Change for Community Foundation’s 2015 Catalyst Fund Grant

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Members Hope to Help Multiple Local Programs with $10,000 Award; Local Non-Profits Encouraged to Answer Recent Survey

NEW BRITAIN, CT -- “I think it’s absolutely vital for the success of our state.” That’s what Patrick McKenna, training and membership services coordinator at the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits, recently told members of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain’s Catalyst Fund. He was speaking of the critical need for non-profit organizations to continually and effectively assess how they go about raising funds, maintaining services and achieving their missions in the face of decreased government funding, increased costs, higher demand for services and an ever-competitive environment for grant funding.

It’s called “capacity building” and it is a buzzword throughout today’s nonprofit world. Those who are good at it can weather the resource storm. Those who fail to plan and change as needed to keep pace with dwindling resources and heightened competition may find themselves in trouble – with their clients suffering.

The import of capacity building has prompted Catalyst Fund members to significantly change how they award grant funding this year. For the past 12 years, members of the Catalyst Fund – a hands-on, grass-roots “giving circle” of citizens who want to give back to Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington – have awarded a $10,000 grant to a single, local non-profit program addressing the membership’s chosen community issue.

This year, the grant will be used to help multiple local non-profits build capacity with the assistance of expert training. Whether it is a single workshop, multiple workshops or engaging a consultant to work directly with a variety of local programs remains to be determined.

“Capacity building for non-profits is a way for Catalyst Fund members to broaden the impact of the grant they award to the many non-profit organizations that deliver important services within our four towns,” said Joeline Wruck, Director of Community Initiatives at the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain.

The Foundation is encouraging local non-profits serving Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington to seek out and answer a “Survey Monkey” e-mail survey processed by the Community Foundation on July 6. The survey asks questions about the organization (sector, number of staff members, etc.) and requests information regarding self-identified deficits (fundraising, marketing, technology, etc.)

The survey ends July 24 and Foundation staff members will organize the data received. Upon identifying the most prominent areas in need of support, Catalyst Fund members will convene and develop a plan to hire a consultant to educate nonprofit organizations in their areas of need. Due to scheduling, it is likely that not all organizations surveyed will benefit from the grant.

If your local non-profit did not receive a survey, please e-mail Kaylah Smith at

The Catalyst Fund is a group of caring citizens dedicated to improving the towns of Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. Three times per year, members gather to learn about a member-chosen issue facing the community, and to consider funding requests from charitable organizations addressing the issue. The group awards an annual grant of $10,000. In the 12-year history of the Catalyst Fund, members have donated more than $100,000.

For more information about the Catalyst Fund or how to become a member, contact Kaylah Smith or (860) 229-6018, ext. 305.

Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain connects donors who care with causes that matter in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. It does this by raising resources and developing partnerships that make a measurable improvement in the quality of life in each of these communities. For more information, visit



Jim Williamson
Community Foundation of Greater New Britain
(860) 229-6018 x306

Dennis Buden
(860) 558-0514


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