2019 TPF GRANTEES
In its 3rd year, The Prosperity Foundation’s signature program awarded $52,500.00 to 21 organizations in Connecticut with small grants.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Eta Alpha Lambda Chapter – New Haven County
The purpose of the Go to High School, Go to College and Saturday Alpha Academies initiative is to assist in promotion the value of education and educational achievement of Black Boys in middle school and high school. The goals include improved outcomes in academic performance, better preparation for standardized testing, and a more positive outlook on the role of education in community change. We have seen the impact of the initiative in the development of a new cadre of young leaders in New Haven and Waterbury who have an understanding of the possibilities that better educational performance provides and are putting this to work by assisting others as peer mentors with the knowledge obtained. Our program participants are critical thinkers, current and future leaders with the shared vision of positive change. We are respectfully requesting funds for the 2019 programs (roughly 16 weeks) in order to provide for the needed materials, necessary honorariums, supplies, food, and enrichment activities. In addition to the regular programming last Year's grant allowed us to brand the program, sponsor team building exercises at the Escape New Haven and to have the program participants demonstrate their progress to their families and the end of session barbecue assembly.
Beulah Heights Church Summer Enrichment Program – New Haven County
The Beulah Heights Church (BHC) Summer Enrichment Program is in its 7th year of operation. It is a five-week summer program which allows local and area students to receive support and enhanced instruction in reading, math, character development, socialization as well as music and physical activity. The goal of this project is to increase literacy rates and STEM curriculum retention for students attending New Haven Public Schools with priority given to 3 K-8 Schools - Wexler Grant, Lincoln Bassett, and Beecher Magnet School. According to the Data Haven Community Index, only 17% of the third graders in Dixwell and Newhallville are reading at or above reading level for that grade. Moreover, 25% and 20% of these children were living in poverty. The report continues and states, "Children living in poverty are at risk of experiencing chronic stresses that will create life-long disadvantages. Without intervention, these children enter kindergarten without the emotional and cognitive foundation needed to function in a school environment. Many of these children are never able to catch up, eventually dropping out of school. The highly malleable nature of the young brain, however, means that early intervention with positive adult relationships in a high-quality childcare or preschool setting has potentially life-changing implications." The targeted communities are better off because the children will be engaged in STEM curriculum increasing literacy levels as well as the retention of the material learned during the school year while preparing them for the upcoming academic year. The Summer Enrichment Program seeks to accomplish the following: • Increase each student's pre-assessment score for literacy by a minimum of 10 basis points or more; AND• Increase each student's pre-assessment score for numeracy by a minimum of 10 basis points or more.
Cardinal Shehan Center – Fairfield County
The Cardinal Shehan Center is quite pleased to present our application for funds to support of our Financial Literacy & Leadership Program. The program serves 57 youth in grades 6th-8th throughout the school year. The goal of the Financial Literacy & Leadership Program is to provide educational and leadership opportunities for young men and women to equip them with the knowledge to become future leaders. This goal will be accomplished by engaging youth in activities through the following five main objectives:
1.) Community leadership
2.) Job Shadowing
3.) Money management
4.) High School/College preparation
5.) Job readiness
We are proud of our 98% graduation rate, behavioral changes that are made by the end of our program, grade letter improvements and, our favorite, the responses we get from our participants. 100% learn how to prepare resumes, balance a monthly budget, and understand the soft skills needed to prepare for the workplace.
Cook and Grow – Fairfield County
Cook and Grow is a Bridgeport-based non-profit organization founded in 2009 with the purpose of providing education and positive hands-on learning experiences for an underserved community (Bridgeport, CT). The organization offers youth and adult classes that focus on cooking skills, urban farming, kitchen safety, food preparation, nutrition, and how to be informed consumers. Students learn about growing, preparing and cooking healthier meals. Our program is designed to address the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and the dramatic increase of childhood obesity. Students will grow the fresh vegetables and herbs that they will cook with and learn to read and understand food labels to make better choices.
