Report to Our Community 2020/21

In 2020, The Community Foundation responded almost overnight to COVID, changing much of what we do and how we do it.

2020-21 Report to Our Community cover image
See excerpts from The Community Foundation's 2020/21 Report to Our Community by section below.

June 2021

For The Community Foundation, as for all of us, the time of COVID has been a time like no other. This past year has been a time of loss — lost health, lost jobs, lost progress and far too many lost lives. This past year has been a time of disconnection. Too many among us have been alone, and our personal relationships — the very raw material of community — have been reduced to grainy images on computer screens.

Yet the story of COVID in Greater New Haven is also about how we have come together. Many in our community put aside all else to be of service and comfort to those taken ill. For all of us, the bonds of family, friendship, work and community were brought ever more to mind because we could no longer take them for granted.

This past year has also been a time of inescapable inequity and injustice. The disparities of COVID — in health, in education, in economic impact — revealed the inadequacy of all that has been done up to now to create a more equitable society. The indelible images of George Floyd’s murder changed us and galvanized many to commit to do more and to do better.

This annual report tells the story of this past year not only as we experienced it at The Community Foundation, but also through the words of fifteen of our neighbors who, as one of them said, “left it all on the line.” They tell us of loss, inspiration, sacrifice and risk. They call on us to learn from all we have seen and heard.

They challenge us to become stronger, be more compassionate and unified, support and engage with one another more fully, and collaborate to address age-old inequities. They believe that this can be a time of transformational change. In all these ways, this past year has revealed much of what needs to be done to make our world and our community better.

In 2020, The Community Foundation responded almost overnight to COVID, changing much of what we do and how we do it. In the first months of COVID, The Foundation’s immediate pandemic response resulted in more than $10 million in discretionary gifts and grants into our community, a lifeline for many nonprofits facing existential threats and a jumpstart for many new grassroots groups that emerged to help newly vulnerable members of our community. Our donors have responded too, as evidenced by a record-shattering Great Give in 2020 and the success of our COVID-19 Community Fund.

As the deeply inequitable impacts of COVID were revealed for all to see, The Foundation realized that these times demand even more of us if we are to advance opportunity and equity in our community. Last fall, we decided that we needed to step forward in
new ways.

Stepping Forward is The Foundation’s $26 million plan to address the impacts of COVID
and to advance racial equity in our community over the next three years. It is both building on and transforming The Foundation’s core philanthropic practices. Stepping Forward is being funded through an unprecedented supplemental extraction from our discretionary endowments and through donor contributions. It will generate $15 million in incremental discretionary spending over the 2021-23 period and $11 million for three new endowment

In this time of COVID — so painful and tragic yet so full of the potential for transformation too — we invite you to join us in the work of community.

Flemming L. Norcott Jr.,
Board of Directors Chair

William W. Ginsberg,
President & Chief Executive


2020-21 Highlights

ConnCAT graduation
ConnCAT graduation ceremony during the pandemic.

Among our 2020 highlights was a renewed investment by The Community Foundation in the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology (ConnCAT). The Foundation awarded a new four-year $1 million grant to the ConnCAT and has supported it since it was just an idea. Over its history since 2012, ConnCAT has emerged as a vitally important leader in the New Haven neighborhoods of Dixwell and Newhallville, providing inspiration and leadership in creating a new future for the people of these neighborhoods.


Community Reflections on the Pandemic

The stories of our community in the time of COVID are best told through the words of local residents. They tell of loss, inspiration, sacrifice and risk; of disconnection, belonging, family and friendships; and of inescapable inequity and injustice. The reflections compiled for this report are from teachers, business owners, nonprofit workers, advocates and community activists - we know that they represent just a sample of our community's full story and gratefully acknowledge all those who shared their personal stories.

"We had one day’s notice that the state was shutting down, and it was pretty surreal."

"We need to make the decision if we’re going to have it make us stronger or destroy us.

"COVID began in March, but the inequality existed before that."


Funds of The Community Foundation

Covid19 Community Fund
The Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund is one of 51 new funds established in 2020 at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and its affiliate the Valley Community Foundation.

There are approximately 1,000 individually named funds at The Community Foundation. The types of funds that can be established — over the course of one’s lifetime and/or through one’s estate — are flexible in their design to provide something for everyone. Fifty-one new funds were established at The Foundation in 2020, including those with our affiliate the Valley Community Foundation and several designated funds from charitable gift annuities. We thank our donors for their generosity and community spirit.


Donors to Foundation Funds

Social distancing in New Haven. Photo credit Myles H. Alderman.

As we see year after year, our community’s spirit of generosity and belief in itself is
reflected in giving to The Foundation. And in 2020, as our community was in the midst of crisis, donors again showed that spirit and contributed more than $22 million in new gifts and transfers.


Nettie J. Dayton Circle

Nettie Dayton Circle

Those who include The Community Foundation in their long-term charitable planning are members of the Nettie J. Dayton Circle, a special group of visionary philanthropists who have named The Community Foundation as a beneficiary in their will, retirement plan, trust, life income gift or other deferred gift arrangement.


Professional Advisor Partners

PA 2020-21 listing
Select the image to see the full list of partners and council members together.

Charitable giving is highly personal, reflecting the unique values, interests, and capacity of each donor. Working with The Community Foundation, professional advisors (area attorneys, bankers, accountants and financial planners) provide individualized giving plans to meet the unique charitable goals of their clients while also maximizing tax advantages.

The Foundation's Professional Advisors Council consists of leaders in the allied advisory fields such as estate planning, wealth advising, accounting, financial planning, and insurance that work with us to advocate for the value of philanthropy and examine innovative mechanisms for high impact charitable planning.


Grants & Distributions

New Lifestyles continued its work to help women in crisis throughout the COVID pandemic and increased engagement thanks to a grant from the Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund. Photo credit: Chris Randall.

Grants and distributions totaled nearly $36.7 million in 2020. In addition to providing general operating and project support, funding helped build the capacity of our nonprofits partners and advance Foundation leadership priorities.



Throughout the year, our volunteers contribute vast amounts of time and skill to help us advance our mission. Each brings unique perspectives and experiences that represent the very best of our community and are amplified when blended together. We remain grateful and inspired by their deep-rooted commitment to this place we call home.


Investments & Finances

Investment chart
Investment Performance for the Corporation's Comingled Fund

The Community Foundation’s assets were $778 million as of December 31, 2020, an increase of approximately 15% over the prior year. The global pandemic was perhaps the ultimate test of both resiliency and relevance for our perpetual and global investment strategy. After the markets’ sharp down-turn in the first quarter, The Foundation’s portfolio significantly out-performed its absolute and relative benchmarks in 2020.


Mission Related Investments

High School Apprentices in the NXTHVN Aula. Photo credit: John Dennis.

As a fully integrated part of The Foundation’s strategy for advancing opportunity and equity in our community, The Foundation makes mission-related investments through our subsidiary mission investments company (TCF-MIC).