How Fairfield County’s Business Community Is Advancing Education Equity

May 25, 2022

The Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity is playing an important role in ensuring that every child who grows up in our community has an equal opportunity to succeed and thrive.

And while the effort is still new, it is already showing promise.

In spring 2021, the Business Collaborative awarded $300,000 to seven Fairfield County nonprofits that are focused on improving kindergarten readiness, helping students avoid the “summer slide,” and addressing food security among youth and young adults.

Today, new data compiled by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation from the seven grantees shows the impact of this important investment.

All told, this $300,000 investment provided services to more than 4,600 youth (ages 5-15) and older youth (ages 16-25) across Fairfield County — services that included more than 400 hours of instruction and coaching and 40,300 summer meals.

Measuring the Impact
But while these numbers are big in aggregate, the true impact of this investment can be seen through other measures. The Community Foundation’s data showed:

• Nearly 85 percent of youth who received meals had improved access to fresh fruits and vegetables and nearly 9 in 10 experienced less anxiety about food insecurity.
• Roughly three in four students maintained at least a B average and expressed improved academic performance.
• More than 8 in 10 students who took part in summer academic programs were able to recover academic credits.
• A majority of middle school students who took part in Collaborative-funded programs reported that they were confident about their transition to high school.

These outcomes came even though the nonprofit grantees reported several challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

• hybrid learning and periodic disruptions.
• staff and volunteer shortages
• under-enrollment
• extraordinary levels of need.

About the Collaborative
A pioneering group of local businesses formed the Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity in 2020 to address pressing challenges facing the community’s most vulnerable pre-K through 12th-grade students, parent, and guardians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Founding partners of the Collaborative include Bank of America, First County Bank, Lapine Associates, Pitney Bowes, Synchrony, Tudor Foundation and Xerox. The group’s newest members include Gallatin Point Capital and The Ashforth Company.

Together, Collaborative members have supported nonprofits working on issues such as distance learning, summer learning, kindergarten and college readiness, and food insecurity.

The Community Foundation houses the Collaborative’s fund and provides philanthropic and strategic advising services and project management support.

The Collaborative shares our vision of ensuring every child who grows up in Fairfield County has an equal opportunity to thrive. Because of that, its members have committed to making the Collaborative a long-term effort in which businesses will work with the Community Foundation, nonprofits, and our community to foster educational equity in Fairfield County.

2021 Grantees
Bridgeport Prospers (United Way of Coastal Fairfield County)
Carver Foundation of Norwalk
Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County
Norwalk Community College Foundation
Domus Kids
Horizons Bridgeport

Download a copy of the Summary: Spring 2021 Grantee Cohort (February 2022)