Civic Vitality Snapshot

Building Engagement

A community thrives when its people are engaged in its institutions and in each other, and when they have access to safe streets, good sources of information, and places to gather. In Greater New Haven, most adults volunteer or give to local causes, and most believe that they or their neighbors can effect change at a local level.

Other measures of civic wellbeing, however, show disparities between our higher and lower income neighborhoods. According to the 2015 DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey, more than seven in ten residents of Greater New Haven's high-income neighborhoods say that they feel safe taking walks at night. Less than half the residents of low-income neighborhoods do. Closing these and other gaps is critical to ensuring that a vibrant community is accessible to all.

See these and other indicators in the report, Calibrating the Community.

What the Community Foundation is Doing

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven supports a broad spectrum of organizations and initiatives that cultivate an engaged civic culture.

Recent Highlights:

  • $1.8 million in Civic Vitality grants in 2014
  • More than $2 million invested in New Haven Community Gardens and Community Greenspaces since the program’s inception in 1995. The New Haven Land Trust now maintains 45 community gardens in New Haven that produce food for local students and residents.
  • The Neighborhood Leadership Program annually trains 20-30 local leaders and supports their neighborhood projects.
  • The Community Foundation is a founding investor of the Online Journalism Project and continues to be the largest sustaining funder of the publisher of New Haven Independent, Valley Independent Sentinel, and the Branford Eagle.
  • Support for DataHaven’s publication of The Greater New Haven Community Index 2013
  • Support for Christian Community Action Agency's Mothers For Justice advocacy group, which led an effort on TANF reform resulting in the passing of State Senate Bill 106 in the summer of 2014. The new Bill mandates the inclusion of the pursuit of a GED or higher education degree as allowable work activities under the TANF program, further supporting the advancement and economic security of individuals in the program.
  • Support for Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut (CONECT), which successfully advocated for the passage of HB 6495 in June 2013 which allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license regardless of documentation status.

2014 Grant Recipients Include:

  • Connecticut Veterans Legal Center to support free legal services for homeless and mentally ill veterans to overcome legal barriers to stable housing, healthcare and income 
  • Animal Haven for general operating support
  • JUNTA for Progressive Action to support services, programs and advocacy that improve the social, political and economic conditions of the Latino community in Greater New Haven
  • Connecticut Voices for Children to provide general operating support to promote the well-being of all of Connecticut's children and families by identifying and advocating for strategic public investments and wise public policies.

Ongoing multi-year grant recipients include:

  • Children's Law Center of Connecticut
  • Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church
  • Center for Children's Advocacy
  • IRIS - Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Service
  • New Haven Legal Assistance Association
  • Emerge Connecticut
  • Online Journalism Project



70 Audubon Street
New Haven, CT 06510


(203) 777-2386

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