For Immediate Release

Contact: Jennifer O’Brien, Program Director at

The Community Foundation is deeply committed to funding systems change initiatives that will work toward ending child poverty in Eastern Connecticut. The Foundation led in establishing the “End Child Poverty Now” campaign. This collaborative of 50+ organizations envisions a thriving and economically robust Connecticut, where no child experiences the debilitating effects of poverty. The collaborative believes that every child deserves access to basic necessities, quality education, and a nurturing environment that fosters their physical, emotional, and intellectual growth. The advocacy partners engage with lawmakers and policy influencers to promote and enact policies that address the root causes of child poverty, including income inequality, access to healthcare, safe and affordable homes, and quality education.

To advance this work, The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut today announces grant awards of $305,765 over two years for two nonprofits to address systemic challenges that perpetuate child poverty in Eastern Connecticut. "We believe that systemic solutions are required to address the current housing affordability crisis for families. These two grantees will work collaboratively with many partners to create innovative ways to overcome barriers to stable family housing in Eastern Connecticut," stated Community Foundation President and CEO, Maryam Elahi. “We are very grateful to the donor who funded these grants for their understanding of the critical need to support short and long-term solutions.”

The two organizations selected for this inaugural systems change grant cycle are:

Access Community Action Agency was awarded $200,000 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. "In partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the Northeastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, the Accessing Homeownership Education Center will host financial literacy workshops and homeownership counseling. The Center will also convene regional stakeholders in the real estate, mortgage, banking and housing development sectors to promote collaboration and understanding of the benefits of comprehensive homebuyer education," noted Access’ Senior Director of Community Engagement Kathleen Krider. “Home ownership promotes wealth building and can improve educational outcomes for children.”

The Partnership for Strong Communities (the Partnership) will use its grant of $105,765 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. Chelsea Ross, executive director of the Partnership, commented "As we work to advance racial justice in housing, we have to dismantle the systems that have created unequal access to opportunities for communities that have been historically underserved and underrepresented. We look forward to working with our dedicated community partners to increase housing stability for families and children in Norwich.” The Partnership will work together with the NAACP Robertsine Youth Council, Norwich Free Academy Office of Diversity, Norwich Public Schools, and Sankofa Education and Leadership on “Expanding Housing Opportunities to End Child Poverty Initiative in Norwich: A Community Led Approach.”

Please visit our website for a complete list of 2024 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 $98 million in grants and scholarships to nonprofits and students since its founding in 1983. To learn more, visit

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