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New Canaan Community Foundation Invests Over $170,000 in Third Round of Emergency Response Grants

Lauren Patterson President & CEO


New Canaan Community Foundation announced the third round of grants awarded through their COVID-19 Response Fund and related efforts. Grants this week invest a total of $172,500 and focus on additional food assistance needs; support for the immigrant community; and violence prevention and intervention efforts.

New Canaan Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund was launched on March 18th, and mobilizes private resources to: support the emergency financial needs of New Canaan families and workers; help nonprofit organizations adapt to changing client needs, as well as shifts in operations; and support critical services in lower Fairfield County. Since its launch, the fund has rapidly invested over $370,000 in community partners.

The third round of grants awarded:

  • Building One Community: $25,000

  • Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI): $25,000

  • Domestic Violence Crisis Center: $10,000

  • Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of Southern CT: $10,000

  • Filling in the Blanks: $20,000

  • Food Rescue US: $10,000

  • New Canaan Food Pantry: $7,500

  • New Covenant Center: $30,000

  • Open Door Shelter: $10,000

  • Saint Joseph Parenting Center: $10,000

  • Waveny LifeCare Network: $15,000

This week’s investments mobilize an additional $77,500 in food assistance to five organizations. New Covenant Center, the largest soup kitchen/food pantry in the greater Stamford area, is the recipient of $30,000. Increases in demand have the organization currently serving 450-700 meals each day, including meals for clients of partner nonprofits such as Pacific House, Inspirica and Building One Community. Filling in the Blanks is the recipient of $20,000 to support expansion of its weekend and emergency meals for children, and the Open Door Shelter is the recipient of $10,000 to support its food programs serving the South Norwalk community. Two additional organizations – the New Canaan Food Pantry and Food Rescue US – are receiving their second grants from the Response Fund. The New Canaan Food Pantry’s grant supports a newly-created partnership with the New Canaan Farmers Market that will allow food pantry clients to shop for fresh produce and other items at the market and support the Farmers Market merchants. This is in addition to bulk food purchases and grocery store gift cards supported through an earlier grant to the Food Pantry. Food Rescue US’s grant provides additional support for the purchase of meals from New Canaan restaurants, supporting our local businesses, and delivery of these meals to local nonprofits serving clients in need of food assistance. Press Burger, a local New Canaan restaurant who participated in this partnership with the first round of funding to Food Rescue US, commented “even though outdoor dining has been introduced, our business is still down dramatically and the looser restrictions really haven't changed anything for our small shop due to the distance requirements and folks still hesitant about coming out. We would be unbelievably grateful if the NCCF could fund the program again and help us through the continuing difficult circumstances.”

A total of $50,000 is being invested in two organizations supporting our immigrant neighbors. Building One Community and the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) will each receive $25,000 to support the emergency and ongoing needs of their clients in response to the pandemic. Immigrant communities have been hit disproportionately hard by the impacts of the pandemic, primarily based on where they live, and where they work, often in essential jobs. Fairfield County is home to a large immigrant community – according to a 2019 analysis by DataHaven, 14% of CT’s population is foreign born, but this figure increases to 22% of Fairfield County’s population, 28% of Norwalk’s population, and 35% of Stamford’s population. Many have been excluded from public sources of support in this crisis. Needs for food, rental and other emergency assistance have been overwhelming, and are expected to continue at high levels.

A total of $30,000 is being invested in three organizations focused on violence prevention and intervention – the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, the Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of Southern CT, and the Saint Joseph Parenting Center. This initial grant support will help each organization respond and adapt to current client needs, but each has been limited in its ability to expand services, as referral sources (such as schools and the court system) have been closed and therefore people in need have not yet connected to their services. It is expected that intense needs will surface as these systems re-open, and the Foundation is keeping in close touch with partners to understand changing needs.

Finally, a second grant has been mobilized to support Waveny LifeCare, particularly their continual provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). The long-time partner of the Foundation continues to respond to the needs of their staff and clients, impacted particularly hard by this disease.

More than $460,000 has been raised to-date for New Canaan Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. Dollars invested in nonprofit partners now total over $370,000, including both specific response fund giving, as well as dollars from the Touch A Life Fund, a long-standing emergency support fund at the Foundation. “We are deploying dollars rapidly, but also keeping a close eye on developing needs, as well as resources that will be needed for recovery efforts,” commented Lauren Patterson, President & CEO of the New Canaan Community Foundation. “We know that specific needs will arise as our community re-opens, and that particular issues like behavioral health will be important for us all.” The New Canaan Community Foundation, founded in 1977, serves as New Canaan's local partner for advice, leadership, and facilitation of charitable giving. Their vision strives for a New Canaan that comes together to address both individual and local challenges, enriching the lives of all community members. To-date, the New Canaan Community Foundation has invested more than $16 million in nonprofit organizations, working with individuals and businesses to achieve their philanthropic goals through donor-advised funds and other partnerships. Learn more at


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