Jan 30, 2023

Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford and Trio New College Network Awarded $600,000 in Grants to Support Education and Employment Programs

In an effort to support residents seeking quality employment, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford (LVGH) and Trio New College Network (Trio) have each been awarded a three-year, $300,000 core support grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, in partnership with the Liberty Bank Foundation. Core support grants provide flexible funding to nonprofits which enables them to strengthen their programming and invest in innovative approaches to better meet the current and emerging needs of the people they serve.

“Our partnership with the Liberty Bank Foundation affords us the opportunity to share perspectives on workforce development challenges in Greater Hartford,” said Hartford Foundation President/CEO Jay Williams. “It also allows us to work together in supporting nonprofits building literacy and post-secondary professional skills that are essential in helping residents realize their potential and increase their earning capacity.”

Liberty Bank Foundation’s support for these organizations came through a $50,000 grant to the Hartford Foundation’s Action Fund for Racial Justice. Liberty’s goal is to support low- and moderate-income families as they improve their economic situation and quality of life. Its grantmaking priorities focus on supporting education and training, with an emphasis on addressing post-pandemic challenges in K-12 education, adult workforce development, and small business support.

“When Liberty Bank and the Liberty Bank Foundation invest in our communities, we build strong partnerships with organizations like the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and their network of nonprofits so together we can make a meaningful impact on individuals and families right here in the greater Hartford region,” said David W. Glidden, President & CEO of Liberty Bank and President of the Liberty Bank Foundation. “By working with the Hartford Foundation, LVGH and Trio, we are helping to make it possible to deliver the right combination of resources, education and support individuals need to succeed in our workforce while providing a pool of talented workers for Connecticut businesses.”

The grant to LVGH allows the organization to strengthen its work with immigrants whose literacy rates or limited English proficiency make it difficult to secure employment. The flexibility provided by core support also enables LVGH to invest in innovative approaches to meet the current and emerging needs of their students. For example, LVGH’s Career Pathways program addresses a major gap in the workforce development sector by providing career readiness training and wraparound services to a segment of the population that, due to factors such as place of birth, literacy level, or lack of traditional education is often unable to participate in mainstream workforce training programs.

“LVGH is grateful for the support of the Hartford Foundation and Liberty Bank,” said LVGH Executive Director Stephen Morris. “Through our programming, not only are we equipping students with the skills needed to exploit opportunities and achieve stable employment, but we also work with employers to address their hiring needs by matching students with open positions. With this investment, we will be able to grow and deepen our services, while meeting the ever-increasing demand for our programs. Ultimately, this partnership will allow more students to gain the skills and confidence needed to take control of their career journey and build a future of their choosing. “

Trio, a community-based college success nonprofit organization, launched its inaugural sites in Detroit, Newark, and Camden in 2021. This year, Trio is expanding its work into Connecticut and has partnered with the local foundations to launch a Greater Hartford site to serve local BIPOC residents looking to complete their college degrees while working full-time. Implementation planning is underway with the goal of enrolling a small founding cohort of students this April and a full cohort in July.

Trio provides underserved students with access to an innovative online degree program that is accelerated, flexible, and affordable. Trio partners with Southern New Hampshire University to offer a Competency Based Education (CBE) education program that is designed to build workplace-relevant competencies that meet the hiring needs. This responds to the challenge of ensuring that post-secondary education reflects the skills needed in today’s job market. Trio pairs SNHU’s innovative degree program with high-touch, community-based success coaches to connect students to community resources and help them achieve their goal of earning a college degree. The Trio model provides working adults with an efficient way to pursue a college degree at a low cost with little debt while gaining relevant skills that lead to opportunities for career advancement and economic mobility.

“As a first-generation college student and an educator who has spent most of my career supporting Connecticut high school and college students, I know firsthand the inequities and structural barriers that many experience in accessing, navigating, and graduating from college,” said Executive Director for Trio CT Felicia Edwards-Smith. “The Trio model was designed to address many of those barriers like cost and convenient class options to increase access and provide support to make the dream of a college degree more attainable. Trio CT can be a community of support for Connecticut’s working adults and help them access resources that will support them in earning their college degree to advance their careers, earn more money, and build wealth for their families. I am honored to lead the launch of Trio CT, and we are excited about this opportunity to catalyze socio-economic mobility for working adults in Hartford.”

These grants are a part of the Hartford Foundation’s portfolio of workforce-related investments that seek to increase access to quality employment for adults facing significant barriers. Foundation grants often focus on wraparound services and basic preparation to increase access to workforce training and other services funded through public dollars or available through workforce programs that have demonstrated success.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding towns. Through partnerships, the Foundation seeks to strengthen communities in Greater Hartford by putting philanthropy in action to dismantle structural racism and achieve equity in social and economic mobility. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $940 million since its founding in 1925. For more information, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.

Since its inception in 1997, the Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded over $16 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Liberty Bank’s market area. The Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for people of low or moderate income by investing principally in two areas:  education & training; and affordable housing.