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20th Anniversary Grant Semi-Finalists

20 Semifinalists! So Many Great Causes.

Wow! We received 82 videos vying for a $20,000 Liberty Bank Foundation grant in one of the three categories. Thanks to all nonprofits that took the time to tell us their stories! After much deliberation, we’re delighted to present the semifinalists we've selected.

Education for Economic Success  Affordable and Supportive Housing  Basic Needs  See Our Runners Up

Are you a visitor? You can scroll down in each category to meet our semifinalists and check out the great work they're doing in our communities! Watch their videos. Visit their websites. Consider a donation. Most important, spread the word to your family and friends by forwarding a link to this page. Why? Between September 5 and 15, we’ll be asking the public (that means you!) to return to this page and VOTE for one $20,000 winner in each category.

Are you a semifinalist? Congratulations! You’re in the running for the final round – and now’s your chance to make sure that if you are selected as a finalist, your supporters are ready to get out the vote beginning on September 5. So share this page link with all your contacts and ask them to pass it on. It’s a great opportunity to introduce your agency to a much wider audience, and to communicate about how you're changing lives. Good luck!

Education for Economic Success

Ädelbrook, Inc.

Area of Focus: Education for Economic Success
Proposal summary: Ädelbrook's priority is to increase future economic success for young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Disabilities through state-of-the-art STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education. Our project wish is to strengthen our STEAM curriculum by creating Innovation Labs in our Cromwell and Middletown schools. Our vision is that the labs will ignite and excite a passion for education in our young people, and provide future-focused vocational and job training. Using the lab’s graphics and 3D capabilities, student teams will create tangible items to be used or sold in The Barkery, our educational job training store; a win-win situation. Our 'secret sauce' is that we hire only the most motivated, qualified, positive and creative educators to work with our young people.
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Consolidated School District of New Britain

Area of Focus: Education for Economic Success
Proposal summary: XTREME is an exciting new summer learning opportunity for students in Grade 6–8 in the Consolidated School District of New Britain (CSDNB) for Summer 2017. XTREME will offer students the opportunity to engage in high-interest summer programming. Teachers and community partners will continue to work in close partnership to provide students with an integrated learning environment where they can make connections between activities and the real-world as well as strengthen their connection to the school and local communities by developing and implementing a community-service project. The focus of XTREME will be on strengthening STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills through hands-on engaging activities that allow students to see practical applications of abstract concepts.
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LEAP

Area of Focus: Education for Economic Success
Proposal summary: LEAP’s goal is to get books into the hands and homes of the kids that most need them in order to close the achievement gap. LEAP wants to give home libraries to 500 children from New Haven’s lowest income neighborhoods as an extension of our free summer literacy program. LEAP counselors will also work with their parents to share literacy techniques they can use to help their children when they read at home. The 20th Anniversary Liberty Foundation Grant will enable LEAP to maximize our impact on the children and families we serve, making us stronger and more sustainable. Ultimately, this grant will enable LEAP to provide education for economic success to more low-income children so they can achieve their dreams and fulfill their potential.
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Literacy Volunteers of Central CT

Area of Focus: Education for Economic Success
Proposal summary: Literacy Volunteers of Central CT has a Computer Learning Lab used for language practice, research and digital literacy, all of which help prepare our students for success on the job and in life. We have space for six computers, but three are limping along, tired from use and age, and three have died. A combination of ten new computers—desktops and laptops—would give us the infrastructure needed to teach computer literacy, resume writing, etc., and it would allow us to upgrade four staff computers to better support our tutors and students. $20,000 would cover the cost of computers, software, technical support and the hiring of digital instructors to train tutors and students.
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New Haven Reads

Area of Focus: Education for Economic Success
Proposal summary: At New Haven Reads, we are educating children for economic success. The ability to read transforms lives and breaks the cycle of poverty. We are applying for this special grant to expand and improve our external communications. These communications are the key to how New Haven Reads is viewed outside our organization and, crucially, lead to the recruitment of a vital resource – our volunteers. Improving our communications with a new website, professionally produced videos, and specific marketing materials for outreach will increase engagement with our mission. This grant award will lead to more volunteers and supporters – and consequently, more students off the waiting list and in the program learning to read. This is how we will create a community that reads! Thank you!
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New Haven Works, Inc.

