The Chelsea Groton Foundation has provided over $4 million in total grants to the community since its founding in 1998. This spring, the Foundation approved a record $451,813 in grants to 85 non-profit organizations from Connecticut and Rhode Island. Over $85,000 was approved for organizations that needed emergency support for basic human needs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency funding included $50,000 to the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut for their Neighbors for Neighbors Fund, $10,000 to the emergency food assistance program at Jonnycake Center of Westerly, and $7,500 to Operation Fuel for emergency energy grants for New London County residents. Due to the increased need across all giving categories, the Foundation approved the funding of over 30 more organizations than usual in a single giving cycle.
Also included in this dollar amount is a $100,000 grant to Norwich Community Development Corporation (NCDC) for Global City Norwich, a multi-year project of revitalizing Downtown Norwich, through multicultural events and entrepreneurship. This is the third year the Chelsea Groton Foundation has committed a $100,000 grant to the Global City Norwich program. Funds are used to identify and train entrepreneurs of many cultural backgrounds, build partnerships in order to help entrepreneurs find appropriate storefront spaces and funding for their businesses, and create a thriving downtown environment that will ensure increased traffic in area businesses.
“Chelsea Groton Bank has been a bastion of strength and support in Connecticut since before the Civil War. For more than 165 years, we have been serving our customers and communities through famines, storms, pandemics, crashes, wars and more. While the COVID-19 pandemic is a healthcare crisis, it also carries very serious economic implications. In recent months, our community and our world has witnessed a tremendous loss of life, as well as loss of jobs, businesses and non-profits who play critical roles in contributing to our shared community,” said Michael Rauh, President and CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank, and President of the Chelsea Groton Foundation. “I’m incredibly proud of the organizations who pivoted to find new ways to help and support people, even while socially distant.”
“When faced with these unique times, the Chelsea Groton Foundation Board responded by temporarily adjusting guidelines in order to provide financial support to more organizations in need, and to support those who previously received funding but hadn’t yet spent the grant for its intended purpose. We are proud to give to organizations that support basic human needs – hunger, homelessness and healthcare – as well as those that provide education, economic growth, arts and cultural experiences, and more, especially in this great time of need.”
There are 25 organizations that quickly adapted to develop programming that could serve their client-base under current circumstances, since the projects they had originally requested funding for could not be accomplished due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few examples of endeavors Chelsea Groton Foundation is proud to fund include Bill Memorial Library which had to move their Girls Who Code program online; they shifted their grant request to cover the costs of purchasing laptops and hot spots so children who don’t have access to those tools could “check them out” from the library. The Eugene O’Neill Theatre is holding virtual celebrations of playwrights and mentoring activities and Expressiones Cultural Center has distributed art supplies to students in New London and invited them to participate in virtual family projects. Camp Horizons has adjusted programming to work with a smaller number of campers, while supplementing with distance learning and a new garden project. And the Norwich Historical Society is creating distance learning materials and a video series that connects Leffingwell House Museum’s collection with the Norwich Historical Society’s Walk Norwich Trails, in order to increase the organization’s storytelling capabilities while promoting Norwich’s rich history and heritage sites.
The Foundation reviews applications and awards grants two times per year. Each year, Chelsea Groton Bank and the Chelsea Groton Foundation support more than 300 local organizations through monetary gifts, grants, sponsorships, scholarships and employee volunteerism. More information, including a list of all spring grant recipients, is available at chelseagroton.com/CGFoundation.