Building Equitable Opportunity

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Cradle to Career

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.

Our approach focuses on:

  • Supporting programs, advocacy, and system change efforts that build equitable pathways out of poverty and to economic mobility
  • Promoting access to quality culturally responsive education, especially focused on Waterbury where there are significant disparities by race and income
  • Supporting the development of jobs and career pathways with livable wages
  • Promoting opportunities to build assets for BIPOC families that have been left behind in traditional banking systems
  • Targeting education interventions that support BIPOC students and include youth and parent voice in decision-making

Efforts we support include:

  • Increasing collaboration between school systems and preschools to align readiness, support kindergarten transition, and focus on parent voice
  • Evidence-based initiatives that improve the quality of the pre-k and K-12 experience for Black and Latinx, low-income, and children with disabilities
  • Interventions that address disproportionate minority contact in in pre-K-12 education and expand access to pathways to college
  • Programs that substantially build the long-term assets and economic resiliency/mobility of residents (such as financial education and planning, job and skills training, etc.)
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Building Equitable Opportunity grant proposals are accepted twice annually. See Previous Building Equitable Opportunity Grantees

Josh Carey
For more information, please contact:
Josh Carey, Director of Grants Management, | 203.753.1315, x108