Part of HYPE’s mission is to help young professionals become better engaged in community life, expand professional and social opportunities, and become ambassadors for the Hartford Region. HYPE encourages cross-collaboration among agencies and organizations that offer opportunities to volunteer in the community. The Community Conversations series focuses on interviewing professionals in a local nonprofit to bring awareness to their mission, highlight their impact in the community, and provide information on how to get more involved with the organization. For the June edition, HYPEster and Community Involvement Committee Member Charmaine Mullings interviewed Wanda Correa, Senior Development Officer at Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
What is the mission of your organization?
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and twenty eight surrounding towns. The formal mission of the Foundation is “Putting philanthropy into action to create lasting solutions that result in vibrant communities.” Wanda Correa, the Senior Development Services Officer for Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, delved further into what this means for the Foundation, by describing the ways the Foundation brings people and organizations together, who want to make a difference in the community. There are three main ways in which the Foundation achieves this mission.
First, the incredible work of the Hartford Foundation could not be achieved without the generosity of individuals and organizations who donate and as Wanda proudly states, "we aren't us without you".
The Hartford Foundation also brings thought leaders, service providers and interested neighbors together, and in so doing, enables everyone to be better equipped to solve challenges faced by the region. The Foundation will at times lead the conversation, however, oftentimes the Foundation's role is to offer the opportunity to convene and learn from one another.
The Foundation also provides funding to area nonprofits working to create equitable opportunities and improve the quality of life for the 750,000 residents of Greater Hartford. Grants are not static and can vary not just in size but also duration and objective. This, however, does not change the fact they are all still in alignment with the Foundation's commitment to be a good steward of the gifts received. A list of the 2017 grants, along with information on applying for a grant, are both on Hartford Foundation’s website.
What is your role within the organization
As Senior Development Officer, Wanda works with individuals, families, and businesses to assist them in fulfilling their charitable goals. When, where, and how someone gives is a deeply personal decision, so her role is to help each person, family, or business create a giving plan that reflects their individuality.
Wanda has worked in the Greater Hartford community for several years, and this has had an indelible impact on the role she plays with the Foundation. Her years of service in the community has placed her in a unique position to not just know the needs of the community, but also watch them evolve over time. This translates into her being able to offer both meaningful and practical giving opportunities.
A large part of Wanda's role is to demystify the concept of who can be a philanthropist. She emphasizes that you don’t need to be able to write a check with several zeros, anyone can give at any time, and in any amount. It starts with a simple desire to make our community a better place.
How do you implement your services or programs?
As a community foundation, the Hartford Foundation does not deliver services the same way as other nonprofits. The generous funding provided by its donors allows the Foundation to support area nonprofits that work directly with community members. Hartford Foundation's role is to work with donors to build individual giving strategies.
Hartford Foundation also engages the community through convenings, briefings, and civic engagement activities. Additionally, through its Nonprofit Support Program, the Foundation is able to support area nonprofits.
Education is also one of the main areas supported by the Foundation and is done during early childhood, K-12 and career readiness, through Hartford Foundation’s career pathways initiative. Professional financial advisors are also educated in using charitable giving as part of an overall estate plan. The Foundation also engages in public policy and is a registered lobbyist at the state capitol.
In what ways has your organization been impactful to your cause?
Area nonprofit organizations were the recipients of $34.5 million in 2017 from the Foundation. $1.4 million in scholarships were recently awarded to 625 area students attending 4-year, 2-year community colleges and degree programs. An additional $1.8 million was awarded in basic human needs grants to help cover the costs of critical items including food, emergency housing, fuel assistance, and medical services.
Over the past twenty years, the three giving circles of the Foundation, The Latino Endowment Fund, Catalyst, and the Black Giving Circle, have recommended more than $1 million in grants. In May 2017, the Spark Funds was launched and awarded over $95,000 to three areas in the past year; children and families, resident engagement, and workforce development. The Respond Rebuild Renew Fund awarded more than $230,000 to assist regional victims of hurricane Irma and Maria.
Hartford Foundation also supports several area organizations throughout the year, including MetroHartford Alliance, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, and Center for Latino Progress (home to BiCi Co which helped bring bike share to Hartford).
How does someone get more involved?
Wanda believes anyone can be a philanthropist, all it takes is the desire to help. Her enthusiasm about the Foundation and all it has to offer to the community shines through as she invites everyone to attend one of the Listening Tour stops offered by the Foundation. Here you can share what you love about your town and what you might want to change. There will be upcoming events in Farmington, Windsor, West Hartford and Hartford.
The Foundation also has community briefings which you can attend. You can also consider giving to one of the Foundation Spark Funds, The Respond-Rebuild-Renew Fund or joining a Giving Circle. Additionally, you can follow the Hartford Foundation on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. You can also sign up for the monthly newsletter on the Foundations Publications page, email Wanda at or call at 860-548-1888.