Gang of Dads mentoring program – New Haven County
Boys become men who never outgrow the need for fatherly influence. It requires the ongoing mental/emotional/spiritual influence of positive men from their past as well as men who currently speak into their lives. In Gang of Dads, we endeavor to foster such relationships. We offer the essentials of fatherhood through the art of brotherhood. We show up for one another. We range in age from boys (age 12 and up) to men of retirement age. We support the caregivers (single moms, grandparents, etc.) who want their boys to have more positive male influence in their lives by providing opportunities for such. We augment, not compete with or seek to replace, but support the efforts of Dads who may or may not be fully available for their sons. Dads are welcome to join us with their sons at our events if agreed upon by their primary caregiver. We will learn together, grow together, hang out together, indulge in friendly competition, and have fun and serve the local community together, Together, we become the kind of men who make communities strong. Our mentors are unabashedly Christian, but we welcome the participation of all who can accept us for who we are. While our faith motivates and directs us, we leave the direct theological instruction to your own faith institutions and programs. Ours is a ministry of demonstration rather than proclamation. Our goal is to support young men of color (primarily, not exclusively) in the Greater New Haven area by bolstering fatherhood efficacy for boys with and without the presence of a full-time dad. We seek to fill any fatherhood gaps that our young men may experience and to enhance the efforts of fathers who want to maximize their relationships with their sons.
Higher Heights Youth Empowerment Programs, Inc. – New Haven County
An astonishing number of high school students who walk across the stage at graduation with plans to go to college never get there. Too many students overlook the letters and emails colleges send over the summer, asking students to complete financial aid forms, turn in important health documents, sign up for orientation and more. For college-intending students, successfully navigating the post-high school summer requires a level of financial and college literacy that may be unrelated to their ability to succeed in the classroom. As a result, students who have already surmounted many obstacles to college enrollment and who would potentially earn high returns to postsecondary education may fail to matriculate. Research shows that 61% of Hispanics, 41% of Black and 42% of Native American students are affected by this phenomenon called summer melt. Summer melt tends to hit low-income students hardest, as well as students who are the first in their family to go to college. Higher Heights Youth Empowerment Programs, Inc. (HHYEP) is expanding its services across New Haven County with the launch of EQUIP- a text messaging service to encourage and guide college freshmen-to-be through a maze of paperwork: filling out financial aid forms, signing up for housing, completing loan counseling and scholarships. With a goal of reaching 1,000 students we intend to prevent summer melt which happens at a higher rate for Black and Hispanic students due to their lack of information on what to do after they have received their college acceptances.
Minority Inclusion Project – New London County
In the 2009 report, Perceptions from the Pipeline, the Denver Foundation found that African Americans remain disengaged from nonprofits due to perceptions of inequity and racism in the board room. The 2017 Leading with Intent report by Board Source revealed that 90% of nonprofit board chairs and 89% of nonprofit executive directors are White. The same report highlighted that more than 60% of nonprofit leaders are dissatisfied with the lack of board diversity. And a 2018 report, Race-to-Lead, by Building Movement Project found that most people of color report systemic inequity and specially racism as a leading factor in their lack of mobility or progression into leadership in the sector. The Board Diversity Initiative (BDI) is a program that was launched in January 2018 to advance racial diversity on nonprofit boards in four critical ways: (1) Using educational seminars to help a small cohort of nonprofit organizations develop and implement a comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) plan for the board of directors; (2) Provide board leadership training for professionals of color from across Connecticut; (3) Assist nonprofits (that have a DEI action plan) with being matched to board-ready, trained professionals of color; (4) Provides ongoing support to nonprofits and professionals of color with networking / social-capital building. The DEI action plans are focused on board leadership; board culture; board recruitment & retention; board communication; and board policies. The outcome from the first year of the program is that each organization worked within a self-identified equity team to write the plan. The anticipated impact is that over time, the organizations will implement the DEI action plan with leadership from their equity team. In addition, we anticipate that trained board-ready professionals of color will be matched to organizations that have DEI action plans. And finally, MIP wants to build the capacity of white-led nonprofits and communities of color to network and build substantive relationships.
Ownership - Hartford
OWNERSHIP is a scripted short film and informational session. The goal is to educate men and women about the effects of employment as it relates to the criminal justice system in the African American communities. This project’s mission is to better inform individuals about ways to recognizing the effects of criminal justice on individual’s employment and their ability to provide for themselves and their families. We are seeking to build awareness in African American communities where underemployment is most prevalent such as underserved communities. Our goal is to provide a project that not only engages people through media but is followed up with on-going discussions that can help support communities and individuals about the impact and resources surrounding employment and criminal justice. Funding would support the financial obligations for production and information sessions that will be conducted. Casting and filming crew are already in place for this project. Upon award notification the production team will begin pre-production and filming. During pre-production, the film is broken down into individual scenes and all the locations, props, cast members and visual effects are identified. A detailed schedule is produced, and arrangements are made to insure successful completion of the film project.
