United Way of Western Connecticut is announcing that it is awarding $695,500 in grants to nonprofit agencies across the region it serves. The grants are being awarded through United Way’s regular annual funding to support financial stability and childhood success, as well as through special COVID-19 Resiliency Grants to assist nonprofits that are facing increased demand due to the pandemic. Grants are being awarded to 44 agencies in Stamford, Northern Fairfield County, and Southern Litchfield County.
United Way’s annual grant process provides funding to agencies that address the needs of ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households, with a focus on increasing the financial stability of those households and supporting the care and education of their children. Through this regular funding process, grants were awarded to agencies that help ALICE households strengthen their financial footing by budgeting and saving, as well as to providers of child care and after-school programs, to make quality programs more affordable for hardworking parents.
The COVID-19 Resiliency Grants will allow agencies to address increased needs while also helping them change the way they deliver services in the wake of the pandemic. Under this funding, grants were awarded to agencies that provide housing supports, food security, and physical and mental health, as well as child care and education.
Since March of 2020, the pandemic has taken a huge toll on nonprofits as they struggled to meet the needs of clients who suddenly lost jobs or wages, or found themselves with children at home all day, every day. The agencies had to mobilize to meet unprecedented demand while providing services safely and often remotely―and frequently without the volunteers they so often rely on. Because the pandemic changed so many aspects of home and family life, community nonprofits not only had to address basic needs, such as food and shelter, they also had meet increased demands for mental health services, educational supports, and child care.
“Because the pandemic affected everyone—from the elderly who needed food, to the infant child of an essential worker who needed care—it stretched our communities’ safety nets to their limits,” said Isabel Almeida, president of United Way of Western Connecticut. “These grants will shore up the nonprofits that play such a vital role in our communities and help them get back on track after a very challenging year.”
Grants range in size from $5,000 to $35,000 and were awarded to a variety of providers, from nonprofit shelters to food pantries to after-school programs. For a full list of grant recipients, see below. Grant applications were reviewed by 23 United Way volunteers, who evaluated applications based on the urgency of the need and the degree to which service delivery was impacted by safety protocols.
“We are extremely grateful for this award, as we see more young people struggling with mental health challenges,” said Julie Schmitter, Executive Director of Danbury Youth Services (DYS). “DYS has continued to offer in-office services to our most vulnerable clients even during the pandemic, and we see an increase in referrals to our agency. This funding will help some of our most struggling families access the mental health services that they need.”
“Fantastic news,” said Richard Liverano, Manager of Institutional Giving at Liberation Programs, Inc. “We look forward to resuming our partnership with United Way and saving lives in Stamford. Thank you for your generosity to us and to other community members.”
The COVID-19 Resiliency Grants are just one part of United Way’s multi-faceted response to community needs caused by the pandemic. In addition to grants to agencies, United Way has distributed direct cash payments to families in need through its ALICE Emergency Fund, increased access to food through its Healthy Savings program, supported food pantries and other food providers, and disseminated information about testing and vaccinations. It also mobilized more than 290 volunteers across Western Connecticut to deliver food and necessities to the elderly and homebound.
United Way of Western Connecticut Financial Stability, Childhood Success, and COVID-19 Resiliency Grant Funding Recipients for Fiscal Year 2021-2022.
Boys & Girls Club of Stamford
Children's Learning Center of Fairfield County
Domestic Violence Crisis Center
The Ferguson Library
Filling in the Blanks
Food Rescue U.S.
Jewish Family Service of Stamford
Mutual Housing Association of Southwestern CT
New Covenant Center
Norwalk/Stamford Grassroots Tennis & Education
The Rowan Center
Stamford Public Education Foundation
Women's Mentoring Network
Northern Fairfield County
Apex Community Care
Association of Religious Communities
Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield
Danbury Grassroots Academy
Danbury Youth Services
Friends of Newtown Community Center
Hillside Food Outreach
Interfaith AIDS Ministry
The New American Dream Foundation
REACH Western CT
Regional YMCA of Western CT
Resiliency Center of Newtown
Southern Litchfield County
Children’s Center of New Milford
Housatonic Habitat for Humanity
New Milford Community Ambulance
Pratt Nature Center
Village Center for the Arts