Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity Invests $347,500 in Region’s Vulnerable Students

Jan 22, 2024

Grants Propel Local Nonprofits in Bridging Educational Opportunity Gaps

(Norwalk, CT) (Dec. 22, 2023) – Hundreds of Fairfield County students will soon have access to the support and opportunities they need to thrive thanks to $347,500 in funding announced today by the Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity.

This new funding will support the work of six Fairfield County nonprofits that are working to help students from pre-K through post-high school succeed in the classroom and ultimately hone the skills they need to pursue careers as adults.

The Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity, formed in 2020 in partnership with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, is working to ensure Fairfield County’s most vulnerable students have the support they need to thrive. With this latest round of grants, the Collaborative — which is funded by more than a dozen Fairfield County businesses — has now awarded nearly $1.15 million to programs that empower students to pursue their dreams.

“This new funding focuses on supporting projects that allow opportunities for partnership and collaboration and have the potential to grow into longer-term investments in the future of Fairfield County education,” said Mendi Blue Paca, president and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. “The six nonprofits that were selected have already proven their ability to make an impact in our community — and these latest investments will help them build on their powerful work.”

For example, Stamford Cradle to Career is partnering with Building One Community to advance early childhood education. While the focus is primarily on Stamford, the organization will also share its resources and learnings with neighboring communities such as Bridgeport and Danbury.

The grant will also help Stamford Cradle to Career educate families about the importance and value of a preschool experience, raise awareness to increase the number of caregivers monitoring children under the age of five, and work to demystify systems and empower the community to effectively advocate for change.

Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Teachers also received a grant,partnering with Norwalk Public Schools to expand and support 150 culturally diverse and economically challenged high school and college students to complete their education and move on to becoming employed in their communities as teachers and other professionals.

The Carver, in collaboration with SAVE, developed a workforce development initiative that aims to create a robust framework for empowering students and preparing them for a successful transition into the workforce.

BCEE also supported three nonprofits that launched pilot programs.

Stamford Public Education Fund (SPEF) will launch a pilot program to tutor math and English to students who are participating in SPEF’s Stamford Mentoring Program.

SoundWaters will pilot a new program to introduce students to key trade skills for marine trade jobs.

Bridgeport Public Education Fund will start The Learning Labs initiative, which is designed to provide in-depth, personalized learning and support for Bridgeport Public School seniors who are on track to graduate early. Through monthly meetings, presentations, workshops, and assignments the initiative will alleviate the stress and anxiety that comes with graduating early, and better prepare students for the next step.

“We’re a coalition of businesses committed to diminishing, and ultimately, closing the educational disparities that prevent not only the students from thriving, but also their parents, guardians, and even teachers and staff,” said Denise Yap, president of the Synchrony Foundation and a member of the Collaborative. “Through these grants, we want to help amplify the work of leading education nonprofits and support partnerships across Fairfield County.”

The Business Collaborative’s members include Bank of America, First County Bank, Gallatin Point Capital, Henkel, Lapine Associates, Pitney Bowes, Synchrony, The Ashforth Company, The Tudor Foundation, Inc., Xerox, FactSet Charitable Foundation, Littlejohn & Co., and McKinsey & Company.

Click here to learn more about the Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity and how to become a member. Local businesses of all sizes that are interested in joining are encouraged to contact Rebecca Mandell, Donor Engagement Officer, Partnerships and Learning at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is partnering with our community to create a county where every person has an equitable opportunity to thrive. We work closely with community organizations, nonprofits, businesses, and philanthropists to address challenges and identify opportunities to create a stronger, more vibrant community. Informed by three decades of partnering with and serving our community, we have awarded more than $365 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond.

About the Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity
The Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity, formed in 2020, is a multi-year local impact and funding partnership to help reduce and eliminate educational disparities among Fairfield County’s most vulnerable pre-K through 12+ students, their parents and guardians, as well as teachers and staff. The Business Collaborative, in partnership with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation capitalizes on the combined impact of our region’s philanthropic corporate sector to support local nonprofit organizations and initiatives with financial contributions, employee volunteerism and expertise, mentorship and internship opportunities, and other resources to support scalable and evidenced-based initiatives in the Greater Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk, and Stamford regions.