Recent Headlines

Community Matters – Three-Year TGF Strategic Plan

As the backdrop of a changing landscape coupled with a growing endowment (reaching $6 million in 2022),, The Guilford Foundation (TGF) developed a three-year strategic plan that positions the Foundation to be innovative, proactive, and responsive in meeting community needs.

Executive Director Liza Petra explained, ” Staying aligned with the issues that matter to the community is essential for our cuss. The strategic planning process gave us critical external input and benchmarking insights to prioritize our focus on areas that will help us make an even bigger impact.”

The key strategic goals for TGF include the following:

1. Community Investment – To improve impact, advance equity, and/or encourage innovative solutions to community challenges and opportunities.
2. Community Leadership – To build upon TGF’s recognized role as a leader and convenor on major community issues and initiatives.
3. Outreach and Marketing – To broaden community awareness of TGF’s work and impact.
4. Financial Resource – To double annual philanthropic resources raised over the next five years.
5. Organizational Capacity – To increase TGF capacity to accomplish strategic plan priorities.

Looking forward, TGF will leverage it’s role as a trusted leader that is responsive to community needs, combining a traditional grantmaking with a proactive process that allows for innovation and ways to advance equity.

Take a look at the January issue of Guilford Events to learn more about TGF’s priorities and strategic direction.

Town Partners with The Guilford Foundation to Disperse ARPA Funds

The Board of Selectmen (BOS) has announced plans to partner with The Guilford Foundation (TGF) to disperse $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. According to officials, the town entered into a subrecipient agreement with TGF, empowering the Foundation to distribute the federal funding.

ARPA funds are the realization of 2020 legislation that is providing billions of dollars to communities across the country as part of pandemic relief efforts. The funding is intended to “address the negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency,” according to documents distributed to municipalities by the federal government.

TGF, a philanthropic organization with the goal of enabling donors to contribute to projects and community initiatives, is optimistic about its partnership with the town, according to the Foundation’s Executive Director, Liz Petra. Petra said the agreement will allow funding, some of it long-term, to be distributed to a number of local nonprofits to provide critical resources to Guilford residents.

“The Guilford Foundation is incredibly honored to partner with the town to distribute these funds,” Petra said. “It makes a lot of sense because one of our key goals is to support local nonprofits and build relationships with them. We really pride ourselves on those relationships, so this opportunity to receive this significant influx of funding is really exciting.”

First Selectman Matt Hoey said that the Foundation’s reputation made the partnership an easy decision for the Board.

To read the entire Zip06 article, click here.

The Guilford Foundation Welcomes Pam Miller as Communications Specialist

The Guilford Foundation (TGF) is pleased to announce that Pam Miller will serve as the organization’s Communications Specialist. This new role supports a three-year strategic focus to increase the Foundation’s impact through expanded community investment.

“Through the generosity of our donors, we achieved a new record last year by distributing more than $270,000 to 38 non-profit organizations. Our strategic planning told us that broader awareness of TGF’s work and results is critical to growing our endowment to make an even bigger community impact,” explained Liza Janssen Petra, Executive Director of The Guilford Foundation. “Given Pam’s community involvement, extensive marketing communications knowledge, and passion for Guilford, she is the perfect fit for this position. We’re excited she’s joined the team to help us spread the word about our mission and results.”

With 30+ years of corporate marketing communications experience, Miller brings to TGF a wealth of expertise in brand management, messaging, website development, social media, direct marketing, and event planning. She’s a 20-year Guilford resident who served in many volunteer roles, including Community Nursery School Board Member, Girl Scout Troop Leader, Calvin Leete PTO President, and Shoreline Sharks Hockey Director of Marketing.

Board Chair Linda Weber added, “It’s an exciting time for the Guilford Foundation as we work to expand community investment, strengthen our leadership role, and broaden our outreach to meet today’s challenges and emerging opportunities.”

Community Matters – Change in Board Leadership

The Guilford Foundation thanks Peter Barrett for his years of service and welcomes Linda Weber as the incoming Board Chair. A highlight of Peter’s tenure as Chair was the agility the Foundation demonstrated in establishing a Covid Relief Fund. Immediately after the onset of the pandemic, TGF was ready to meet the immediate and severe needs of local businesses. Linda looks to continue the momentum, ensuring The Guilford Foundtion adapts to the evolving needs of the community through on going engagement.

Take a look at the October issue of Guilford Events to learn more about TGF’s priorities and strategic direction.

The Guilford Foundation Awards $90K to Help Neighbors in Need

The Guilford Foundation is celebrating and supporting the work of local and regional non-profit organizations this year with more than $90,000 in grants. The awards will help Guilford residents and the community as a whole to thrive despite the many challenges of the last year.

For more than 45 years, The Guilford Foundation (TGF) has been supporting the local projects and efforts that make Guilford the beloved community it is. After a rigorous review process, 22 grants were partially or fully funded out of an applicant pool of 27, requesting over $200,000. A total of $84,150 was awarded and close to $10,000 was set aside for emergent funds throughout the year.

