Basic Needs Fund

Est. 2020 by Karen Pritzker.

Photo courtesy of Connecticut Food Bank

The Basic Needs Fund was established in April 2020 to help ensure that all New Haven area residents have the basic needs of daily life. It is a committee-advised component fund of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven that supports the basic needs of all people in Greater New Haven.

Guiding Principles

We believe in the inherent dignity of all people and that the most basic human needs of food and water, safety and shelter, and access to essential services should be available with compassion to everyone. Our collective power is realized when it is built on trust and respect, mutual support, empathy, solidarity, and participatory and inclusive practices. We are committed to realizing the greatest possible good with all the financial and non-financial assets we have available.


The purpose of the fund is to help ensure that all New Haven area residents have the basic needs of daily life, such as but not limited to: food, shelter, hygiene items, safety and communication tools -- and to promote the dignity of people who need financial assistance. The Basic Needs Fund will work towards this purpose by making grants in active coordination with other major funders; and through public advocacy and education on the state of basic needs in Greater New Haven.

Definition of Basic Needs

The basic, hard to define material things that are easily taken for granted when you have them. The Fund's advisory committee has defined basic needs as material needs that include but are not limited to shelter, food, clothing, hygiene items, non-prescription drugs and other essential health care not covered by insurance, home utilities, physical safety, transportation, and communication tools.

Recent Data

1 in 10 Connecticut residents report being unable to afford food. In urban areas, the number is 1 in 6.

Learn more from DataHaven's Community Wellbeing Survey


The fund is governed by an advisory committee (“The Committee”) composed of representatives from three constituent groups: givers to the fund; cooperating funders; and organizations that provide basic needs.

Grantmaking Process

A collaborative, leveraged, problem-solving approach will be taken in regard to grant making to achieve maximum impact on specific challenges. Multi-year commitments are considered when appropriate to put new or expanding programs on firm footing. Cooperating funders may present unfunded, basic needs requests for consideration. Grants will be made without a set schedule and after community needs are discussed and researched.

Grants Awarded

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Basic Needs Fund