Phenomenal I Am, Inc. – New Haven County
Phenomenal I Am, Still I Rise summer program is designed to guide girls through a self-discovery journey that inspires self-confidence, self-love and passion to be phenomenal while exploring beauty, education, self-esteem, career and health. Phenomenal I Am, Still I Rise summer program reinforces the message that our youth are phenomenal in their own right. Despite obstacles faced, they can still rise!
Throughout the 5-week program, breakfast and lunch will be provided. Youth will fundraise for their end of the program field trip. A closing ceremony welcomed for family and friends will take place towards the end of the program to highlight the youth experience. Women from the community will assist with facilitating workshops to focus on common themes and professional goals of interest to the participants. Community service will be offered weekly as well as community exploration activities.
Project Overcome, Inc. – Fairfield County
Project Overcome’s original mission is to partner with local churches and community providers to support individuals and families who are, or at-risk of, experiencing homelessness in Fairfield County. In 2017, the nonprofit expanded services to provide academic assistance and life skills to inner-city youth, called the Homework Program. Grant money awarded to Project Overcome will go towards supporting the Homework Program’s annual amusement park field trip. During that trip, students visit a local amusement park to enjoy time with friends and make new ones. It is anticipated the field trip will provide participants the opportunity to socialize and build relationships through an outing, without them being limited by their family's financial situations. The Homework Program's mission aligns well with those of the Prosperity Foundation. The Prosperity Foundation is focused on improving the education, health, and economic development of Black communities around Fairfield, New Haven, and Hartford counties. Project Overcome’s new Homework Program aligns directly with TPF’s goals around health and economic vitality. The program provides youth valuable life skills and support to help them achieve success in school, which will afford them better job opportunities in the future. Specifically, the annual field trip gives youth the opportunity to socialize, build lasting friendships through adventure, and gives them the chance to enjoy an experience their families may not be able to afford. The grant money awarded will go towards admission tickets, and transportation to-and-from the amusement park.
Saturday Academy Inc. – Fairfield County
Thanks to The Prosperity Foundation Small Grants Initiative award received by Saturday Academy, Inc. in 2018, we were able to fulfill our goal of further expansion of our programs into underserved communities in Fairfield County. With the September 2018 launch in Bridgeport of Amazing Girls Science Conference (AGS), and the second program scheduled for April 2019, we are on track to meet our first-year programming goal to provide project-based STEM experiences to Bridgeport’s middle school girls. Now in its seventh year, our AGS program has worked to address the gender and economic opportunity gaps in STEM fields by providing out-of- school enrichment programs to help girls to explore, create and to innovate. Our target population remains middle school girls from Fairfield County’s underserved communities, primarily of Black (African-American and African Diaspora) and Latina heritage. Through hands-on STEM experiences, girls attending our programs gain the skills and confidence to pursue competency in science, math, technology and/or engineering, ultimately required to tackle 21st century careers. The renewal of the TPF Small Grant Initiative award in 2019 will enable us to offer Amazing Girls Science Conference programs for up to 100 Bridgeport middle school girls (per program) for a second academic year.
The Cultured Pearl Foundation, Inc. – Fairfield County
In 2004, it was the vision of Picture That Art Consultants’ founder Valerie Cooper to present an art exhibition for students in the Stamford area. The event is held each February, to celebrate Black History Month. Historically, the event was held in partnership with GE Asset Management, The Fairfield County Chapter of The Links Incorporated, The Cultured Pearl Foundation and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Omicron Upsilon Omega Chapter. This annual event was held at Stamford’s Palace Theatre, Sackler Gallery until 2016 when it moved to UCONN Stamford. Stamford, Connecticut schools are encouraged to submit their grade K – 12 art students’ work. The artwork follows a pre-established theme for the purpose of honoring the historical and contemporary individuals, movements, and ideas that support and represent the African diaspora as a whole. Over the years, this event has expanded to more than 200 talented young artists displaying their work.
