This new grant area combines several of the Foundation’s former grant opportunities including Cradle to Career (early care and youth development) and Economic Vitality grants. By combining these areas, we recognize that although systems are often siloed by issue area or population, individuals and families navigate across policies, systems and programs. Building Equitable Opportunity seeks to explore solutions across generations and systems.
Our focus on equitable opportunity emerged from research on the deep educational and economic disparity that exists in our region. We found disparity based on race, and also income, age, geography, and gender/sexuality.
- Income: The median household income of Waterbury residents was $40,879 in 2017, compared to over $93,000 for the towns in the Litchfield Hills.
- Age: Children and youth are most likely to be low-income in Waterbury with 64% of the population being under the age of 17.
- Geography: Funding spent per pupil varies greatly by geography, students in the Litchfield Hills have nearly $20,000 spent per pupil vs. just over $15,000 in Waterbury. Only 62% of Waterbury children have a pre-k experience compared to 79% statewide.
- Race: Only 26% of Black students and 23% of Latinx students were proficient in reading by 3rd grade compared to 45% of white students in Waterbury
- Gender/Sexuality: LGBTQ youth are at more than double the risk of homelessness compared to non-LGBTQ peers.