Community Foundation Announces Over $200,00 In Inaugural Grants From The Fund For Racial Justice

The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut announced grant awards of $205,640 in its inaugural grant cycle for the Fund for Racial Justice. This fund was created in June of 2021 with the purpose of advancing racial equity, supporting organizing and advocacy, and allocating flexible resources to organizations and movements in Eastern Connecticut, especially those led by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).

The Fund for Racial Justice grant cycle was open to grassroots organizations, existing nonprofits, and other movement builders throughout Eastern Connecticut whose vision is to increase education and awareness of racial inequities and work towards solutions that build a greater understanding and move the needle towards racial equity and justice.

“We had a committee completely composed of community leaders and advocates who are people of color and understand from an experiential angle the importance of providing opportunities and raising voices for black, indigenous and people of color in our communities,” stated Lee-Ann Gomes, Chair of the Fund for Racial Justice Committee and Trustee at the Community Foundation. 

A sampling of the innovative programs funded from this cycle include:

Connecticut College: The Genesis Mentoring Program at Connecticut College’s Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy offers exceptional community building and enrichment opportunities to students of color and first-generation college students, as well as to high school students of the same demographic at New London Multi-Magnet Secondary School (NLMMSS). Through the program at NLMMSS, the goal is to increase the number of mentees by 67%.

Discovering Amistad: Implementation of a multifaceted, culturally relevant educational program entitled "Discovering Amistad’s Voices for Change." The Program is designed to use the lessons of the Amistad Uprising to foster increased awareness of racial and social justice and to foster social activism.

Grow Windham: Windham Youth Advocacy Curriculum addresses the need for Latinx youth to have better access to power, resources and opportunities in the community. This programming gives Latinx youth more voice in –and control over – their learning opportunities and brings compensation and academic credentials to their experience advocating in the community.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation: Initial phase of a new permanent exhibit at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center entitled “Shqaak (Pequot Women): historical and contemporary contributions of the Pequot Woman.” This exhibit will highlight contributions of Pequot women to this region in all modern fields such as medicine, culture, politics, health, education, and society.

Robertsine Duncan Youth Council: The Norwich Race Equity Collaborative will consist of three program areas: Race Equity in the Arts to educate on the positive impact of the diverse cultures and ethnicities of Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) through the performing and visual arts and forums; Race Equity in STEM to host Pathways to College & Career to address the disparities in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics, education and entrepreneurship by creating an awareness and pipeline for Black, Indigenous Students of Color (BISOC); and Race Health Disparities to focus on preserving the experience of historically underrepresented and underserved populations that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 

“We received 44 proposals from organizations in our region who are committed to advancing racial justice. We were able to support 24 initiatives by almost doubling the funds available in the Fund for Racial Justice from a donor advised fund at the Foundation whose core focus is racial justice,” noted Maryam Elahi, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.

Please visit our website for a complete list of grantees.