Please Note: This page is continuously updated as the Community Foundation responds to COVID-19. Last updated as of August 28, 2020
Safety and Health in our Northwest Corner
The Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation is focused on the health, safety, and well-being of the residents of Northwest Connecticut. This is true always, but especially in times of difficulty and increased risk within our communities. We are in on-going discussions with our community partners and nonprofits to assess how we can continue to support them and the individuals and families they serve during this difficult time.
For the health and safety of our donors, volunteers, nonprofit partners, and staff, we continue to restrict access to our office in Torrington to staff only. Community Foundation staff will continue to work in the office and/or remotely as needed. All staff will remain accessible through phone and email during normal office hours: 9:00a.m.-5:00p.m.
Upcoming Grant Deadlines and Continued Support
The Third Cycle Grant of 2020 will continue our previous funding focus of prioritizing requests centered on the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your organization and those you serve. Eligible requests include unrestricted operating support, program support, the purchase of furniture/fixtures/equipment, and in limited circumstances construction/renovation (e.g., creating isolation/quarantine spaces, improvements to ventilation, etc.)
Year-end Critical Needs Grants
As in past years, the Community Foundation will be accepting applications from public charities and faith-based organizations in its 20-town service area for year-end critical-needs grants. Grants are made possible through the Draper Foundation Fund, and the Marion Wm. & Alice Edwards Fund.
The Third Cycle Grant application and the Year-end Critical Needs Grant application process will run concurrrently with an October 12th application deadline.
Northwest Corner Gives: $634,280 in COVID-19 Relief Grants and Gifts
On June 15th, the Community Foundation launched Northwest Corner Gives: Covid-19, a crowdsourced gift matching program that enabled local nonprofits to set Covid-19 related fundraising goals to meet their immediate needs, including operational support.
More than 50 Northwest Connecticut nonprofits posted giving campaigns to raise funds to meet the challenges of operating amid social distancing and remote work requirements created by Covid-19.
The Community Foundation guaranteed each nonprofits a grant The Community Foundation guaranteed a grant for 50 percent of each nonprofit goal then matched dollar-for-dollar all gifts until each goal was achieved. Gift matches were made possible by generous gifts from community members, and anonymous, and discretionary Community Foundation funds.
With $634,280 raised through gifts and matches, all campaigns were successfully completed, and many nonprofits surpassing their fundraising goals. Northwest Corner Gives matching gifts are made possible by the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund.
Nonprofit Rapid Response Grants
$110,470 in Rapid Response Grants were were awarded on a weekly basis throughout late March and throughout April for nonprofits working with our most vulnerable residents. Rapid Response Grants were available to those organizations working on the frontlines of the pandemic. Grants were awarded for basic needs, such as rent, food, infant supplies (diapers and formula), utilities (heat, gas), medication, child care.
Northwest Corner Gives: Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund
The Community Foundation established the Northwest Corner Gives: COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund in early March. $110,470 in Rapid Response Grants were awarded on a weekly basis throughout late March and throughout April for nonprofits working with our most vulnerable residents. Rapid Response Grants were available to those organizations working on the frontlines of the pandemic. Grants were awarded for basic needs, such as rent, food, infant supplies (diapers and formula), utilities (heat, gas), medication, child care.
The Northwest Corner Gives: COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund is now supporting a special competitive grant round focused exclusively on helping our nonprofits deal with the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Support is available for operating expenses, programs that can operate remotely to comply with current physical distancing restrictions, and technology/equipment needed to facilitate remote work for employees or to serve clients remotely, and other COVID-19 related needs. Construction/renovation projects may be considered in very limited circumstances (e.g., creating isolation or quarantine spaces).
COVID:19 Nonprofit Webinars
On May 8th the Community Foundation presented the final webinar in the Powering Through COVID-19 webinar series. The Webinars address the current challenges facing nonprofits in Northwest Connecticut during this difficult time.
The Community Foundation, in conjunction with Community Foundation LEAP instructors, Danosky & Associates, provided these webinars free of charge to local nonprofits. Powering Through COVID-19 webinars recording are available for nonprofits to view on the Community Foundation Nonprofit Education page.
Cycle Grant Applications
Grants processing and grant payment distributions for grants that previously have been awarded will continue without interruption. We encourage grant applicants and grant recipients to limit postal mail to the Community Foundation in favor of online communications. We encourage the use of email and Community Foundation online systems. In response to ongoing needs related to COVID-19, the Community Foundation is nolonger accepting Cycle Two grant applications. Cycle Two grant applications currently in the system have been tabled. Applications in the system will be saved and will be available to grantees when we return to a normal Cycle Grant Schedule.
Fundholder Grant Suggestions
Grants submitted to the Community Foundation by fundholders online via DonorCentral will continue to be processed by postal mail when necessary or by secure ACH transactions. We are working closely with our partner banks to ensure timely grant distributions. We encourage donors and fundholders to limit postal mail to the Community Foundation. We encourage the use of email and Community Foundation online systems. Staff will be available by phone, and, of course, we are always happy to hear from you. Below are links to a few of our online tools:
As global markets continue to experience volatility, we want to assure fundholders and nonprofit agency fund partners that the Community Foundation focuses on making investments with an eye toward the long-term and sustaining the well-being of the Northwest Corner.
Our Investment Committee, comprised of local finance professionals, and our Board of Trustees will continue to monitor our investments in the days and weeks ahead. As the situation of COVID-19 change day by day, we are monitoring the performance of the community's endowment which like all economic activity and world markets is experiencing declines. While the performance of our portfolio is down, it is ahead of market benchmarks.
The Community Foundation’s current portfolio has several valuable characteristics to help aid against the market volatility. First, it is well diversified and has a meaningful allocation to hedge funds and high quality bonds, which aids tremendously with the required liquidity to meet our financial obligations to the community without having to sell assets stocks into a panic or for prices that are not reflective of underlying value. Second, the framework and structure of the endowment has a fundamental premise for hiring managers that have differentiated models for investing in strong businesses that are reasonably priced, well-managed and able to weather economic storms.
The following is a special message from A.F. Drew Alden, Community Foundation Senior Vice President for Investments:
Markets and Coronavirus (updated May 1, 2020)
Performance in Relations to Peers (ending June 2020)
Moving Forward Together
We encourage everyone to closely monitor updates and review valuable health and safety resources from the State of Connecticut and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as local health departments.
Additionally, we encourage you to support local nonprofit organizations that work with the people and families who are most vulnerable in our community. Community health centers, homeless shelters, pre-school and after-school programs, food pantries and others, which are already dealing with reductions in state and federal funding, will be further stressed. We will continue to be in touch as we assess community needs and as recommendations from health officials evolve.