The Foundation is excited to announce three new endowment funds: the Racial Equity Fund, Basic Needs Fund and Civic Engagement and Awareness Fund.
Thanks to the generosity of local philanthropists and transfer of Foundation assets, nearly $6 million from Foundation and donor resources is already committed to these funds now as they are being launched, and we have set a goal of increasing these endowments to $11 million over the next several years. Together, as they begin to build, these new endowed funds have the potential to increase permanent resources for years to come.
Basic Needs Fund
Established in May 2020, the Basic Needs Fund (BNF) supports organizations that provide people living in poverty and distress with material basic needs such as food, temporary shelter, heat, personal safety, urgent health-care needs and hygiene products – with a special emphasis on needs that are not adequately addressed by existing government funding programs. The BNF is an extension of the work started in 2019 by an informal group of Foundation donors and leading local philanthropists. As the unprecedentedly high demand for basic needs services continues in our community due to the pandemic, we expect the BNF to make an important contribution to addressing the long-term impact of COVID-19.
Racial Equity Fund
The purpose of the Racial Equity Fund (REF) is to advance racial equity in Greater New Haven and to tackle the structures that contribute to racial disparities in our community. The events of 2020 have underscored and revealed the depths of these challenges and the need for a sustained commitment to prioritizing racial equity. The REF will support Black-led organizations and the promotion of Black leadership and grassroots advocacy, including emerging voices, ideas and collaborations on the front lines of challenging historical and cultural attitudes.
Civic Engagement and Awareness Fund
Encouraging widespread resident engagement in our civic and public life is essential to building a more connected, cohesive community. With that goal in mind, the Civic Engagement and Awareness Fund will support the many people and organizations who work every day to advance civic awareness and engagement in our region, including nonprofit journalism; civics education; grass-roots efforts to promote civic engagement at the neighborhood level; and promoting civic values through cultural activities, convenings and other community gatherings and activities.
In addition to these new Funds listed above, The Community Foundation in partnership with the United Way of Greater New Haven created the Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund in March 2020 to raise resources for nonprofit organizations affected by COVID-19.