Area of Focus: Education for Economic Success
Proposal summary: New Haven Works is a partnership between government, community, labor and the private sector to strengthen the middle class in New Haven and improve economic stability in all communities by providing employers access to a qualified, pre-screened workforce and connecting New Haven residents to good jobs. This Spring, New Haven Works placed its 1,000th member into a job. With support from the Liberty Bank Foundation, we can address the high demand for our services by moving our intake process online, saving time for participants and ultimately serving more residents. We can also update our computer hardware and software to meet our participants’ needs. With the Liberty Bank Foundation’s help, we can set our sights on helping the next 1,000 New Haven residents obtain good jobs with local employers.
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Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters

Area of Focus: Education for Economic Success
Proposal summary: This coming year, Nutmeg BBBS will launch mentor2.0 — and connect hundreds of students in need with committed, college-educated mentors who will help them to pursue college, and become the first in their families to earn college diplomas. Mentoring pairs will build trusting relationships through frequent communications (using a secure e-platform) and monthly, face-to-face meetings. We plan to collaborate with a high school whose students have high rates of chronic absenteeism and below-average graduation rates. Participating students will graduate high school, attend and graduate college at rates exceeding national averages. Given that a college diploma is critical to success in the 21st century, this increase in college graduation will spark a winning cycle — for the students we engage, their community, and our state as a whole.
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Our Piece of the Pie, Inc.

Area of Focus: Education for Economic Success
Proposal summary: Our Piece of the Pie, Inc. looks to upgrade and replace the outdated dysfunctional technology (computers, printers, internet access) in our Norwich Youth Center serving at-risk youth in Eastern CT. Low-income teens and youth of color are less likely to own computers and have access to the internet. Lack of access to technology disadvantages these youth reducing their readiness to engage in the primary means of information access and transfer in our technology based society and economy. Goals for our youth are straightforward — high school diploma, a postsecondary credential and meaningful employment — or simply becoming economically independent adults. Our relationship centered approach integrates services from youth development, academics and workforce development providing youth with an individualized plan to reach their goals.
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Windham Regional Community Council, Inc.

Area of Focus: Education for Economic Success
Proposal summary: The Windham “Community Academy” builds the capacity of the Windham Youth CORE, GROW Windham’s award-winning high-school workforce and leadership development program, to reach more youth and have a deeper impact on participants. This proposal will transform the program from one that serves youth to one that is youth-led, providing participants steady employment and opportunities to grow into positions of increased responsibility and independence. Supported by professional mentors, program staff, and university interns, youth participants develop enterprises that promote access to healthy food in Windham, one of Connecticut’s most under-resourced communities. Through this process, they build career portfolios, gain community advocacy skills, and earn leadership certificates that prepare them to build and teach a network of their peers.
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Affordable and Supportive Housing

Capital for Change

Area of Focus: Affordable and Supportive Housing
Proposal summary: Capital for Change is a nonprofit CDFI that provides flexible financing and offers technical assistance to borrowers to promote affordable housing, energy efficiency, the success of non-profit organizations and small businesses. This project will advance our Socially Responsible Investor program through which C4C invites investments from individuals, foundations, faith-based groups and nonprofit organizations aligned with its values. This grant will help leverage the resources necessary to launch a state-wide multi-media outreach campaign that will consist of the engagement of a professional advertising firm to create a formal program marketing plan, development of new print and online materials, and to help us promote a seminar series with speakers who are experts in community development.

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Columbus House, Inc.

Area of Focus: Affordable and Supportive Housing
Proposal summary: For 35 years, Columbus House has served people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless by providing shelter and housing, and by fostering their personal growth and independence. Over the next five years, in partnership with Yale School of Architecture, five modularly-constructed duplexes will be designed and built (one per year at $200,000 each) which Columbus House will own in order to house and reintegrate into their New Haven community those experiencing homelessness. By utilizing principles of affordability, sustainability and replicability, this partnership can forever change how academia, industry and homeless services agencies address the severe lack of affordable housing in Connecticut. A Liberty Bank Foundation anniversary grant will help lay the foundation for this first home and help leverage additional funding.
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HOPE Partnership

Area of Focus: Affordable and Supportive Housing
Proposal summary: HOPE Partnership has successfully developed affordable housing options in Old Saybrook. We are now excited to have the opportunity to create additional affordable housing along the shoreline. HOPE has begun the preliminary process to begin development on a parcel of land in our community. This grant would enable HOPE to engage architects, host community forums for area residents and conduct a tour of multiple affordable communities in our region. The need for affordable housing along the shoreline is great and we look to provide safe, affordable housing for those in our region.
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Middlesex Habitat for Humanity

Area of Focus: Affordable and Supportive Housing
Proposal summary: An increase in staff will provide an environment of consistency and we have shown when we can surround ourselves with people who share a passion around a common purpose, we can accomplish great things. We aren’t in a position to take this leap on our own—that’s why this grant is such an opportunity for us—it allows us to take the next step. We will continually monitor and measure the impact of the new position and if the result is impactful we will continue with the position. Increasing our capacity in the ReStore will continue to prove that you don’t have to lift a hammer to help us build a house.
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Rebuilding Together New Britain

