Important detail provided for you about our fluid COVID-19 response:

The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, a deep impact in Hartford, particularly for the most vulnerable. The disproportionate effects -- on families in densely-populated neighborhoods and on individuals whose occupations do not afford them the possibility of working remotely -- compel us to act with all deliberate speed.


We see and we applaud your leadership in this critical time, responding to acute needs with unparalleled dedication, ingenuity, and grace. We recognize that you and your staff have been adversely affected as well. We want you to know we are here alongside you. Our attention is honed on you.


In order to make as many dollars as possible immediately available, we have collaborated with the:


I.    Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; and,

II.   United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.


We have delivered funds into pools they are making available for you to access rapidly.


I.     For agencies meeting basic human needs and requiring additional resources to meet increased demands in the next 90 days, the COVID-19 Response Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving can be accessed through a streamlined application process. Page down in the link here to choose between options:

II.     For individuals and households needing instant dollars on hand, please know that the Connecticut United Ways COVID-19 Response Fund is deploying cash assistance in the form of mobile gift cards. In coordination with city and town social service directors, the United Way is reaching qualifying recipients, who are suffering: (a) loss of job/wages; (b) loss of childcare resulting in loss of wages; or are (c) homebound due to Coronavirus or caring for someone with Coronavirus.


The unprecedented circumstances and urgency of needs informed our allied decisions to depart from our posted annual grant-making cycles.


We want to tell you about the departure so you can better understand what will follow here. 


1.   All pending grant applications of our partnering agencies and of new applicants received before February 29, 2020, will be reviewed in established manners. Decisions will not be made by our usual May 31, 2020, date. Please check our website periodically where information will be posted about what to expect from us in the weeks ahead.


2.   Applications which would normally be submitted by May 31, 2020, for consideration ahead of August 30, 2020, cannot be submitted until further notice. The application forms in the grant management online portal have been temporarily disabled, in order that we together can make adjustments.


3.   At present, we anticipate positioning ourselves to receive and review new grant applications with our September 30, 2020, deadline. When the online application form is available again through our website, you will notice refinements in the inquiries designed both to expedite your applications and to facilitate your telling us about your unique or urgent needs. We will be using the information we gather from you, in conversation and other correspondence over the next few weeks, as our guide in order to craft questions that are relevant and responsive.  

4.   We are waiving all reporting requirements on your 2019 grants. Where reports have already been submitted, they will be reviewed by staff and the Board of Directors. Our intention in waiving reporting requirements is to afford you room to give undivided energy to your responses to the effect of COVID-19.

5.   All grants in 2020 will be made as General Operating Support grants to afford you the greatest flexibility to adjust to the changing landscape.


Please do return to this page for updated information in the weeks ahead. We promise to be in touch, and we welcome you to continue to be in touch with us.


In closing, seminal conversations we have shared with you in the last weeks, in tandem with evolving national dialogue in philanthropy, point us to trust-based leadership. The phrase encompasses our trust in you as the experts seeing the needs on the ground, as well as our trust in partnerships with our colleagues at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the United Way. While the pandemic can trouble or erode organizations’ and individuals’ trust in the systems that hold us all, we submit that trust and partnership has never been more critical in Hartford.


We hope you will join us in building relationships of trust by breaking down the barriers that separate, speaking to us with transparency, and enabling conversations you may not have entered before. We will together be stronger for it.


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© J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Inc., 2020