Our Community Priorities
As the community foundation serving all of Eastern Connecticut, we welcome and work with generous people who want to give back, support effective solutions to pressing community challenges and promote the well-being of our region.
We are dedicated to integrating the values of equity and social justice into our community priorities.
We fund a wide range of initiatives and projects that connect people who care - our donors - with the nonprofits, schools, libraries and other organizations that change people's lives for the better throughout our region. As an organization committed to greater equity and justice for all in our communities, we are putting our full attention towards anti-racism.
Our board and staff have undertaken an intentional process to listen to and learn from constituents’ voices, especially those that have been historically marginalized, and to bring that learning and those voices into our strategic priorities: Youth Empowerment, Basic Needs & Rights, Environmental Conservation & Education, and Animal Welfare.
Helping You Have Meaningful Impact
In July 2015, we completed an 18-month-long strategic planning process through which our Board and staff sought input from our nonprofit partners, community knowledge experts, community leaders, residents and donors on how together, we could be a stronger, more purposeful "force for good" in the community. We also looked at our past successes and conferred with our peer community foundations on what's working in other communities.
With that input and building upon our strengths, the Community Foundation's 2015-2018 Strategic Plan affirms our commitment to working with donors to put their philanthropy into action, with a particular focus on four priority areas - four pillars that will guide our relationship building, grantmaking and capacity building efforts. In 2018, the Foundation board of trustees and staff decided to continue the work of this strategic plan into 2020.
These pillars give us all the opportunity to unite to empower young people, promote basic needs and rights, preserve the environment and advance animals and wildlife.
We strive to ensure that our youth live in a safe and supportive environment, and have access to high quality, emotionally, intellectually, culturally and environmentally rich learning opportunities. Priority given to programs that:
- Enhance quality early childhood education and intervention services;
- Support mentoring programs that encourage relationships between youth and caring adults;
- Support access to programs that promote mental and physical health as well as those that address disconnected youth;
- Enhance educational opportunities in science, literacy, arts and culture, especially those that use experiential learning;
- Support post-secondary education access and job readiness; and
- Support youth-led social change and elevate the voices of youth in program planning.
Promote Basic Needs & Rights
We strive to ensure that the region’s residents have access to social and health services, healthy nutrition, stable housing, job training and education, and arts and culture. Priority given to programs that:
- Promote individual and family economic security;
- Increase food security and access to nutritious food;
- Decrease homelessness through programs that promote diversion and intervention;
- Improve access to healthcare and human services, especially in communities of color;
- Promote healthy relationships and address domestic violence; and
- Utilize arts and culture experiences to educate and improve overall quality of life.
Preserve the Environment
We strive to foster an understanding of and promote action on the relationship between the health of the natural world and the health and well-being of our residents. Priority given to programs that:
- Preserve and protect environmentally significant lands, waterways and wildlife habitats – for the benefit not only of the ecosystem, but for the health, livelihood and enjoyment of local residents;
- Engage youth, especially youth of color, in environmental education to help develop the next generation of stewards of the environment; and
- Focus on environmental justice: the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens and meaningful participation of all communities in environmental decision-making.
Advance Animal Welfare
Ensure adequate protection, care and humane treatment of animals and wildlife. Priority given to programs that:
- Provide assistance for veterinary care for domestic animals and/or wildlife, especially spay and neuter services;
- Encourage responsible pet ownership and adoptions of abandoned animals; and
- Make positive connections between humans and animals (i.e. therapeutic riding programs, canine literacy buddies, inmate rehabilitation, etc.).