Foundation offers grant to help end homelessness

Community Foundation of NBby LISA CAPOBIANCO

STAFF WRITER

Plainville and Southington non-profit organizations have a new grant opportunity to address youth and family homelessness.

The Community Foundation of Greater New Britain is offering a $10,000 grant through its Catalyst Fund to nonprofits serving Plainville, Southington, Berlin and New Britain that offer or propose to develop innovative solutions to the challenges of youth and family homelessness.

Aug. 15 is the deadline for applications. The focus for this proposal is on youth and young families in the 14 to 24-year-old range.

According to a press release from the Foundation, proposals must accomplish at least one of the following:

  • Collaboratively use existing community resources in creative ways;
  • Help those affected move from unstable living solutions into permanent housing;
  • Target new strategies for identifying and engaging unstably housed youth and young adults in schools and communities;
  • Form stronger safety nets for those falling through the cracks;
  • Strengthen collaborations and systems (new or existing) to help people in need more quickly and efficiently;
  • Retool the current shelter system to provide developmentally appropriate space and services to youth and young adults and to become a more efficient and effective pipeline into safe and stable housing.

Established in 2002, the Catalyst Fund is a group of citizens interested in improving the quality of life in Southington, Plainville, Berlin and New Britain. With a modest donation of $250 each year, members of the fund pool their resources to learn about topical issues facing their communities and to jointly determine grants to nonprofits addressing those issues while meeting new people who share a commitment to their communities. Fund members gather together three times a year to learn about a member-chosen issue facing their community, and consider funding requests from charitable organizations tackling the issue. The year ends with a collective vote to award a $10,000 grant to a recipient.

From literacy to after school programs for youth to helping veterans, the grant has addressed a variety of issues every year. Last year the grant supported capacity building for non-profits.

To date, there are 45 members of the fund who come from the communities represented by the foundation.

“All of the work that we do is rewarding,” said Community Foundation Director of Community Initiatives Joeline Wruck. “We’re in a time when funds are scarce and people are trying so hard to do good work with less resources and more challenges.”

This year marks the first time that the fund’s steering committee chose homelessness as a target issue for the grant. The grant recipient is expected to be chosen in November.

“We know, as a trend in the state and the country, that homelessness among families and youth is on the rise, and that it has devastating and numerous impacts,” said Wruck. “That was the [issue] that rose to the top.”

When the committee meets each November, said Wruck, the grant recipient from the previous year informs members about how funding made a positive impact on the non-profit.

“That really is the icing on the cake for the members because they really get to understand how many more people are reading better or [how] a nonprofit organization has refreshed its board as the result of training it got,” said Wruck.

To be considered for funding, non-profits must send a two-to-three page proposal via e-mail by Aug. 15 to Wruck at jwruck@cfgnb.org. Anyone with questions can contact Wruck via e-mail or by calling (860) 229-6018, ext. 307. A downloadable copy of the Request for Proposal is available at cfgnb.org/leading/catalyst-fund.

Anyone interested in joining the Catalyst Fund as a member is welcome to attend any upcoming meeting. Future meetings will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at Stanley Center for Innovation and Training New Britain, 100 Stanley Drive, New Britain and on Thursday, Nov. 10 at Shuttle Meadow Country Club, 51 Randecker Lane, Berlin from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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