Fairfield County’s Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This Connecticut community funder supports youth career pathways, women and girls, economic security, arts and culture, and nonprofit capacity. Letters of inquiry are accepted for the spring and fall grant cycles.

FUNDING AREAS: Community, arts and culture, strengthening nonprofits, women and girls, affordable housing, youth career pathways

IP TAKE: This is one of the largest grantmakers in Connecticut and a great one to know for groups that specifically serve women and girls. FCCF is home to the largest women’s fund in New England.

PROFILE: Based in Norwalk, Connecticut, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (FCCF) was established in 1992. At that time, the funder held 85 charitable funds totaling over $8.4 million in net assets; today it has at least 571 charitable funds totaling nearly $205 million in net assets. FCCF was formed when the Danbury, Greenwich, Stamford, and the Five Town foundations all merged with the Fairfield County Foundation, which was then part of the New York Community Trust. In 2008, the Greater Bridgeport Area Foundation merged with FCCF as well and the funder assumed its current name.

As the name suggests, this funder supports nonprofits in Fairfield County, Connecticut. In a recent grant cycle, the foundation awarded over $1.8 million in grants to 83 area nonprofits. Focus areas are economic security, career pathways for youth, women and girls, arts and culture, strengthening nonprofits, and affordable housing. FCCF awards program support grants from applicants, general operating support grants by invitation only, and capacity building support grants for groups they have previously funded. The Fund for Women and Girls, established in 1998, provides small grants for initiatives that address the needs of local females; it's the largest women’s fund in New England.

The Collaborative Fund for Affordable Housing, launched in 2006, has awarded more than $4.8 million to help develop around 1,000 affordable housing units. The funder launched its Family Economic Security Program in 2008.

On one of the funder’s recent annual giving days, it raised over $1.4 million to support 415 nonprofits. In addition to grants, the foundation offers professional development workshops for nonprofits. Current foundation financial data can be viewed here.

There are spring and fall grant cycles at FCCF, and only groups located in or that directly serve residents of Fairfield County are considered. The first step to apply for a grant is to create an online account and submit a letter of inquiry online. LOIs must be submitted between January 15 and February 15 for the spring cycle and between July 15 and August 15 for the fall cycle. From there, the funder will invite organizations to submit full applications.

Juanita T. James is the president and CEO of the community foundation. A good contact for grantseekers is Program Assistant Sharon Jones at (203) 750-3219. General questions can be directed to info@fccfoundation.org or (203) 750-3200. The address is 40 Richards Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut 06854. Keep up with recent foundation news on their blog.

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