Join us to support the most pressing community needs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.
The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut and the United Ways of Southeastern Connecticut and Central and Northeastern Connecticut are collaborating on the Neighbors for Neighbors Fund, established at the Community Foundation. We are working with the support of a cross-section of individuals, private foundations, corporations and others to get flexible resources out to community-based organizations at the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.
The fund is designed to be flexible and nimble in supporting the work of these organizations in meeting the basic needs of residents of Eastern Connecticut, especially our most vulnerable populations. It complements the work of federal, state and municipal government relief efforts, to identify and fill gaps, and to expand local capacity to address all aspects of the crisis as effectively and efficiently as possible.
The fund’s resources go to organizations that provide direct assistance to high need populations — including low-income individuals, residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days, communities of color, and persons with disabilities, among others — to address immediate basic needs such as healthcare, food, shelter, childcare and other supports to ensure stability and well-being.
We know nonprofit agencies face financial disruption, so as resources allow, the Fund may also provide operating support to nonprofits that are meeting community needs resulting from COVID-19.
The Community Foundation and the United Ways are jointly administering requests for funding. Requests for funding are considered and released in phases. We have made three rounds of grants as of April 2021.
Over the past year, we have all been reminded of our most basic shared value. We know that all of us depend on each other for a healthy community. Our hearts and commitment go out to everyone, especially those who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Together, we will get through this and thrive as a region again.
Funding is available for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive tax-deductible contributions, such as schools, faith-based organizations serving community needs, and other public entities based in, or serving residents of, the Community Foundation's 42-town footprint in New London County and Windham/Tolland Counties.
Requests for funding will be reviewed by a joint committee convened by the Community Foundation of Eastern CT, United Way of Southeastern CT and the United Way of Central and Northeastern CT. Each of these partners has a deep knowledge base of the community and networks in our region.
If you have general questions about the process, see the FAQs below. If you have specific questions about your organization, contact Program Officer Stephanye R. Clarke at email@example.com.
Donate (and have your gift matched, dollar for dollar!)
Individuals and organizations can donate and find additional information about the Neighbors for Neighbors Fund below.
As of April 15, 2021, nearly $1.5 million has been given to the Fund.
In late March 2020, we announced a $200,000 Challenge from a group of donor advised funds at the Community Foundation to match all gifts to the Neighbors for Neighbors Fund, dollar for dollar, which was quickly earned in full within a few weeks. The donors then added another $50,000 to the Challenge and generous people rose the occasion again with gifts that were matched dollar for dollar. In mid-August of 2020, we announced a third Challenge of $100,000, which was also earned in full. In November 2020, we announced a special Thanksgiving Challenge which matched all gifts dollar for dollar up to a total of $50,000.
Our goal is to provide additional funding cycles through 2021 with a focus on recovery. We need your ongoing support to help ensure the well-being of our neighbors and our region.
We welcome all forms of donations — including stock gifts and IRA Charitable Rollovers. You can find more details by clicking on the donate button below.
We recognize and thank our generous funding partners, including Berkshire Bank Foundation, Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation, Chelsea Groton Foundation, CorePlus Credit Union, R.S. Gernon Trust Fund/Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, The Per and Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation, Edward and Mary Lord Foundation, Melville Charitable Trust, Nordson Corporation Foundation, Jeffrey P. Ossen Family Foundation, Frank Loomis Palmer Fund/Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, People's United Community Foundation, and Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts, as well as many local residents who have shown their love for their neighbors and community by giving to this Fund.
To see a complete list of the generous donors who have contributed to the Neighbors for Neighbors Fund, click here:
Frequently Asked Questions:
I’m an individual or a member of a family who’s been affected by COVID-19. Can this Fund help me?
While the Fund is not able to provide grants directly to individuals or families, we are funding community-based organizations that have experience providing people and families with services and support. The Fund’s resources are directed to organizations offering direct assistance to high need, vulnerable populations — including low-income individuals, residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days, communities of color, and individuals with disabilities, among others — to address immediate basic needs such as healthcare, food, shelter, childcare and other supports to ensure stability and well-being.
We encourage all residents to closely monitor updates and review valuable health and safety resources from the State of Connecticut and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as their local health departments. The State of Connecticut has partnered with United Way of Connecticut to launch an information hotline for questions from the public regarding issues related to the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). People who have questions can call 2-1-1 or text “CTCOVID” to 898211.
