For Immediate Release

Contact: Jennifer O’Brien, Program Director,

The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut announces recent grant awards of nearly $2.6 million to advance equity through its six focus areas: early childhood care and education; youth development and empowerment; access to affordable, safe, and inclusive housing; access to high quality and affordable health care; women’s and girls’ empowerment; and environmental resilience. Community Foundation President and CEO Maryam Elahi reported, "For these grants, we were thrilled to receive donations of $385,765 from two anonymous funders, enabling us to issue our first-ever systems change grants and substantially increase our youth empowerment grantmaking in communities with limited resources. This is a terrific example of thoughtful collaboration and partnering for greater impact."

The Community Foundation funded more than $200,000 to address housing insecurity in Eastern Connecticut including: support for financial literacy for home seekers; homelessness prevention; civil rights enforcement for communities of color; and creation of new deed-restricted affordable housing. Grantees addressing these issues include CT Fair Housing, Eastern CT Housing Opportunities (ECHO), Habitat for Humanity, HOPE Partnership, Always Home, Martin House, New London Homeless Hospitality, and Holy Family Home and Shelter in Willimantic.

“Lack of housing that families can afford has become a major crisis in Eastern Connecticut. The Community Foundation is committed to supporting multiple avenues to reduce the burden on local residents,” stated Jennifer O’Brien, program officer at the Community Foundation.

Other highlights of the 2024 grants include:

  • $200,000 over two years to Access Community Action Agency to re-imagine pathways to homeownership for families in Northeastern Connecticut through partnerships that will bring homeownership counseling services, education and support to Windham County.
  • $105,765 over two years to the Partnership for Strong Communities to engage with youth and traditionally underserved families to conduct a comprehensive analysis of community housing needs and support the advocacy of families facing housing insecurity in Norwich.
  • $80,000 to Audubon Connecticut for Increasing Diversity in Conservation to provide paid employment in environmental conservation for youth, while enhancing forest and coastal habitats to benefit threatened bird species.
  • $10,000 to 2-4-1 CARE, in partnership with Norwich Public Schools, for two 8-week afterschool sessions of 2-4-1 TOP Self Sports, a sports enrichment program for kindergarten to grade five students.

Total funding within our focus areas includes: Youth Empowerment $718,000; Basic Needs $793,165; Advocacy & Capacity $136,000; Environmental $822,225; and Animal Welfare $118,500.

Please visit the Community Foundation’s website for a complete list of grantees.

About the Community Foundation
Serving 42 towns and comprised of over 600 charitable funds, the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut’s vision is a healthy, thriving, sustainable Eastern Connecticut with greater equity for all. We collaborate with partners to put philanthropy into action to address the needs, rights and interests of our community in Eastern Connecticut. The Community Foundation manages a permanent community endowment and has awarded over $100 million in grants and scholarships to nonprofits and students since its founding in 1983. To learn more, visit