Advocating for Systems Change

Dec 19, 2023

Pictured above: Key findings from the Fairfield County Community Wellbeing Index 2023 were shared with legislators and advocates at the Connecticut State Capitol this spring.

We can accomplish much more when we work together.

Real and sustainable change requires everyone — grassroots organizations, advocacy groups, individual citizens and government — to come together to create a just and equitable community. Because the systems that create inequity are complex, changing them will take collective community investment, advocacy, and innovative thinking.

To achieve this, we’ve launched a comprehensive strategy that helps grassroots organizations build power and resources to advocate for change; empowers individuals to exercise their right to vote and become more engaged in their communities; and increases public will for action by investing in research and programs that shine light on Fairfield County’s challenges and potential solutions.

We’re also strengthening relationships with state and local lawmakers and administrators to help them better understand our region’s issues and explore ideas on how to advance equity.

“It’s not easy for foundations to fund advocacy. Knowing that the Community Foundation is supporting this work is tremendously vital.”

Interim Executive Director, ConnCAN

Through this focus on public policy, we have advocated in the state legislature for several successful bills that can positively affect our community, including:

Implementation of early voting. More eligible voters will have the chance to participate in our elections thanks to a new law that requires 14 days of early voting for general elections, seven days of early voting for most primaries, and four days of early voting for special elections and presidential preference primaries.

Medicaid reimbursement for community health care workers. The Legislature approved an important measure to improve health outcomes that authorizes Medicaid reimbursement for community health workers, who often share lived experience with their clients and work on the front line to get people the care they need.

Bonds for the Housing Trust Fund and Flexible Housing Program. Our legislative delegation played a key role in setting aside $200 million over the next two years for the Housing Trust Fund and another $200 million for FLEX Housing. These investments will give more Fairfield County residents access to safe, stable, and affordable housing in communities of opportunity.

We are also increasing investment in nonprofits and community partners that have a track record of advocating for policies that promote equity in Fairfield County. This includes organizations like ConnCAN, a statewide advocacy group that has worked to increase funding for public education so all kids can have access to high-quality education and the support to succeed academically.

“It’s not easy for foundations to fund advocacy,” said Hamish MacPhail, Interim Executive Director of ConnCAN. “Knowing that Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is helping support this work is tremendously vital, not only because of the financial support, but because they can connect people with different skill sets around shared goals.”

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