The Kiyama Movement – New Haven County
The Kiyama Movement (KM) was founded on May 19, 2005. The KM became a 501c3 organization in June 2018. The KM basic purpose is to encourage self-improvement of young African American males. The KM is governed by 5 Principles: Respect for Life; Sexual Responsibility; Commitment to Motherhood; Respect for Fatherhood; and Economic Accountability. The Kiyama Mentoring Project is geared to assisting young African American males between the ages of 11-21 in developing sustainable peer based social circles and advisor/adult based “cabinets”. Individuals will be encouraged to create social circles made up of peers who are deemed good decision makers. Individuals are also encouraged not to limit their social circle to male peers. By expanding peer circles to females it is our hope that young males will develop a perspective regarding their female peers that lead to healthy, positive, respectful and positive relationships with females in their lives. Advisor based cabinets consist of individuals who provides a unique service/function in a young males life in addition to serving as a mentor. Advisors may be lawyers; coaches; doctors; accountants; teachers; carpenters; plumbers; mechanic; barbers, adult relatives; etc. By creating a “cabinet” individuals have the opportunity to seek specific services and advice from trusted individuals who are vested in the individual’s long term development.
The Polished Pearls Foundation – Fairfield County
The funds from this grant will be used to aid in our implementation of our program areas of Educational Enrichment through #CAP (College Admissions Process) and Building Economic Legacies” and Refugee in America Assistance Program. #CAP:CAP is a step-by-step approach to facilitate college admission from researching various institutions and submitting applications though completion of the enrollment process. Building Economic Legacies and Refugee in America Assistance Program: We understand that by building individual wealth, the economy of the community is also strengthened. Through this initiative the organization will 1. emphasize financial planning and asset accumulation, by providing training to community residents on ways to perform personal financial assessments to achieve their financial goals and 2. wealth building including entrepreneurship exploration, to encourage the spawning of new entrepreneurial ventures in the Bridgeport community by teaching residents how to capitalize on their talents and the resources available within the community to support their endeavors), savings and investments, debt management and credit improvement (including how to check for inaccurate or outdated information on credit reports, and, and how to protect against both identity theft and unauthorized credit history use).
The Waterbury CT Chapter of The Links, Incorporated – New Haven County
The purpose of our proposed program is to equip minority youth in greater Waterbury with the skills they need to be successful in college and careers. The Waterbury Links program, Linking to the Future provides college preparedness, SAT/ACT prep, funding for HBCU tours, career exploration and paid summer internships. Our proposal is to expand the program to form and implement a NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) Chapter in Waterbury and to support students in attending the 2019 NSBE Conference. The goal in expanding the program to create a NSBE Chapter is to increase the interest and pipeline into the STEM occupations, in particular engineering. Economic growth requires technological innovation. Technological innovation requires the advancement of engineering. And today, more than ever, advancement of the engineering profession depends on widening the pool of engineering talent from Black communities around the world. In the United States, where African Americans and other people of color will soon outnumber other groups in the workforce, it is critical to expand the pipeline to engineering careers. The impact of this project will be to increase the number of youth interested in engineering and STEM occupations, nurture Black students’ aptitude in engineering and expand their network and access to professionals through attendance at the NSBE conference.
The West Haven Black Coalition Inc. – New Haven County
The Young Divas on the Move is targeted to high school young women to help them gain poise and confidence, develop interviewing skills, receive life coaching, and prepare for college by developing critical thinking skills. Although we target African-American youth for these programs, the programs are open to youth of all colors and backgrounds. Participants are expected to learn better communication skills and to learn how to dress and prepare for interviews. Our youth also meet with local senior citizens, sponsor teas, and also in the past sponsored a mother-daughter tea. They are expected to read, interpret and understand the newspaper and to prepare oral and written reports which are delivered to their peers and also to high school administrators.
Urban League of Southern Connecticut, Inc. – New Haven County
Financial literacy affects all ages and all socioeconomic levels. Lack of financial education causes many people to become victims of predatory lending, subprime mortgages, fraud and high interest rates, potentially resulting in bad credit, bankruptcy or foreclosure. Connecticut’s high median net worth masks the fact that a large number of Connecticut households are asset poor. A household is considered asset poor when it does not have sufficient net worth to subsist at the federal poverty level without earning income for three months. The Urban League of Southern Connecticut's Financial Education program focuses on empowering clients to know their rights as consumers and have the skills, attitudes, aspirations and confidence to navigate complicated systems and make informed decisions on the management of money and the use of financial services. Financial education helps individuals become self-sufficient so that they can achieve financial stability.
