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West Hartford Greater Together Community Fund Awards More Than $20,000 to Local Organizations

Offices of the Senior Job Bank at West Hartford Town Hall. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Greater Together Community Fund awarded grants to five local organizations in the most recent round.

Building connections at the West Hartford Library through a Golden Door book group for immigrants. Courtesy of West Hartford Greater Together Community Fund (we-ha.com file photo)

By Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Greater Together Community Fund – one of 29 town-specific funds seeded by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving in 2019 to provide grants to nonprofits to improve the quality of life in the towns or directly address a need in the community – has announced that five local organizations have received a grant in the third round.

The all-volunteer committee that reviews the grant applications is tasked with fulfilling the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s mission and anchoring the organization in the town through supporting needs specific to that town and projects that “encourage broad and inclusive civic engagement.”

According to an announcement from the West Hartford Greater Together Community Fund, the five grants awarded in this cycle “will help to fund programs or projects that will ‘improve or enhance the quality of life in West Hartford or otherwise contribute to addressing a direct need’ of the West Hartford community. This year’s grants cycle focused on organizations with annual operating budgets under $2 million serving key populations with priority given to organizations/programs specifically supporting youth, seniors, and traditionally marginalized/underserved communities.”

Jessica Zachs Founder of Dignity Grows. Courtesy photo (we-ha.com file photo)

The 2023 recipients and projects are:

  • Dignity Grows, Inc. – The organization provides reusable zipper-top tote bags (“Hope in a Bag”) to residents in need, filled with a month’s supply of hygiene products like soap, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, maxi pads, and panty liners. Distribution is handled discreetly, through partnership with social service agencies.
  • For All Ages, Inc. – The intergenerational “Tea @3 Community” is a 12-week program that fosters social interaction between older adults and youth – over a cup of tea.
  • Golden Door: A Center for Immigrants – The Building Bridges Book Club, an intercultural book club that is held in partnership with the West Hartford Public Library, provides participants with English language learning support, while building relationships, sharing cultures, and exchanging thoughts. The program is accessible to all West Hartford immigrants.
  • Seniors Job Bank, Inc. – “Working into Retirement”is an education program for West Hartford residents age 50 and up who are seeking job opportunities. The training programs target skill gaps and are built upon the individuals’ experience.
  • West Hartford Parent Community of Concern – Funding will support both the “Youth Substance Use & Prevention Resource Fair” this fall and “Mental Health Awareness Community Day” in the spring of 2024. The events are geared toward West Hartford adolescents (middle and high school age) and their families by providing education, support, and additional resources.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue to support the great work of organizations serving to community of West Hartford and learn about the creative and thoughtful programs being put forth to serve many different individuals,” Mike Fournier, Bre Lamoureaux, and Tracy Wu Fastenberg, co-chairs of the West Hartford Greater Together Community Fund said in an announcement. “This cycle we were able to adjust some of our timing and parameters based on feedback we received, one of the benefits of being so close to the community we are serving.”

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving originally seeded each of the funds with $100,000, and in the first round, a total of $25,000 was granted to seven West Hartford nonprofits. Grant amounts provided to each organization in 2021 ranged from $1,850 to $5,500, with the amount of the award determined after review of the scope and focus of the project proposals.

In its second round of grant funding, which took place in 2022, the West Hartford Greater Together Community Fund Advisory Committee awarded 10 grants. The following organizations were recipients: Autism Families CONNECTicut; Children’s Reading Partners; Connecticut Alliance for Victims of Violence and Their Families, Inc. (CT-ALIVE); Dignity Grows, Inc.; Golden Door: A Center for Immigrants; Jewish Teen Learning Connection (JT Connect); Seniors Job Bank, Inc.; Voices of Hope; Volunteers in Psychotherapy; West Hartford Parent Community Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Groups (WH EDI).

This fall the West Hartford Greater Community Fund plans to host an event to celebrate the organizations that have received funding in the three cycles that have taken place thus far. Additional Advisory Committee members will be recruited beginning this fall as well, and anyone interested in applying is encouraged to follow the WHGTCF on Facebook or visit the website for more information about the work of the Committee.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving also welcomes tax-deductible contributions to the West Hartford Greater Together Community Fund from organizations and individuals, to be utilized in support of West Hartford residents. Anyone interested or in need of additional information should email [email protected].

More information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving can be found at www.hfpg.org or by calling 860-548-1888.

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