Foundation grants $650,000 to non-profits
Updated 10:58 am, Tuesday, June 9, 2015
The New Canaan Community Foundation has awarded more than $650,000 in grants to 69 area non-profits for 2015 to bolster services for the elderly, arts and culture, health care and youth programs.
The awards for arts, culture and community resources included $130,000, including money to support an oral history initiative at New Canaan Library; repaint gallery space at the Carriage Barns Art Center; and to the New Canaan Land Trust to rehabilitate a 4-acre meadow in the Richard and Damaris Calhoun property and woodlands in town.
More than $120,000 will go to youth and education programs throughout Fairfield County to 14 organizations, including an operating grant to a youth development afterschool program for low-income students at the Carver Center in Norwalk and to support DOMUS’ family advocate model at its Trailblazers’ Academy.
The DOMUS program assigns additional effort to helping youth identified as the most at risk and disengaged academically to overcome difficult family or economic situations that detract from their ability to get good grades.
The grant awards follow the foundation’s recent youth philanthropy event May 6, when high school students awarded more than $17,000 in grants to 11 area non-profits that provide educational services to low-income children.
Community Foundation Board President Leo Karl III said the foundation plans to ask area non-profits to assist with a new initiative to honor New Canaan residents who volunteer for non-profits.
“We will gather to celebrate the generosity of members of our community who have given of their time, talent and expertise,” Karl said of that effort. “In the next few months we will ask that you let us know which of our dedicated residents help you achieve your mission, so we can thank them and celebrate their accomplishments.”
The foundation received 76 grant applications by a mid-February deadline, with requests nearly double the available $650,000 in grant funding, according to the non-profit.
This year the foundation revamped its grant request review process to make it more systematic and evaluative to assure the foundation’s funds went to the most worthy needs, Vice President of Distributions Lindsey Heron said.
The process involved reviews by 18 review teams made up of board members and volunteers who ranked the grant proposals using a new scoring system, Heron said.
“The Foundation’s grant evaluation process is careful and thorough, and we strive to make it as quantitative and objective as possible,” Heron said. “This process is at the core of our work and it’s what makes us unique as a volunteer based foundation.”
Since its founding in 1977, the foundation has awarded more than $10 million in grants to area non-profits.