Pablo y Mateo Cruz Fund for Fair Haven Community and Economic Development
Est. 2023 Lee Cruz and Sarah Miller
Lee Cruz and Sarah Miller and their two sons, Pablo and Mateo Cruz, love living in Fair Haven. The part of New Haven tucked between the Mill and Quinnipiac Rivers is the place where they see their good friends and know their neighbors, both old and new. It’s also where they spend a lot of time building community and giving energy to help others.
“We have the diversity of the world here,” Miller said. “You have millionaires and the poorest people in the city. We have a continuous stream of new immigrants who need extra support and also enrich the neighborhood culturally, socially, and in all kinds of ways.”
Cruz and Miller are long-time community leaders and activists in Fair Haven. Cruz, the community outreach director for The Community Foundation, is a founder of the Chatham Square Neighborhood Association and co-chair of the Fair Haven Community Management Team. Miller, the Director of Strategy, Implementation, and Special Projects at the Clifford Beers Community Care Center, is an Alder for New Haven’s 14th Ward, which includes Fair Haven.
Now, the family has established the Pablo y Mateo Cruz Fund for Fair Haven Community and Economic Development at the Community Foundation. They hope to carry on the work of the Progreso Latino Fund, celebrating its 20th year in 2023. “We felt we wanted to encourage philanthropy and be part of philanthropy in the Latine community,” Miller said.
They want their fund to enhance the economic and social development of Fair Haven in perpetuity, Cruz said, and hope that people will contribute to the fund so it will continually grow.
“In Fair Haven, there hasn’t been the kind of financial investment needed to fully develop the neighborhood” Miller said.
“But a number of things have come together that we’ve been working on for well over a decade – the redevelopment of the old Strong School, as well as better integration of the people who live in the neighborhood and those who do business here,” Cruz said. “There is an energy from people coming together. Setting up a fund is shoring that up.”
Cruz and Miller envision their fund helping to fill gaps in major projects developed by the city or nonprofits, tackling smaller initiatives, and supporting the small businesses, activities, and programs of the neighborhood association and other Fair Haven community-led groups.
“We want to be part of a creating a culture of abundance rather than scarcity,” Miller said.
The couple said they’d like their young sons to eventually become involved in the decision making about which projects to fund. “We named this for our kids to engage them in thinking about their responsibility beyond the day to day to day,” Miller said. “To consider what it looks like to invest long term in the place where you live.”
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