, the Foundation ended 2021 with total assets of nearly $1.25 billion. Individuals, families and a variety of organizations opened a total of 83 new funds, and the Foundation received gifts totaling more than $24.5 million. Since its founding in 1925, the Foundation has awarded more than $894 million in grants.
The Hartford Foundation’s 2021 grant investments included:
The Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund awarded more than 250 grants, distributing more than $9.6 million between March 2020 and February 2021. Throughout 2021, the Fund continued to address urgent needs in the region by making proactive, targeted, and deeper investments related to the ongoing public health and economic crises.
In March, the Foundation announced its Access Grants initiative, an effort that identifies nonprofits working in alignment with our strategic priority of dismantling structural racism. Through two rounds of funding in July and October, the Foundation awarded more than $1.1 million to 33 nonprofits in Hartford and surrounding towns. Many of these organizations received grants from the Foundation for the first time through this initiative.
In June, the Foundation awarded 33 grants totaling $300,000 to faith-based organizations that have been helping residents disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Their work addresses the needs of their congregants and the broader community and advances social and racial justice. This new approach emerged out of multiple listening sessions with faith leaders in 2020.
In June, the Hartford Foundation launched the Action Fund for Racial Justice to award grants to nonprofits that are working to dismantle barriers to opportunity for communities of color, rebuild more equitable systems, or support those adversely affected by structural racism. Over seven months, generous donors committed more than $500,000 to the Fund, a large portion of which has already been invested in the community.
Over the summer, the Foundation collaborated with the City of Hartford, Capital for Change, and several technical assistance providers to offer a third round of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program which provided $930,000 to Hartford small businesses. This follows more than $2 million awarded in 2020, with more than 70% of grants going to minority- or women-owned small businesses in Hartford.
In August, the Foundation partnered with the City of Hartford and Dalio Education to invest $9.85 million to support opportunity youth, individuals aged 16 to 24 who are currently disengaged from school or work. Because of this funding, three organizations, COMPASS Youth Collaborative, Our Piece of the Pie, and Roca, Inc., are providing individualized, trauma-informed, high-touch support to targeted groups of young people in Greater Hartford.
More than half of the Foundation’s Greater Together Community Funds made inaugural grants to local nonprofits. The Community Funds were designed to support Greater Hartford residents in taking ownership of the unique needs in their communities, while encouraging inclusive civic engagement. By the end of 2021, 19 town committees awarded a combined 114 grants, totaling more than $418,000. The Foundation recently announced a new $1.45 million investment into the Community Funds to ensure that town committees can continue to make grants in perpetuity.
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 $894 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.