Can A Foundation Collaborative Promote Economic And Racial Justice? | Community Foundations

Can A Foundation Collaborative Promote Economic And Racial Justice?


Foundation: Connecticut Community Foundation, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Chicago Community Trust, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

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Three Connecticut community foundations have assets totaling more than $2 billion. Cesar Aleman, the director of the newly formed Connecticut Urban Opportunity Collaborative, was announced as their joint hire in June. CUOC seeks to coordinate senior staff in order to develop strategies for dismantling structural racism and advancing social and economic mobility. In 2019, the Community Foundation of New Haven, Connecticut, established the "Stepping Forward" fund. Over the next three years, the fund will allocate $26 million in foundation grants to COVID relief and recovery, as well as to advancing racial justice.

CFON also launched its NEON (Nexus for Equity + Opportunity Nationwide) cohort program at the same time. One area of emphasis is advocacy, while another is narrative change, as well as power and leadership. Ginsburg mentions this in New Haven as part of an unprecedented PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement with Yale University. A large portion of this work entails promoting business ownership in BIPOC communities. An internal audit in Fairfield County discovered that even when funding services for Black and Brown people was provided, there was a small population of Black and Brown people in those groups.

Connecticut Community Foundations are addressing issues of social and economic mobility, equity, and the dismantling of racist systems. According to the director of the New Haven Community Organization (CUCOC), the organization's goal for 2022 is to double the amount of money distributed through participatory grantmaking processes. Despite the fact that seven of the foundation's board members are people of color, the majority of donations come from white people. Aleman's foundation has also raised $2.5 million for the Black Futures Fund, which will be distributed by a group of Black community leaders. Dismantling structural racism will take decades, according to Aleman. It will take decades to establish racist practices in all sectors.

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