North Green, New Haven Credit: Chris Randall

Stepping Forward

Responding to COVID-19 and Advancing Racial Equity

The Community Foundation launched Stepping Forward in January 2021 to respond to the historic impact of COVID-19 and to advance racial equity in Greater New Haven. The initiative commits $26 million to these efforts, building on The Foundation’s long-term support for creating opportunity and equity.


Stepping Forward Announcement Press Release

Stepping Forward in the News



Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen prepares food to go. Credit: Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen

New Funding and Programs

Immediate Resources for Community Needs

The Foundation has added $15 million to its discretionary spending for 2021-2023. To meet the changing needs in the community, The Foundation has also made its grantmaking programs more accessible and added trainings for nonprofits. Stepping Forward includes:

  • Significant increases to flexible funding for local nonprofits.
  • COVID-19 relief and recovery.
  • Funding to advance racial equity and dismantle racism and gender inequity.
  • Increased funding access for small and emerging nonprofits and organizations coming to The Foundation for the first time.
  • Leadership development for nonprofit leaders who are people of color, funding for the arts and for change-makers advocating and organizing to heal and dismantle inequitable systems and structures in our society.
  • Increased investments in minority and woman entrepreneurs, small businesses and the New Haven entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Have questions about Stepping Forward and The Foundation's grant programs?

East Rock, New Haven Credit: Sage Ross

New Endowed Funds

Permanent Resources for Long-term Change

The Foundation is excited to announce three new endowment funds to address longstanding critical issues for our community. Thanks to the generosity of local philanthropists and transfer of Foundation assets, nearly $6 million from Foundation and donor resources has already been committed to these funds. The goal is to grow these endowments to $11 million by 2023 and increase permanent resources for years to come.

  • Basic Needs Fund - To support organizations that provide people living in poverty and distress with material basic needs.
  • Black Futures Fund - To advance racial equity in Greater New Haven and to tackle the structures that contribute to racial disparities in our community.
  • Civic Engagement and Awareness Fund - To advance civic awareness and engagement in Greater New Haven.

Inclusive Growth

Equitable Entrepreneurship

Small business and entrepreneurship is a critical ladder to opportunity and wealth building. Stepping Forward increases The Community Foundation's investments in minority and small business support through The Community Foundation Mission Investments Company (TCF-MIC). As part of its investments, TCF-MIC is supporting an innovative collaborative that is building an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in New Haven. The goal is to create a self-sustaining network of resources, funding and mentorship for all entrepreneurs to succeed.

Medical Coding is one of the career-ready skills programs offered at ConnCAT. Credit: ConnCAT

Inclusive Growth

Education and Career Pathways

Stepping Forward enhances The Foundation's commitment to education and building career pathways.

Stepping Forward will evolve as community needs change in response to the changing dynamics of COVID-19 and racial equity. Learn more about Stepping Forward, what The Foundation is doing now and how you can be a part of shaping the future.