The competitive process of selecting grants is a months-long endeavor by The Guilford Foundation’s Community Investment Committee, chaired by Alexander Sulpasso. The committee begins by setting priorities for the year. Then each application is read by every member of the committee, with two members assigned to do a deeper dive into each proposal.

“When we started this grants process on the backside of Covid, we realized we wanted to be a little more strategic in our decision making, but also dynamic to respond to emergent needs of the community,” Sulpasso explains. The committee settled on priorities around basic needs (food, shelter and emergency assistance); community well-being (mental health and substance abuse); child and youth development; justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI); arts and culture; and economic recovery.

Sulpasso gets particularly excited talking about where those priorities intersect. The Guilford Center for Children, for example, received a $6,000 grant for tuition assistance. Sulpasso says the committee was moved by a letter of support in the application from parents who had received tuition assistance and, with their children well cared for, were able to keep their local business open throughout Covid.

The Guilford Center for Children’s Early Education program serves children ages three to five on a sliding scale fee structure that is set by the state. The full-day program offers a nurturing and consistent environment for children to explore language arts, science, music and fine arts, and movement. Director Lisa Jones says that even with the sliding scale, families can sometimes still struggle to make ends meet. “We don’t ever want to say you can’t come here because of money. We can make it work, thanks to The Guilford Foundation,” she says. Jones keeps a file of letters from grateful parents – single parents, working parents, alumni of the program now parents themselves – who love the caring, supportive, enriching environment of the Guilford Center for Children and who also may have experienced a difficult time in their lives and needed some help.

“We’re all doing the best we can,” she says, “and it’s on us as a community to do the best we can to help families. The Guilford Foundation is clearly the embodiment of that philosophy.”

Sulpasso, an executive at Guilford Savings Bank and a young father, feels that responsibility both to his community and to the donors who have contributed so generously to The Guilford Foundation. He loves when a grant can have a ripple effect. He points to the Women and Family Life Center, which TGF supports in several ways including a $12,000 grant, the largest of this year’s awards, for its Guided Assistance Program (GAP) that provides personal support and referrals for women and families facing challenges.

One of the smaller grants, $2,500 for Lifelinx, helps cover costs for an entirely volunteer organization that provides transportation for those seeking help for substance abuse. They provided hundreds of rides for Guilford residents to support meetings, doctor appointments and rehab facilities.

“We are always seeking to partner with organizations and  programs making ripples big and small in Guilford. Our true measure of success is the impact we have in our community and the lives we cantouch while filling our mission,” Sulpasso says.

Community Matters – 2022 Grant Process

A seven-member Community Investment Committee (CIC) of The Guilford Foundation was tasked with reviewing requests from a diverse pool of 2022 grant applicants requesting.  Guiding principles and the 2022 priorities of basic needs, community wellbeing, child and youth development, JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion), arts and culture, and economic recovery and development were set in December 2021, helping guide the 2022 spring grant decisions. TGF awarded $94,000 in grants to a variety of organizations focused on enriching the quality of life for the Guilford community.

Take a look at the July issue of Guilford Events for more insight to the grantmaking process.

2022 Impact Report

Our 2022 Impact Report spotlights the great work done over the past year, including our continued efforts to assist Guilford residents hardest hit by the COVID pandemic. TGF’s endowment increased by 15% despite the challenging times, enabling us to give over $270,000 to critical organizations within the community ranging from mental health services to arts programs to uniforms for participants in the Special Olympics. The generosity of our donors allows us to continue our work to enrich our remarkable and caring community. Take a look at our annual overview.

Community Matters – Youth Advisory Group

The Guilford Foundation’s 12 student Youth Advisory Group (YAG) was founded ten years ago through a collaboration between Tim Geelen (TGF Board Chair at the time) and Al Jacobs (GHS Interact Advisor) with the goal of encouraging youth philanthropy.  The concept was a resounding success, as this dedicated group of teenagers are responsible for over $120,000 in community contributions since its inception.

Throughout the year, YAG  raises funds and reviews grants for funding consideration, including grants from the Guilford Institute fund targeting GHS-specific projects that fall outside the school budget. Some of the many organizations YAG supports includes: back-to-school backpack and supply drive, Guilford Before & After Care programs, summer programs at the library and the Women & Family Life Center among others.

Take a look at the article from Guilford Events.

Community Matters – Afghan Refugee Resettlement Program

Gini King and Claudia Buzzi co-founded Shoreline Interfaith Resettlement (a part of First Church Guilford) as a direct response to the ongoing Afghan refugee crisis.  In collaboration with Integrated Refugee & immigrant Services (IRIS) in New haven, the team handled the logistics for a refugee families including healthcare, school enrollment and employment.  A $5,000 grant from The Guilford Foundation has been critical in helping offset the costs of this invaluable assistance.

Take a look at the article from the January issue of Guilford Events to learn more about the work of this dedicated group of volunteers.

Guilford Foundation Pays Out $140,000 to Those Affected by Pandemic

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