Grantmaking Overview

Connecticut Community Foundation is committed to fostering an equitable and inclusive community in 21 towns in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills through grantmaking, encouraging community engagement and strengthening nonprofits. The Foundation distributes on average $2.5 million annually in grants and scholarships, which includes about $1.5 million in grants that are directed by Foundation staff and committees. In all our efforts, the Foundation values our partnerships with nonprofits and dialogue with community members to inform our investments of funding, time and influence.

Our Approach to Grantmaking

Foundation staff and volunteer committees are dedicated to being curious, transparent and bringing the spirit of collaboration to the grant process. We are eager to learn from our grantees’ lived experience and are working to simplify the barriers to receiving funding. Change takes time; we encourage grantees to provide feedback on what is working and what needs improvement. Organizations can apply for funding for the same project over multiple years and can apply for more than one grant from the Foundation during a competitive round. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions for more details.

Grant Guidelines

In order to apply for funding, an organization must:

  • Be a not-for-profit organization recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or a municipal entity seeking a grant for public purposes. Organizations may also have a nonprofit fiscal sponsor, if they do not have their own nonprofit status.
  • Have a board, representative of the community, of which a majority is neither employees nor relatives of employees.
  • Possess a Nonprofit Registration to Solicit Funds (or exemption, if appropriate) from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. This registration must be renewed annually. Learn more, confirm registration or file for an exemption.

2021 New Grant Guidelines Video 

We encourage requests that:

  • Provide services or support to the communities located within our 21-town service area
  • Support system change and advocacy efforts
  • Include support for core nonprofit operations such as staff time, overhead and evaluation
  • Support organizations led by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)

We do not fund:

  • Requests for political or religious purposes
  • Requests for capital expenditures on buildings not owned by a nonprofit

How we review grants

Foundation staff and committees are trained in how bias shapes our understanding of your work. Because we know bias exists, and to ensure our funding supports work that addresses disparity in our region, we use a racial equity lens when reviewing grants. This means that we will use questions, such as the following, when reviewing applications:

  • Does this project or initiative provide benefits or burdens to BIPOC communities?
  • What is the root cause that is being addressed by this proposal?
  • Are those most affected by the project involved in designing and implementing the work?
  • Is the organization seeking funding committed to internal growth and learning related to diversity, equity and inclusion?

Decision making timeline

Grants received on a rolling basis will be reviewed within a month of receiving the application. All other applications are reviewed by our staff, committees and board of trustees in a process that takes about ten weeks from the deadline date.

Grant Opportunities

BUILDING EQUITABLE OPPORTUNITIES

Includes funding for pre-k- 12 education, youth development, economic mobility

LEARN MORE

HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Includes funding for health, housing, basic needs, and efforts that address environmental disparity

LEARN MORE

STRENGTHENING NONPROFITS

Data bootcamp

Supports nonprofits to build skills, includes capacity building and technology grants

LEARN MORE

GRASSROOTS LEADERSHIP

Supports civic engagement and organizing efforts in Waterbury

LEARN MORE

OLDER ADULTS

Supports engaged, healthy aging in community

LEARN MORE

ARTS AND CULTURE

Supports increased access to arts experiences

LEARN MORE

Special Funds

HERBST FUND FOR EYE RESEARCH

Promote eye research, health and awareness of eye diseases

LEARN MORE

WHITTEMORE TRAVEL SCHOLARSHIP FUND

Supports youth travel experiences that will enrich, educate, and promote justice and equity

LEARN MORE

SAUNDERS FUND FOR THE SICK AND INFIRM OF NAUGATUCK

Supports health and wellness for Naugatuck residents

LEARN MORE

SOUTHBURY COMMUNITY TRUST FUND

Supports programs and projects that benefit Southbury residents

LEARN MORE

WOMEN’S FUNDING 

Fosters resilience, self-esteem and respect for girls, and supports victims of domestic violence

LEARN MORE

WOMEN’S GIVING CIRCLE

Members distribute funding to nonprofits annually

LEARN MORE

Pride In The Hills Fund (LGBTQ+) 

Supports, inspires, and celebrates LGBTQ+ people in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills.  
 
LEARN MORE

If your project does not appear to fit within the priority areas or special initiatives listed above, please call us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. Grant guidelines, deadlines, and applications