Dear Friends,

We live in extraordinary times! The last few years have been remarkable in demonstrating your deep commitment to equity in our community.

During the pandemic, you joined our Circle of Kindness and supported the Neighbors for Neighbors Fund, providing over $1.5 million to those most in need. We worked closely with municipalities across the region to focus American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investments in three critical areas: early childhood care and education; mental health and wellness; and affordable and safe housing. We continue to advocate for State funding to remain focused on these priority areas, because research has shown that they are critical to lifting people out of poverty. All children should receive quality care so they can thrive, and all adults should be able to provide safe and healthy environments for their families.

We now better understand how systems change addresses the root causes of some of the problems we are facing. We are deeply committed to supporting our statewide advocacy nonprofits. We convene local nonprofits regularly and help them advocate and lobby. In fact, we are now registered as a lobbyist ourselves. If we have learned anything over these past three years, it is that we can surmount any challenge when we pool our resources and leverage our voices. We can amplify residents’ voices through advocacy coalitions. Our legislators need to hear from us!

A highlight of 2023 was the launch of the Center for Housing Equity and Opportunity in Eastern Connecticut. The Center is a strategic partnership, led by the Community Foundation, that includes Connecticut College, Eastern Connecticut State University, the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, the Housing Collective, Partnership for Strong Communities, and Regional Plan Association.

The mission of the Center is to align a diverse coalition of practitioners, policymakers, residents, and community organizations to collectively identify and build upon community-driven and data-informed solutions that preserve, protect, and produce safe and affordable housing for all. We are grateful to the 13 funders that have made this Center a reality.

In this 40th year of serving the region, we established two endowed funds at the Foundation to better serve our community. The Brighter Futures Fund advances equitable outcomes to improve the lives of children and youth in Eastern Connecticut. The Fund for Racial Justice advances racial equity, supports racial justice organizing and advocacy, and allocates flexible resources to organizations and movements led by people of color in Eastern Connecticut.

When we stand together, we are resilient. When we are resilient, we can create a healthy, thriving, sustainable Eastern Connecticut with greater equity for all. Thank you for being an invaluable member of our community.

Warm regards,


Maryam Elahi