Published in The Chronicle

By Michelle Warren

The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, which serves several towns in the area, has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Connecticut Social Equity Council.

“We are honored to be selected for this groundbreaking pilot program,” Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut President/Chief Executive Officer Maryam Elahi said. “This initiative closely aligns with the foundation’s strategic goal of advancing equity and justice in Eastern Connecticut. We look forward to working with our nonprofit partners to make sure these programs are in place for the most impacted communities.”

The grants support a Community Reinvestment Pilot Program, which are part of a $6 million reinvestment program.

According to a press release, the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut is the only community foundation in the state to receive one of the grants.

The funding will be used for services in New London, Norwich and Windham.

Five other organizations received grants under this round of funding: The Hispanic Federation; Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury; The Prosperity Foundation; United Way of Coastal Fairfield County and United Way of Western Connecticut.

Each of the organizations received a $1 million grant.

The purpose of the grant funding is to develop, expand and support programs in “Disproportionately Impacted Areas” and “strengthen families” impacted by the “War on Drugs,” the press release states.

The state defines “Disproportionately Impacted Areas” as census tracts in the state with either a historical conviction rate of more than one-tenth for drug-related convictions or an unemployment rate greater than 10%, as determined by the Connecticut Social Equity Council.

The recipients will use funds from the state’s adult-use cannabis industry for reentry and reintegration programs that support formerly incarcerated individuals and their families.

Funding will also be used for youth education, recreation and arts programs that help promote physical and mental health wellness and empower young people in the future workforce.