Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation Awards $92,190 to 36 Local Organizations

Grants support programs that benefit children and families in Eastern CT

The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation recently awarded numerous grants to support 35 programs that address education, economic development, food insecurity, and essential needs in the region.

The mission of the Foundation, a 501(c)3 overseen by a volunteer board with support from the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT, is to enhance and enrich education and economic opportunities, especially for children and families, in the Chamber’s service area. The Foundation provides local nonprofits with crucial resources, including funds for pilot programs, research, and program expansion, that improve the region’s overall quality of life. 

Louis Ziegler, Chair of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation’s Board of Directors, recognizes the importance of the foundation’s ability to provide grants to so many local organizations through the fundraiser of the annual Holiday Gala.

“Thank you to our sponsors, volunteers, Chamber staff, and all who returned to the Gala after 3 years.  The evening was a great success, and we look forward to awarding grants to the very deserving non-profits who do an amazing job for Eastern CT.”

The check distribution ceremony and photo opportunity takes place at 10 a.m. April 26 at the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce’s office in Waterford.

Since 2002, the Chamber Foundation has donated nearly $1.5 million to numerous local organizations that serve the needs of children. The Foundation’s goal is to support projects and programs that enhance and enrich education and economic opportunities for children and families in the Chamber’s service area.
The 2023 Chamber Foundation grant recipients, awards, and projects are listed below:

  1. Always Home, $3,000 to help low-income families resolve their immediate housing crisis and regain housing stability.
  2. Catholic Charities, Diocese of Norwich, Inc., $1,500, to assist individuals and families experiencing a situational or environmental crisis, to meet their immediate basic needs.
  1. Connecticut Story Telling, $1,000, to support their family concert and outreach to teens interested in learning to be trained to perform a story at the festival.
  1. Eastern Connecticut Ballet, $1,000, to support "All About Ballet: Presenting the Nutcracker to Schoolchildren in our Community." The grant will give 2,700 elementary and middle school students from New London and Middlesex counties access to the live performance. 
  1. Eastern CT Community Gardens Association, $1,500, for new raised beds and help with maintaining giving gardens for feeding the food insecure.
  1. Eastern Workforce Investment Board, $5,000, to provide hundreds of low-income, at-risk 14-24-year-old youth with paid summer work experience in the EWIB's 41-town region in Eastern CT.
  1. FRESH New London, $2,500, to hire youth in New London as a part of the FRESH Crew Program, to work on sustainable agriculture projects, care for formerly blighted green spaces, and distribute NL grown food to the community.
  2. Girls on the Run of Southeastern CT, $1,000, provide scholarship assistance to girls throughout New London County to participate in their Fall 2023 season.
  1. Goodspeed Musicals, $5,000, to support the Arts Education Collaboration program, serving students in New London and Windham counties.
  1. High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc., $3,000, to support training efforts of volunteers, internships, and to support young people’s work experience development and grow the skill set of our community.
  1. Higher Edge, $2,000, for student programming and administrative costs.
  1. Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut, $500, to encourage building relationships among classmates and with the broader community.
  1. Kings of the Diamond, $1,750, to fund the costs of league play as well as tournament play and expenses for students who cannot otherwise access it.
  1. Madonna Place, Inc., $3,000 to support their Family Support Center, Fatherhood Initiative, Community Outreach Plus Education, and Great Beginnings Home Visiting.
  1. Mystic Aquarium, $1,500, to participate in six local career day events to educate and inspire students toward STEM careers.
  1. New London Homeless Hospitality Center, $2,500, to provide essential support to stabilize and allow their employment program to continue to grow in effectiveness.
  1. Niantic Children’s Museum, $1,000, to offer families a weekly themed book series with take home books.   
  1. Norwich Bully Busters, $1,000, to provide materials and supplies for their youth programs.
  1. Norwich Rotary Foundation, $1,000 to support the purchase of winter coats for impoverished children in the greater Norwich area.
  1. Norwich Youth, Family, & Recreation Services, $1,500, to provide new backpacks, and/or supplies, as needed to low-income families that live in, or attend school in Norwich.
  1. Our Piece of the Pie, Inc., $2,000, to provide field trips to local historical, cultural, and fun activities for youth participating in OPP’s Eastern CT Youth Center located in Franklin, CT.
  1. Public Library of New London, $2,000, to be able to provide this service to children and teens in our community.
  1. Riverfront Children’s Center, $1,540, to cover the cost of a new Nursery Gym with ramp that will serve children 9 months to two years old in their newly renovated Infant/Toddler classroom.
  1. S.T.E.P.S., Inc., $1,500, support their Summer Leadership and Enrichment Program in 2023, as well as afterschool programs in New London, Groton, Norwich, and Plainfield for the 2023-2024 school year.
  1. Safe Futures, Inc., $3,000, for Camp HOPE America-Safe Futures 2023, specifically for supplies needed by each camper-duffle bag, backpack, sleeping bag, etc.-to attend.
  1. SARAH Inc., $1,700, to update and enhance the technology kits that our therapists use during in-home visits with children and families.
  1. Southeast CT Community Center of the Blind, $2,400, Funds received from this grant would be used towards the purchase and plumbing expenses to install a kitchen sink in their new facility.   
  1. St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich, $5,000, to purchase food specifically for children who are home for the summer and as a result do not have access to breakfast and lunch at school.
  1. Thames River Community Service, Inc., $1,000, to provide and enhance free Wi-Fi access to the 45-50 young adults living in the 24 apartment units at any given time.
  2. Thames Valley Council for Community Action, Inc., $2,500, to construct a playground at their Griswold Early Education Center.
  1. The Covenant Shelter of New London, Inc., $1,800, to replace the kitchen grease trap.  Covenant serves residents 3 meals per day from our kitchen. 
  2. The Maurice C. La Grua Center, Inc., $1,000, to fund the La Grua Center’s Youth Art Workshops, which are aimed at offering free, quality art experiences to children and young adults in the community.
  1. Tommy Toy Fund, $15,000, to provide holiday gifts and opportunities for play and learning to low-income children in Eastern Connecticut.
  1. United Community and Family Services, $5,000, to purchase a variety of healthy food to supplement donations for distribution at Mobile Pantry events and on site at our health center location for residents suffering from food insecurity.  
  1. United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, $5,000, supplement retail food inventory and donations and help the Gemma E. Moran Food Center procure the additional food needed for the emergency and supplemental feeding programs.
  1. Yellow Farmhouse Education Center, $1,500, to facilitate a youth-led gleaning network in southeastern Connecticut.
About the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut Foundation
Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut Foundation, a business community-based 501(c)(3) foundation affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, is dedicated to promoting initiatives that enhance and enrich education and economic opportunities for children and families in the Chamber service area.
About the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut
The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut is a collaborative of business and community leaders dedicated to securing and enhancing the economic vitality of eastern Connecticut. The Chamber works to create value for its members and the region by providing forums for business networking, leadership and discussions of issues that affect the region; providing opportunities for members to showcase their products, services and accomplishments; helping small businesses succeed through educational programs; and working to reduce the costs of doing business in Connecticut.  For more information, visit