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Lillian Fund Awards Grant for Free Arts Programming to Help Underprivileged Youth

Members of the Jewish Community Foundation’s Lillian Fund meet with Rabbi Donna Berman, Executive Director at Charter Oak Cultural Center, after providing a grant to the Charter Oak Cultural Center’s Youth Arts Institute. The Lillian Fund is a giving circle consisting of women helping women and children in need. Submitted photo

A giving circle program of the JCF, co-chaired by West Hartford residents, the Lillian Fund has provided a grant to provide increased access to the arts for underprivileged youth.


The Lillian Fund, a giving circle at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford consisting of women helping women and children in need, granted $8,000 to Charter Oak Cultural Center’s Youth Arts Institute.

The grant is providing 15 weeks of free arts programming for about 70 students. Charter Oak Cultural Center’s Youth Arts Institute is dedicated to providing wide access to the arts for Hartford youth and to strengthening family and community through professional and community arts programming.

“We feel very strongly about expanding the reach of our collaborative dollars by supporting local organizations serving women and children, and this year’s committee and donors clearly support that direction based on their votes,” says Melissa Weinstock and Lauren Drazen, Lillian Fund co-chairs and West Hartford residents. “Thanks to our small, but mighty women’s giving circle, together we are practicing Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for repairing the world) right here at home in Greater Hartford.”

In 1999, a group of women bonded over their common mission to help women and children in need and launched a new giving circle, the Lillian Fund. The first major gift was $1,000. Today, thanks to generous donors over the past 20 years, the Lillian Fund has $283,420 in endowed funds.

A giving circle is a group of like-minded individuals who donate their time and money to a pooled fund and decide together which organizations will receive their grants. Every circle member has an equal voice in these decisions. Members who contribute $100 annually can vote on which organization will receive a Lillian Fund grant. Collaborative grant-making allows members to affect greater change on social issues and celebrate their positive impact together.

For more information about the Lillian Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, click here or email Elana MacGilpin, [email protected].

The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (JCF) was founded 47 years ago with an initial gift of $50,000 and has now grown to more than $120 million in assets. A proud partner to the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and a member of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, JCF is one of the largest charitable foundations in the state. JCF offers an array of options for every size of charitable investment, which includes family giving, donor advised funds, social impact opportunities, and Jewish funding options.

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