Closing Fairfield County’s Opportunity Gap: A Strategic Focus on Our Community Impact Work

May 09, 2018

Incoming Board Chair Martha Olson led a planning team made up of board members (pictured) and staff in developing a strategic plan that focuses FCCF’s Community Impact efforts.

As Fairfield County’s Community Foundation rolls out a new strategic plan to guide our Community Impact work for the next three years, President & CEO Juanita James and incoming Board Chair Martha Olson share their thoughts on why it matters.

What is the main goal of the new 2018-21 Strategic Plan?

Olson: Our overall vision is for Fairfield County to be an inclusive environment where every individual has the opportunity to thrive. To achieve that, we aim to close the opportunity gap in Fairfield County by eliminating disparities in income, education, employment, housing and health. That’s a lofty and long-term proposition: when it comes to income inequality in major metropolitan areas of the United States, Fairfield County tops the list. No single organization can solve this issue alone. But by orienting all our efforts and initiatives around this guiding light and leveraging partners around the region, we can make progress.

What populations will FCCF serve over the next three years?

James: We will focus on making an impact for women and girls, youth ages 16 to 25 who are not in school or employed, and immigrants. These vulnerable populations tend to be impacted the most by disparities. By leveraging partnerships with Fairfield County donors, nonprofits, policy makers and business and community leaders, we can start to create an environment where there is less risk and more opportunity. And we will remain true to our mission of promoting philanthropy as a means to create change by connecting our donors to the causes they care about.

Click here to download an overview of our 2018-21 Strategic Plan.

What are the desired results identified in the new plan?

Olson: After analyzing regional data and speaking with partner foundations, nonprofit leaders and collective impact groups, we’ve identified four key results areas. First, we want to ensure that all students graduate with a high school degree and are prepared for post-secondary education and employment. We also want to ensure that older youth and young adults have training and credentials that lead to meaningful careers. And we want to ensure that women and girls are economically secure, healthy and safe. Furthermore, we want all residents to have safe, stable, healthy and affordable housing in communities of opportunity.

What strategies will be used to work toward these results?

James: The Community Foundation will continue to expand and deploy financial resources, and connect donors with effective nonprofits. We will work to maximize impact by aligning action with results, and help build the capacity of our nonprofits. Because we know that lasting change requires the public, private and nonprofit sectors to work together, we will also amplify the voices of community members and leaders and work to influence policies that affect our target populations.


We invite you, and everyone that cares about the people and places in Fairfield County, to be part of this transformative work. Learn more about our Community Impact initiatives.