Community foundation announces $2.2 million in grants

New London — The Garde Arts Center and the New London Homeless Hospitality Center received two of the largest grants out of $2.2 million that the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut announced Friday would be given away in its first round of funding to nonprofits this year.

The bulk of the money, $1.4 million, was targeted to nonprofits by donor advisers who recommended grants to specific groups of their own choice — both regionally and nationally.

Of the remaining funds, more than $613,000 went to nonprofits in southeastern Connecticut, $105,000 was targeted to Norwich youth groups and $45,000 was awarded in the Windham area.

“These grants represent a growing desire of residents in the Southeast, Norwich, and Windham regions to strategically invest with care in the nonprofits that improve life in communities where they live and work,” Paul Nunes, chairman of the New London-based foundation’s board of trustees, said in a statement.

Maryam Elahi, the foundation’s president and chief executive, noted that her organization now is the steward of more than $50 million in funds targeted toward charitable giving. The foundation, she said in a statement, “is committed to providing our donors and nonprofit partners with the most feasible and sustainable way to provide services to organizations that serve our youth, address the basic needs of our community, and foster greater care for the region’s environment and wildlife.”

Both the Garde and the homeless center received $15,000 grants, as did the Opportunities & Industrialization Center in New London, for career training.

Other five-figure donations were given to Mystic Area Shelter & Hospitality, $14,000 for housing help; FRESH New London, $12,000 for program expansion; Madonna Place Inc., $12,000 for a fatherhood initiative; Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition, $12,000 for operating support; United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, $10,000 for Project Warm Up; Writers Block Ink, $10,000 for spring and summer programs; and YMCA of Mystic, $10,000 for an extended learning program.

Other major grants were: New London Main Street, $10,000 for the CreateHereNow storefront initiative; New London Youth Affairs, $10,000 for the Early Childhood Family Center; Riverfront Children’s Center, $10,000 for the Scholar Dollars program; Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut, $10,000 for programming; City of Norwich Recreation Department, $10,000 for summer camps; Norwich Public Schools, $10,000 for a summer learning program; Ocean Community YMCA, $10,000 for camps; and Safe Futures, $10,000 for programming.

Connecticut Legal Services, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony, Hygienic Art, Higher Edge, Expressiones Cultural Center and the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut also received $10,000 grants from the Southeast portion of funding.

In the Windham area, the largest grant of $10,000 was for Connecticut Legal Services.

This year’s first funding round is significantly higher than the nearly $1.5 million announced in 2013, but the two periods cannot be compared because the announcement Friday involves grants issued over a longer period of time. At least one more round of foundation funding will be announced this year, though the timing is unsure.

A full list of first-round 2014 foundation grants can be found at


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