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Seven nonprofits to utilize funds for grassroots, community-led efforts    

WATERBURY, CT June 28, 2024 – Webster announced today it will commit $100,000 to support seven non-profits in its founding city of Waterbury.

The funds, focused on providing an opportunity to immediately expand the nonprofits’ outreach, will benefit Brass City Harvest, Bridge to Success, North End Cooperative Market, The Waterbury Opportunity Industrialization Center, The RIBA Aspira Career Academy, Ungroup Society and The Waterbury Land Bank.

“Waterbury remains an important hub for Webster, and we are excited to support these worthy organizations by providing much-needed capital for community programming and outreach,” said Marissa Weidner, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer. “These organizations will be able to expand their impact and create lasting positive change where it is needed the most.”

“Since its inception in 1935, Webster’s support of the city of Waterbury has been unwavering, assisting numerous nonprofits and community organizations, and we are delighted to see an infusion of funds to assist these seven nonprofits with some immediate needs,” said Waterbury Mayor Paul Pernerewski Jr. “Webster Bank has been an employer of choice in the greater Waterbury area, employing hundreds of people over the years, and they continue to have a significant presence in the city.”

Kevin Taylor, Executive Director of NEST, which serves as a fiduciary for several of the grant recipients said, “Webster’s commitment to Waterbury remains unwavering. Their targeted philanthropic support for grassroots organizations is both essential and commendable. I am pleased to see funding supporting these worthy organizations, which address critical needs such as food scarcity, unemployment, childcare, and the overall success of children.”

The grant recipients demonstrated funding needs that would address operational and community needs in workforce training and placement, housing, food security, and represent diverse missions and long-standing commitments to the greater Waterbury community.

  • Brass City Harvest helps increase local food access, distribution, and consumption of farm fresh food by connecting Waterbury residents to a network of Connecticut’s finest family farms and orchards through retail and wholesale markets. In addition, Brass City Harvest provides nutrition education and cooking classes at its food hub location.
    Contact: Michele Morcey,
  • Bridge to Success is a cross-sector partnership of more than 90 community and civic leaders, educators, and organizations in Waterbury working collectively to achieve equitable change by empowering Waterbury’s children, youth, and families, to be successful in school, career, and life. As Connecticut’s first cradle to career model, BTS uses data to advocate for and implement change within the education and childcare systems.
    Contact: Althea Marshall Brooks, Executive Director,
  • North End Cooperative Market is a small grassroots effort to bring a food co-op model to Waterbury. NE Co-op is currently looking at three locations in the North End to house the co-op and is creating relationships with farmers to bring in fresh, local, and culturally requested food where they live. NE Co-op will also offer community gardens, a farmers’ market, nutrition education and financial literacy programming.
    Contact: Shawne Johnson,
  • The Waterbury Opportunity Industrialization Center is part of a national network of OICs that aim to expose discriminatory hiring practices and open thousands of jobs for African Americans. The Waterbury OIC provides computer skills training, ESL classes, financial literacy programming, and individualized career counseling. Contact: Reggie Beamon,
  • The RIBA Aspira Career Academy focuses on childcare, after-school programs, and job training/placement via a targeted neighborhood approach to reduce unemployment rates in the South End/River Baldwin (RIBA) section of Waterbury. Contact: Tomas Olivo Valentin at
  • Ungroup Society is a grassroots community engagement organization that offers a variety of classes from financial literacy to art to Afro/Latino studies, in addition to a wide range of community outreach efforts such as health fairs, educational field trips, prom dress/suit drives, anti-bullying rallies, community conversations, and voting programs.      Contact: Warren Leach at 
  • The Waterbury Land Bank identifies properties that can be acquired, stabilized, and repurposed to help improve quality of life for Waterbury residents who have not previously had the opportunity for stable housing or home ownership. The Land Bank helps catalyze neighborhood improvement, reduce conditions of blight, and advance existing community improvement plans with owner occupancy as the number one priority.
    Contact: Nancy MacMillan,