Foundation grants awarded for those helping the Valley

The Valley Community Foundation announces it has awarded $754,325 in multi-year grants ($363,125 for this year) to nonprofits providing services to Valley residents. Grants were awarded through its responsive grant-making cycle, which is done in partnership with its affiliate The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

“One of the important roles a community foundation can play is providing resources to create solutions to significant issues in a community,” said Sharon Closius, president CEO of the Valley Community Foundation. “In that vein, we are pleased to support three brand new initiatives, while continuing to support essential nonprofits that provide core services to our Valley residents.”

Diaper bank

Among the new initiatives receiving funding is a program based on a national model started in New Haven. A grant for $45,000 was awarded to TEAM over the course of three years to help it establish a Valley Diaper Bank that will provide diapers as well as other referral services to help recipients become more self sufficient.

“Without the foundation’s support I don’t see how we could meet the need,” said Richard Knoll, president and CEO of TEAM. “Low-income families are struggling to make their next rent payment and they’re forced to cut corners. Since diapers are incredibly expensive sometimes that means using a diaper longer than you should, and it becomes a health issue for the child. We’ve already served more than 100 families and they are so relieved to get this extra help.”

Maternal health

Another new program is the Maternal Health Coalition created by the Naugatuck Valley Health District to address health services for women of childbearing age.

“We know women are waiting longer and longer to obtain prenatal care, and as a result they’re not getting the care they really need,” said Karen Spargo, director of health for the Naugatuck Valley Health District. “We want to understand what the barriers are and why this is happening. This funding will allow us to bring together a coalition, do an assessment and see where the gaps are. We look forward to bringing to the table those groups that previously provided prenatal clinics and other women’s health services such as Griffin Hospital, Cornell Scott Hill Health Center in Ansonia and Planned Parenthood.”

Both the Valley Diaper Bank and Maternal Health Coalition will work to improve families’ economic and physical health which, studies show, has an enormous impact on early childhood and a child’s later success in life.

Cleaning up brownfields

A third grant to the CT Brownfield Land Bank, Inc. will fund the first land bank in the state solely dedicated to remediating and redeveloping brownfields in the Valley.

“We are grateful for the generosity of the donors who made this grant possible. We expect to produce important and lasting social and economic returns and look forward to fulfilling the promise of cleaned up brownfield sites for the people in our region,” said Arthur Bogen, president of Connecticut Brownfield Land Bank, Inc.

Another way that the Valley Community Foundation is supporting core services to Valley nonprofits and residents is through the use of multi-year grants, which provides the ability to strategically plan their programs. This year, 10 nonprofits received multi-year grants.  “The role of philanthropy is even more important now, when our local nonprofits cannot rely on consistent funding from our state and federal government,” Closius said.

To learn more contact Sharon Closius at or 203-751-9162, or visit VCF’s website at