Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity Announces First Round of Funding
The founding members of the Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity — Bank of America, First County Bank, Lapine Associates, Pitney Bowes, Synchrony, Tudor Foundation and Xerox — today announced the group has distributed its first round of grant funding, totaling $300,000, to seven local nonprofit organizations: Bridgeport Prospers (United Way of Coastal Fairfield County), Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County, Norwalk Community College Foundation, Person-to-Person, Domus Kids, and Horizons Bridgeport.
Established in August 2020 in partnership with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, the Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity (“the Business Collaborative”) is a multi-year local impact and funding collective, which seeks to foster educational equity in Fairfield County by helping to reduce and eliminate disparities which impact the region’s most vulnerable pre-K through 12th grade students, parents, and guardians as well as teachers and staff.
In December, to further solidify the group’s long-term commitment, Pitney Bowes and Synchrony led the launch of the Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity Fund, a Field of Interest Fund administered by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. Supported by contributions from each of the founding members, the Fund will provide grant funding for measurable near- and long-term education-related initiatives in the Greater Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk, and Stamford regions with an initial focus on early childhood education, high school students, and hunger relief for all students. The first cohort of grantees are delivering programs and services focused on summer learning, kindergarten and college readiness, and food insecurity.
“The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare vast disparities that have long existed in our region, among them the educational inequities that exist for our youngest residents and students who represent the future of Fairfield County,” said Juanita James, President and CEO, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. “The vision and community spirit of the founding members of the Business Collaborative to understand the greater impact of working together is an important step towards advancing lasting solutions that will give children an opportunity to grow, learn, and stay in Fairfield County. We appreciate the leadership of Bank of America, First County Bank, Lapine Associates, Pitney Bowes, Synchrony, Tudor Foundation, and Xerox in forging this new education-focused collaborative and look forward to having other businesses join us.”
Marc Lautenbach, President and CEO, Pitney Bowes, said: “The Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity was created last August to deal with some of the root causes around income inequality. We believe children deserve equitable access to academic opportunities, regardless of their financial circumstances. In a very short time, we have seen the strength in working together and the promise that this partnership can accomplish. I invite all other companies who call Fairfield County home to join this effort and help build a better future for all of our children and communities.”
“Increasing access and educational opportunities for youth are key to creating a more inclusive society and a stronger financial future. This partnership builds upon Synchrony’s Education as an Equalizer initiative to advance education equity for low- and moderate-income minority students. Together with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation and local businesses, Synchrony is committed to deploying our collective resources to ensure more students from underserved communities have the tools to succeed,” said Brian Doubles, President and CEO, Synchrony.
“As a founding partner in Fairfield County’s Business Collaboration for Education Equity, Bank of America recognizes that the future of our region’s competitive workforce depends on our ability to identify current barriers to employment and gaps in opportunities. To address this, Bank of America is working with the Business Collaborative to provide individuals in our community, including youth, with quality education, training, and skills-building opportunities. This commitment will help set our region on a course for long-term success and promote broader economic inclusion,” said Bill Tommins, President, Bank of America Southern Connecticut.
In late November, the Business Collaborative provided a $50,000 challenge grant to support Bridgeport Public Schools teachers and their students with DonorsChoose. The funding supported 249 projects from 122 teachers, reaching nearly 25,000 student experiences across 39 Bridgeport public schools. The Business Collaborative intends to fund similar campaigns with DonorsChoose in Danbury, Norwalk, and Stamford.
Virtual Convening on Tuesday, June 15th
A virtual convening is scheduled for Tuesday, June 15 at 11am, during which the first cohort of grantees will provide brief overviews of their supported programs and services focused on summer learning, kindergarten and college readiness, and food insecurity and its impact on education. In addition, members of the Business Collaborative will share more about the vision for their partnership, the value of collective giving, and encourage businesses of all sizes to consider joining the initiative.