Empowering Job Seekers to Succeed

Dec 05, 2023

Pictured above at Mill River Park (left to right): Anka Badurina, Executive Director, Building One Community; Julian Pierce, Director of Economic Opportunity, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation; Valeta Prendergast, Grants Manager, Building One Community; Alexandra Ganim, Program Associate, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation; Jovan Goodwin, Co-Founder, C.O.R.N.E.R.S.; Isis-Rae Goulbourne, Head of Events and Community, The Stamford Partnership; Maya Donald, Executive Director, C.O.R.N.E.R.S.; Lana Gifas, Executive Director, Women’s Mentoring Network; Kevin Peraino, CEO, The Stamford Partnership

A new fund sponsored by Indeed is helping Stamford nonprofits reduce barriers to employment.

Bringing about systemic change requires a deep understanding of barriers to progress. Local organizations working on the front lines are best equipped to grasp these challenges, identify opportunities, and mobilize community-centered solutions.

That’s the approach behind the Job Seekers’ Support Fund, a new partnership between the Community Foundation and Stamford-based hiring platform Indeed. The collaboration aims to increase economic opportunity by supporting local nonprofits that empower job seekers who face biases and roadblocks. With an estimated 40% of households poised to fall below the poverty line if heads of household are unemployed for three months, it’s a pressing issue.

Building One Community Grants Mgr. Valeta Prendergast & Exec. Dir. Anka Badurina

“Our participants often have limited English language skills, are economically disadvantaged, and experience ongoing racial discrimination — all factors that make securing a job difficult,” said Anka Badurina, Executive Director of Building One Community, a Fund grantee focused on immigrant services. “If we want to support an equitable economy, we must address our workforce’s opportunity gap for those who need it the most.”

As part of its competitive grant process, the Fund engaged a range of local leaders to advise on challenges facing Stamford job seekers — challenges that, according to the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, disproportionately affect Black and Latino communities.

The Fund sought grantees that increase employment opportunities through programs like workforce training and education; disability services; support in navigating the justice system; and access to essentials like housing and transportation, which greatly affect a job seeker’s prospects.

A total of $250,000 in unrestricted support was channeled to four Stamford nonprofits: Building One Community, The Stamford Partnership, C.O.R.N.E.R.S., and Women’s Mentoring Network.

“The Fund assists us in developing outreach, training, networking, and mentoring programs that ensure all Stamford residents — particularly those facing barriers to employment — can succeed professionally.”

Kevin Peraino
Chief Executive Officer, The Stamford Partnership

“The Stamford community has been home to Indeed from the beginning. It is important to us to support our community by helping those seeking employment find jobs, which is why we partnered with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation to establish the Job Seekers Support Fund,” said Jonathan Gonzalez, ESG Partnership Manager at Indeed. “We are thrilled about this partnership to help expand access to better opportunities for all.”

The general operating support provided by the Fund is critical to empower nonprofits to better fulfill their missions and advance an equitable economy where we all have the chance to thrive.

“We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Maya Donald, Co-founder of C.O.R.N.E.R.S., one of the Fund’s grantees. “We’re excited to work with our community partners to make that vision a reality.”

Learn more: FCCFoundation.org/JSSFund