Angie Matthis, Caitlin Collins, Althea Marshall Brooks, Donald Thompson.


Trustee Fund Honors Two Local Nonprofits for Their Innovative and Equitable Service to the Waterbury and Naugatuck Regions

Connecticut Community Foundation’s Trustee Fund recently announced its annual Trustee Fund Awards, recognizing two recipients that exemplify excellence in collaboration and innovation in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. The awards were presented during the Foundation’s 98th Annual Meeting at the Mattatuck Museum on August 12. Each award winner received $5,000 to support their continued work in the community.

The Greater Waterbury Health Partnership, Bridge to Success Community Partnership, Women’s Choice Charitable Association, and StayWell Health Center were recognized collectively for their collaboration in the Infant and Maternal Health Workgroup. Recognizing that Waterbury’s health system has no standardized approach to how it cares for pregnant women, new mothers, and infants, the Workgroup is launching a Baby Bundle program to improve birth outcomes and maternal healthcare, and to decrease infant mortality. Work is particularly focused on Black and Hispanic mothers, who are disproportionately affected by the shortcomings in existing systems. Waterbury has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the state. In making the award, the Trustee Fund noted the Workgroup’s collaborative efforts to use the tools of education, outreach, systems coordination, and advocacy to address infant and maternal health care.

“Infant & Maternal Health Workgroup is honored to be receiving the 2021 Trustee Fund Award for our work on future implementation of the Waterbury Baby Bundle initiative. The Baby Bundle initiative is a result of the planning and expertise of a diverse group of providers and community organizations that participate in our Maternal Health workgroup. We previously received a grant from Connecticut Community Foundation to provide improved care coordination for both Black and Hispanic low-income women. The treatment includes access to doula service and home visits,” said Angie Matthis, executive director of the Greater Waterbury Health Partnership. “We know that our work in this collaborative partnership will provide a foundation to build upon for the Waterbury Baby Bundle so that all women and families can have healthy and happy birth experiences from hospital to home.”

Karime Pimentel, Angela Aybar, Kim McLaughlin, Benda Morisette, Richard Natale.

“This Maternal Health project is such a huge deal! I’m honored to be a part of it, and help chip away at the disparities being faced in our community. Especially for women of color,” said Ashanti Rivera, founder and executive director of Women’s Choice Charitable Association. “Being able to provide pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support to those who need it is going to drastically improve health outcomes for our community.”

The Trustee Fund also recognized the Naugatuck Valley Project (NVP) for its innovative Environmental Justice Initiative, which facilitates the recruitment and engagement of residents directly affected by brownfield contamination in efforts to clean up and restore toxic properties in Waterbury and Naugatuck. This work addresses the often-disproportionate effects of environmental degradation on low-income communities and people of color. NVP has conducted in-depth outreach, expanded an Environmental Justice committee, worked to translate meetings into English and Spanish, and pressed for increased signage, fencing and locks at toxic sites to protect community members. New and experienced leaders are poised to continue building relationships to execute a campaign for rapid clean-up and develop a vision for future use of the properties.

“We at the Naugatuck Valley Project are honored to receive a 2021 Trustee Fund Award for our Waterbury/Naugatuck Environment Justice Project. We particularly want to raise up the leaders of NVP’s Environmental Justice Committee, as well as NVP members living in Waterbury’s South End and Naugatuck’s Laurel Mountain communities who are all driving the Project,” said Kim E. McLaughlin, Director of the Naugatuck Valley Project.

Each year, Connecticut Community Foundation’s Trustee Fund—a giving circle made up of current and former members of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees—honors organizations or initiatives that demonstrate the value and promise of collaboration and innovation.