My Favorites

Since schools, restaurants, retail stores, and other industries shut down early last year, undocumented residents who work in essential industries and do not qualify for unemployment insurance have faced dire circumstances. Young people in these families are forced to balance school commitments with increased responsibilities at home, such as childcare and supporting their younger siblings with online learning. Many undocumented families fear eviction and struggle to access to health care and food. In an effort to support these families and empower young people, members of the Latino Endowment Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving have awarded a one-year, $20,000 grant to Connecticut Students for a Dream to support its COVID Community Defense Project.


The primary goal of the project is to train undocumented young people to lead COVID Defense Workshops throughout the Hartford community. These workshops will focus on housing rights, workers’ rights, and immigrant rights and will provide strategies for young people to effectively interact with local law enforcement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, landlords, and employers. The workshops will increase young people’s knowledge and understanding of how various systems like housing, employment, and healthcare impact the undocumented community and what rights and resources the community can access.


“Undocumented immigrants in the greater Hartford area on the front lines working to keep us safe, healthy, and fed during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jorge Casasnovas, chair of the Latino Endowment Fund steering committee.  “Without public support, these families stand little chance of fighting inhumane exploitation and abuse, a reality that many tragically endure on a daily basis.  The Latino Endowment Fund’s grant to Connecticut Students for a Dream’s COVID Community Defense Project will provide undocumented Hartford youth with information and resources needed to protect themselves, their families and friends from exploitation.”


Initially, young people will be trained on the latest information regarding housing and workers’ rights during the pandemic. Then, they will reach out to their schools and local community organizations to host virtual “Know Your Rights” workshops for parents, families, and their peers. This will enhance participants’ leadership and facilitation skills while also serving as an important resource to others in their communities. The ultimate goal is to ensure that undocumented immigrants in the region have the information they need to protect them from being exploited by landlords and employers and to effectively interact with police and ICE agents.


“CT Students for a Dream is honored to receive funding from Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s Latino Endowment Fund,” said Camila Bortolleto, interim executive co-director CT Students for a Dream. “Through this grant we will be able to deepen our organizing and youth empowerment work in the Greater Hartford area focusing on housing rights, workers’ rights, and immigrant rights during the current COVID crisis and the coming COVID recovery period. We hope to foster an immigrant community that is trained, empowered, and ready to fight for and to create change in our Hartford community.”


The Latino Endowment Fund was founded in 2003 by Latino leaders in Greater Hartford to increase philanthropy in their community and to strengthen nonprofits working to improve the quality of life for Latino residents. Members examine issues affecting the Latino community and recommend grants from the fund to address those issues.


In October 2020, the Hartford Foundation announced the creation of two five-year, $250,000 flex-funds to support the Foundation’s key stakeholders of color through its Latino Endowment Fund and Black Giving Circle Fund. These additional resources will empower the two giving circles to increase their grantmaking capacity by up to $50,000 per year for the next five years and/or contribute up to $50 thousand per year to their endowment to increase their perpetual grantmaking capacity.


For more information, contact Susan Dana at 860-548-1888 or or go to


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 $785 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit or call 860-548-1888.