My organization is interested in resources from this Fund. Can we be considered?
We understand the COVID-19 crisis has impacted local nonprofits in many ways, including increased demand for services, lost revenue due to closures, and program and event cancellations, as well as other challenges.
Funding is available for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive tax-deductible contributions, such as schools, faith-based organizations serving community needs, and other public entities based in — or serving residents of — the Community Foundation's 42-town footprint in New London County and Windham/Tolland Counties.
Requests for funding are reviewed by a joint committee convened by the Community Foundation of Eastern CT, United Way of Southeastern CT, and the United Way of Central and Northeastern CT. Each of these partners has a deep knowledge base of the community and networks in our region.
We awarded the first two rounds of grants in May and October 2020. We anticipate a third round of grants in the first quarter of 2021.
Click here for more information on our grantmaking for this fund.
I want to donate. Can I restrict my funding to a prioritized grantee?
To ensure we move critical resources as efficiently as possible and respond to needs of nonprofit organizations serving the most impacted and vulnerable communities and residents, we are not considering restricted donations at this time. Information on how to make a gift can be found in the "Donate" section of this page. Remember: all gifts will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $50,000 through our special Thanksgiving Challenge!
For assistance or more information on making donations to specific organizations, contact Alison Woods at the Community Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: As part of the federal CARES Act, non-itemizers will be able to claim an "above the line" deduction of up to $300 for cash only charitable donations (gifts to donor advised funds and supporting organizations excluded).
Should I give to this Fund instead of making other donations?
This Fund was not created to be the only vehicle resourcing critical community activities during this outbreak. If this Fund’s priorities align with your interests, we hope you will consider making a donation. However, this is a critical time for many, including the nonprofit organizations that have benefited from your giving in the past, as well as those that have had to cancel annual fundraising events or depend heavily on public gatherings or fees from programs.
In addition to making a gift to this Fund, we encourage you to support local nonprofit organizations that work with the most vulnerable people and families in our community. Community health centers, homeless shelters, early childhood and afterschool programs, food pantries and others, which are already dealing with reductions in state and federal funding, will be further stressed. In times like this, philanthropy can shine.
What will NOT be included in the first phase of funding?
We prioritize getting resources to frontline community organizations to help them meet the basic needs of local residents. The Fund’s primary purpose is to minimize the social and economic consequences of this global pandemic and to prevent the widening of inequities and opportunity gaps in food security, education, employment, housing, and health.
We remain unable to prioritize organizations outside the scope of the Fund’s primary purpose that have lost revenue or are likely to lose future revenue due to canceled events or programs, or larger public institutions that are strained by increased demand for services. We recognize these challenges, and as the crisis and long-term impacts unfold, we will continue to assess and evolve our funding strategies.
Is there a geographic area of focus for the Fund?
The Fund will prioritize community-based organizations serving residents of the Community Foundation’s 42-town footprint, which includes:
Ashford, Bozrah, Brooklyn, Canterbury, Chaplin, Colchester, Columbia, Coventry, Eastford, East Lyme, Franklin, Griswold, Groton, Hampton, Killingly, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Lyme, Mansfield, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Norwich, Old Lyme, Plainfield, Pomfret, Preston, Putnam, Salem, Scotland, Sprague, Stafford, Sterling, Stonington, Thompson, Union, Voluntown, Waterford, Willington, Windham, and Woodstock
Will you share who you fund?
Certainly. Click here to see a list of the grants from the Neighbors for Neighbors Fund.
Is there a fee to contribute?
Donors contributing online will be asked to cover 3% per transaction for credit card processing fees charged by our payment processor. The Community Foundation will not charge an administrative fee on funds raised.
How will the Fund shift gears if needed?
The near-term goal of the Fund is to provide a rapid response that delivers financial resources to address immediate needs. It is anticipated that fundraising and the distribution of resources will continue through the outbreak and into the recovery phase, which has an unknown timeline. As we are dealing with unprecedented and unpredictable short- and long-term implications of COVID-19, we will frequently review the Fund’s criteria for grantmaking to ensure we are responsive to the changing needs of our communities.
Our door is always open!
Whether you are new to philanthropy or looking to do more through your giving, we can help you have a meaningful impact on the issues and communities that you care about. Feel free to contact us for a confidential conversation.
Contact Lauren C. Parda, Director of Development