URISE Ventures, Inc. – Hartford County
URISE Ventures positions urban youth for success as innovative leaders, employees and entrepreneurs. To accomplish this, we offer underserved high school students a unique opportunity to create and operate a viable and bankable technology-focused product or business venture. Originally founded in 2003 as the Urban Reach Institute for Student Enterprises, “URISE” offers underserved high school students a unique opportunity to learn entrepreneurship by creating and operating a viable team business. Our hands-on, learn-by-doing approach has helped youth and young adults understand what it means to really "MYOB: Mine Your Own Business.”
Witness Project of Connecticut, Inc. – Fairfield County
Our goal is to reduce the number of African American women who die from late stage breast cancer by providing culturally competent breast cancer education to women in Fairfield County. African American women continue to suffer the highest disparity in late stage death from breast cancer. While insurance only covers early detection screenings, mammograms, at age 40, younger women are being diagnosed with aggressive forms of breast cancer and need to be aware of what their role should be in an early diagnosis. The purpose of our social media campaign is to reach women who seek information or discuss breast cancer concerns through social media. This will be the second year that we have provided updates and information about breast cancer and black women. The social media campaign was launched on FB under the Witness Project and the Girlfriend Brigade and provided articles on metastatic breast cancer, new treatments, how to get into a clinical trial, how to talk to you doctor and how to ask questions about their breast health. The project will be expanded to include video of women "witnessing" about their journey with breast cancer and bits about their experience when they were asked to return for a follow up after a screening. Often women are recalled to take another view of their breasts and find its fine. The time between being notified and actually returning can be stressful, but it's important they return.
Young-Educated-Determined to Succeed Inc. – Hartford County
The purpose of Young Educated Determined to Succeed, Inc. (Y.E.D.S.) Entrepreneurship program is to provide youth ages 12-18 who are interested in starting a business and reside in the Greater Hartford area with an introduction to the concept of business plan writing, marketing, finance, and money management. The Entrepreneurship program goal is to offer valuable skills that can be applied to various life pursuits. Participants take part of life skills training that will help strengthen personal competencies such as communication, self-confidence, decision making, negotiation, goal setting, and effective work habits all while gaining the necessary skills for operating a successful business. Y.E.D.S. Young Entrepreneurship program expected impact is to increase the hours that youth are in a safe environment outside of school and participating in career development activities. This helps to reduce risky behaviors and increase employability and work readiness skills. Y.E.D.S. Young Entrepreneurship will facilitate learning workshops for 12-week segments were youth will design their very own business plans and business cards that will communicate their business visions. The 12 weeks will consist of leadership Skills, Business Management Skills, Networking Experience, Financial Management, Critical Thinking and other items that will assist youth in starting their own business.
Young Life Sports – New Haven County
Young Life Sports (TEAM YL) is a comprehensive sports mentoring program that endeavors to engage, encourage and support positive youth development by equipping our Young Life STARS with the skills and experiences necessary to compete in the global society. The mission of Young Life Sports is to provide leadership development opportunities for middle and high school students in the Greater New Haven area that will help them achieve success via sports, academics, mentoring and community involvement. The Young Life STARS will participate in social development activities from the Lead through Sports (LTS) Curriculum which is intended to develop and enhance their awareness, self-esteem and decision-making ability. We will use any awarded funds to bring our Young Life STARS on an overnight educational trip to Washington, DC to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Howard University, a Historically Black College and University. The purpose of this trip will be to raise the awareness of our STARS as to the significance of African American history and our contribution to America and the world over. I believe that this trip will strengthen the black community by raising the awareness of black people's contribution to the United States. The LTS curriculum will also include an entrepreneurial component which will teach our STARS the basic concepts of operating a business. Entrepreneurial opportunities include operating the YLS concession stand, marketing of YLS programs and activities, developing and maintaining a social media platform and creating and selling YLS merchandise. We will also train our young men and women to be sports officials, scorekeepers, timers & clock operators which could lead to future financial opportunities. Additional support includes weekly academic support and tutorial sessions.