A Call to Community

A statement from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

Over the last three months we have been deeply engaged in supporting our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to work with various organizations and leaders to address the virus’s devastating impact on every aspect of our lives from education to economic security, to mental well-being, housing, food insecurity and all points in between. We are unwavering in our commitment to helping vulnerable members of our region navigate this unprecedented crisis. We realize, however, that many of the COVID-19 disparities we now face result from longstanding challenges that aren’t relegated to the past.

Today, as uprisings erupt in cities across our country, we unequivocally reject the pernicious evils of racism and indifference that have defined the life chances of many in our country for far too long. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. admonishes us, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” We issue this Call to Community because none of us can afford to remain silent any longer.

The recent deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia remind us of the tremendous work that needs to be done to affirm the inherent worth and value of every member of our community. That work requires that we acknowledge the myriad ways structural racism shapes everyday interactions such as birdwatching in a park, jogging in a neighborhood, studying in a common area or simply sitting in our own home. The repeated assaults on the psyche and well-being of African Americans and other people of color erode the bonds that are necessary to move our region forward; together. Quite simply, all lives cannot matter until every person in our country is able to pursue her purpose without fear of harm simply because of the color of their skin, where they live or whom they love.

Our Call to Community is built on the belief that the work that must be done does not just fall on the shoulders of those who have been harmed. Rather, it requires an intentional commitment from all of us to do the work today, of building a stronger and safer tomorrow. Not just for some of us, but for all of us.

At The Community Foundation we envision a future of increasing opportunity where justice, equity, and freedom can flourish. The successful pursuit of that vision requires both conversation and dedicated action across the lines that traditionally divide us. We encourage members of the Greater New Haven region to join this Call to Community by:

  • LISTENING to the concerns and fears of those whose experiences may differ from our own.
  • LEARNING from what’s happening across the country and across our region to better confront our challenges here at home.
  • LEVERAGING our talent and resources to amplify the voices and experiences of those who are traditionally overlooked.
  • LEADING on issues of mutual concern and progress.

We hope you will join us in answering the Call to Community.


Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, Ph.D.
Board Chair

The Honorable Flemming Norcott, Jr.
Board Vice-Chair

William W. Ginsberg
President & CEO