We are committed to helping women and girls in Eastern Connecticut lead more fulfilling, productive, healthy lives.
In 1999, at the request of some of our donors and in response to community need, we established our first Women & Girls Fund to help empower women of all ages in 11 communities in the southeastern portion of our region. The goal of this charitable fund was to support nonprofits that help women and girls pursue positive, productive lives – for themselves and their families.
- In 2004, 2006 and 2013, additional Women & Girls Funds emerged to help women in other parts of Eastern Connecticut.
- With a combined endowment of $6.3 million, these funds continue to help remove barriers for women & girls, increase their economic security, enhance their well-being and safety, and empower them to make positive life decisions for themselves and their families.
Southeast Area Women & Girls Fund
- Our original fund, founded in 1999, serves women and girls in East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, Lyme, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Stonington and Waterford.
- Its 200 founding members and subsequent donors have built an endowment of over $4.9 million, with 27 named funds associated with it.
- This fund has awarded 343 grants totaling $1,901,097 since its inception.
Windham Area Women & Girls Fund
- Founded in 2004, this fund serves women and girls in Ashford, Chaplin, Columbia, Coventry, Mansfield, Scotland, Stafford, Union, Willington and Windham.
- Its 102 founding members, subsequent donors and challenge grants from the Jeffrey P. Ossen Family Foundation have built this permanent endowment over $850,350, with 13 named funds associated with it.
- This fund has awarded 146 grants totaling $563,238 since its inception.
Norwich Area Women & Girls Fund
- Founded in 2006, this fund serves women and girls in Norwich, Bozrah, Colchester, Franklin, Griswold, Lebanon, Lisbon, Preston, Sprague and Voluntown.
- Its 41 founding members, subsequent donors and a challenge grant from Edward & Mary Lord Foundation have established an endowment of over $218,000 to date, with two named funds associated with it.
- This fund has awarded 40 grants totaling $153,946 since its inception.
Northeast Area Women & Girls Fund
- Our latest fund, founded in 2013, serves women and girls in Brooklyn, Canterbury, Eastford, Hampton, Killingly, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Sterling, Thompson and Woodstock.
- Its 50 founders and subsequent donors have built an endowment of over $343,057, with five named funds associated with it.
- This fund awarded 55 grants totaling $116,985 since its inception.
Grant and endowment figures as of 1.1.2022
Learn how the Women & Girls Funds make a difference
The Esther Sloan Mitchell Fund
In the 1980s, the steep rise in teen pregnancy moved Sandy Hale to try and understand young mothers’ lives more deeply. She took up her camera to photograph and listen to them and document their reflections. Years later, Sandy's commitment to women and girls led her to establish a fund for Windham Women and Girls at the Community Foundation. The Fund’s name memorializes Sandy’s mother. “She was an unsung heroine to me — a homemaker with five children who was such a caring person,” she said. “I wanted her name to be remembered beyond me.” And it will. The Esther Sloan Mitchell Fund will forever provide grants to organizations strengthening the lives of Windham’s women and girls.