June 14, 2021 By Nancy Burns-Fusaro firstname.lastname@example.org The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut distributed grants of $2,306,126 in support of four strategic priorities: youth empowerment, basic needs and rights, environmental conservation and education, and animal welfare. In the face of glaring inequities magnified by the pandemic in local health, housing and educational systems, the foundation’s grants committees took a two-pronged approach. Priority was given to local organizations that meet immediate, day-to-day needs of residents most impacted by the crisis and to those that are advancing public policy efforts to address upstream systems change. A record number of multi-year awards recognizes the importance of future funding commitments to nonprofit partners, allowing them to focus on delivering critical services rather than on fundraising from year-to-year. As always, these grants are made possible by caring donors who established funds to benefit people and places in Eastern Connecticut. “We are very fortunate to work with donors and other partners as, together, we put our arms around our residents and work to bring about positive and equitable change in our region,” said Maryam Elahi, Community Foundation president and CEO. Grant highlights from the Community Foundation’s focus on equity across its 42-town footprint include: Funding of $15,000 to the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs for a program that combines green economy jobs and recruitment and training of local residents, especially people of color, in careers that provide opportunity and growth. A $5,000 grant to CLiCK for Food Safety Training to low-income individuals in the Windham area, with a primary focus on ethnic minorities. A multi-year grant of $40,000 to Connecticut Fair Housing will help individuals and families in Eastern Connecticut through civil rights enforcement and removing barriers to home ownership. A total of $48,000 was awarded to the following animal welfare organizations for medical care for pets that benefit families with limited income and for animal adoption: Stand Up for Animals, Animal Welfare League of New London County, Groton Animal Foundation, Ledyard CHAIN, All Paws on Deck, Waggle, the Potter League and PAWS Cat Shelter.