Community Foundation of Greater New Britain grants top $250,000

By SHERIDAN CYR

STAFF WRITER

Community Founda-tion of Greater New Britain topped a quarter of a million dollars in grants and scholarships in 2017, benefitting organizations in Southington, Plainville, New Britain and Berlin.

The CFGNH granted the Southington-Cheshire YMCA’s LIVESTRONG Program with a $7,500 grant, and the Southington Education Foundation received a $500 scholarship to help fund their upcoming Spring for Education event.

“Given the situation that the state is in with the deficit and budget concerns, we see a lot of 501(c)(3) organizations struggling right now with their general operating or specific programs,” said program associate and assistant director of development at CFGNH, Kayla Smith. “Our goal with these grants is to lift people up and better our community by being on the front lines.”

Smith broke down the process behind the grants. Any nonprofit organization within their region can apply by first submitting a letter of intent outlining their proposal and purpose. The board of directors at CFGNB review the letters and do some vetting of the organizations. Once they have reviewed the letter, they will connect with the organizations and approve their application. It then goes to the grants committee.

“I speak with all of the applicants and really try to collaborate with them and see where they’re coming from,” said Smith. “I get to see the direct impact of their programs, and it’s so rewarding to experience that.”

John Myers, executive director of the local YMCA, explained that their LIVESTRONG Program aids people who have been affected by cancer. The free 12-week program “focuses on the person rather than the disease.”

The main focus areas of the program are easing back to fitness through building muscle and strength, increasing flexibility and endurance, and improving confidence and self-esteem. Participants learn about wellness, stress reduction techniques and how to continue healthful habits after the program has ended.

“The LIVESTRONG at the Y program is conducted in a warm and compassionate environment,” said Myers. “It’s been a terrific way to build companionship with others who are affected by cancer and share their own stories and inspiration.”

The grant will fund three 12-week sessions with 10 to 12 participants in each group. It also includes a three month family membership to the YMCA to encourage and enhance the support system of the participant.

As for SEF, their $500 scholarship will help them to prepare for their March 24th fundraising event.

“It helps us by offsetting some of our expenses that go toward the event itself,” said co-chair Gail Duffy. “We are honored to be a recipient and to collaborate with another organization that seeks to benefit our very community.”

SEF provides educational grants and program funding to educators in Southington Public Schools, allowing educators to improve the quality of public education above and beyond the conventional curriculum, identifying and addressing needs, challenges and concerns unique to their students.

The Spring for Education gala serves as an annual fundraising event for SEF in an evening of dinner, dancing and an auction. This year, it will be held at the Mountain Room at Mount Southington Ski Area. More details will be available on their website as the event draws nearer.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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