For more than 70 years, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain has played an integral role in shaping the communities of Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington, sustaining critical programming, inspiring new community-based initiatives and investing in the future.
And in 2013, press materials from the foundation explained, it made the largest community investment in its 70-plus year history, authorizing more than $1.143 million in grants, its largest single-year grant-making total ever. In the past five years, the community Foundation has made community grants totaling nearly $4.9 million.
“This past year was a very good one for the foundation – and a very good one for the programs we fund,” said Jim Williamson, president of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain (CFGNB), according to the release. “While sheer dollar figures alone do not measure the full impact of our work, it cannot be denied that this level of grant funding is significant, and representative of our passionate commitment to bettering the communities we serve.”
The foundation’s 2013 grant total includes nearly $300,000 in First Years First funds, grants made to area programs focused on early childhood development. First Years First is the Foundation’s signature early childhood development initiative.
“First Years First represents a community investment in our children, in other words, a community investment in our collective future,” said Williamson, reported the release. “It is vital, and must continue. The programs and initiatives we are funding are succeeding, which bodes well not only for the children and families being served, but for our entire community as well.”
Among the vital community programs to receive CFGNB 2013 First Years First Funding were the Coalition for New Britain’s Children, the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington, Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut, the PlainvilleFamilyResourceCenter, the Consolidated School District of New Britain and more.
First Years First has been successful by all accounts – but there is much more work to be done, said Williamson in the release. Notable achievements include, the release reported, a dramatic improvement in reducing chronic absenteeism among young New Britain school children; significant progress being made by the Coalition for New Britain’s Children in rallying community support and improving kindergarten readiness; the success of family resource centers in New Britain, Plainville and Southington; the training of area daycare providers in partnership with Tunxis Community College through the Early Childhood Professional Educators Consortium; and the success, in partnership with Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut, in helping families read and learn together through the Coalition to Enhance Family Literacy.
Since 2006, when the Foundation first adopted early childhood development as its signature initiative, more than $1.36 million in grants have been made under the First Years First banner.
Last year’s $1.143 million Foundation grant total includes $297,468 in First Years First grants; $406,971 in community response grants, grants made to various programs in the categories of arts culture and heritage, education and health and human services; $256,329 in designated grants, grants established by fund holders to support specific programs; $145,430 in scholarship awards; and $36,806 in donor-advised grants, grants made by the Foundation with the input of the donor who established the fund.