101 College Street Community Benefits Fund (Together We Grow Scholarship)

Est. 2022 by the City of New Haven and the Department of Economic Development with funding from the developer of 101 College Street for the purpose of supporting education and workforce development.

101 College Street Benefits Fund announcement. Photo: Thomas Breen/New Haven Independent

In 1959, the construction of the Route 34 Connector tore apart several vital New Haven neighborhoods. The urban renewal project severed the Hill and Dwight neighborhoods from the downtown, and destroyed the Oak Street neighborhood, ultimately displacing 881 households and 350 businesses. When finished, the connector became known sarcastically as “the expressway to nowhere.”

In recent years, the City of New Haven has been working with a developer, Winstanley Enterprises, to right that wrong with the Downtown Crossing Project.

“With our Downtown Crossing Project, we are one of the first cities in the country to successfully remove a highway that was dividing neighborhoods,” said Carlos Eyzaguirre, New Haven Deputy Economic Development Administrator. “The removal of the highway has created a pedestrian connection between the neighborhoods, a bike connection, public spaces; and has freed up land for development.”

Two centerpieces of Downtown Crossing are 100 College Street, which houses Alexion Pharmaceuticals; and — by the end of this year — 101 College Street, a $250 million, 10-story state-of-the-art life sciences building that will include lab and office space for Yale University, Alexion, and the biotechnology company Arvinas.

The project also provides pathways to well-paying jobs in the biosciences, one of the fastest-growing industries in the region. A community benefits package included in the land disposition agreement negotiated between the City and Winstanley established a community fund for residents who want to study bioscience-related fields. In 2022, the City transferred the fund to The Community Foundation, where it will distribute funding to the Together We Grow Scholarship. The scholarship provides up to $3,000 per year for one or two years to students from the Hill, Dwight, and downtown neighborhoods who enroll in bioscience and STEM-related programs at Gateway Community College.

The scholarship provides up to $5,000 per year for up to four years to students from those same three neighborhoods if they enroll in Southern Connecticut State University’s BioPath program.

The Together We Grow Scholarship will be administered by The Community Foundation in collaboration with the New Haven Scholarship Fund.

“We’re really excited to have two deeply rooted institutional partners like The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and the New Haven Scholarship Fund to help us administer the scholarship fund,” said Eyzaguirre. “The City of New Haven and The Community Foundation have had a partnership on so many fronts, and The Community Foundation has a long-standing partnership with the New Haven Scholarship Fund. It’s a seamless way to move forward.”