Area of Focus: Affordable and Supportive Housing
Proposal summary: RTNB is a volunteer-based nonprofit which provides no-cost home repairs to low-income homeowners, particularly the elderly, disabled, or families. With $20,000 from Liberty Bank Foundation, RTNB aims to invest in technology infrastructure, including: a color printer, two computers, mobile workstation, and tech support. The RTNB office can’t produce quality color communications, so client outreach materials (i.e., posters, brochures, doorhangers) are printed offsite. Additionally, two of the office’s desktop computers are over seven years old, and computing speed has deteriorated. With 1.5 staff and many clients, partners, and volunteers with whom to coordinate, these issues are impacting RTNB’s potential. We respectfully request this $20,000 grant to boost our capacity and maximize impact on our clients, volunteers, and our community.
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Basic Needs

Community Soup Kitchen

Area of Focus: Basic Needs (such as shelter and food)
Proposal summary: We would use the $20,000 grant to offset approximately 2/3 of the cost of purchasing a new utility van for the Soup Kitchen. We would purchase this new van from a local dealership. We use our van to pickup in-kind donations from local businesses, transport goods to and from our storage unit, and to share resources with organizations we collaborate with. Our current van is 10 years old and has undergone the wear and tear of extensive daily use. A new, more fuel efficient van would help our organization become more sustainable and save money on purchasing fuel while still maintaining the same variety and quality of meals and strong relationship with our community that our van has helped facilitate.
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Connecticut Veterans Legal Center

Area of Focus: Basic Needs (such as shelter and food)
Proposal summary: CVLC needs a database. CVLC's Director of Operations, Cindy Johnson, built our current database herself using free online software. CVLC has served almost 2,000 veterans since Cindy built this system and while it has served us well for many years, it is about to reach maximum capacity. New software is necessary to continue to meet the legal needs of CT's veterans. New legal casework software will: (1) Bring CVLC’s capabilities on par with peer legal service provider organizations, (2) Increase CVLC’s ability to track and analyze legal work and case outcomes, (3) Allow for enhanced integration between CVCL’s document management, client communications, time tracking, and legal data, and (4) Increase CVLC’s efficiency through use of templates for client communication letters and legal-issue-specific information tracking.
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Thames River Community Service, Inc.

Area of Focus: Basic Needs (such as shelter and food)
Proposal summary: Imagine being between 18 and 24, having grown up in the foster care system, having no high school diploma, having little or no work experience, becoming homeless and trying to parent children of your own. Without individualized support services to help parenting youth retain permanent housing, they often have an increased risk of returning to homelessness. In its transitional housing program, Thames River Community Service provides trainings for parenting youth in tenancy, financial literacy, family health, living skills, employment readiness and parenting. One way to provide employable skills is to have an appropriate kitchen space in which to teach them safe handling and preparation of food. To accomplish this, we need to expand our 25 year old kitchen and replace broken and inadequate appliances.
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Valley United Way

Area of Focus: Basic Needs (such as shelter and food)
Proposal summary: Join VUW in partnership to empower the food insecure families/individuals of Ansonia and Derby CT. We developed and mastermind impactful programs that address the rising need for food security including Harvest House, Food Security Task Force, and the Grow Your Own (GYO) Neighborhood Garden Program. We seek to capitalize on the momentum of the GYO Program by adding more raised gardens, installing fencing, building tool sheds, and adding more educational/service opportunities. Recent data indicates that: 50-67% of students receive free and reduced lunch, 786 Households have no vehicle to get to the food pantries, and 42% of households receive SNAP benefits. We are winning the fight to eliminate food insecurity in these neighborhoods, we anxiously await partnering with Liberty Bank.
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Windham Area Interfaith Ministry

Area of Focus: Basic Needs (such as shelter and food)
Proposal summary: WAIM's proposal is for funds to support the purchase of a new truck for our donation pick-up and delivery service. During the 2015/16 fiscal year, WAIM's truck picked up furniture and other large items from 956 households that were then redistributed to under-resourced people in our community. During the same period, nearly 2,500 households received material goods including clothing, beds, linens, furniture, appliances and other donated items, many of which were picked up by WAIM from the homes of local donors. Our truck will not make it past the summer, and without a new one, our ability to provide material goods to our community members will be greatly diminished. Hopefully, the video says it all. We truly hope you can help.
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Windham Region No Freeze Project

Area of Focus: Basic Needs (such as shelter and food)
Proposal summary: The Northeast Youth Engagement Team would like to create a street outreach team to engage and provide information for young people in our region. Our target population is youth between the ages of 18-24 who are experiencing housing instability or homelessness. This is our first step in addressing the state's goal to end youth and family homelessness by the end of the year 2020. The street team will set up regularly in places where youth frequent. They will provide food items, snacks, toiletries, phone cards, bus passes, gift cards, and other necessary items in an effort to help youth connect or reconnect with families or services who can help them gain access to stable housing.
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Runners Up

Picking just 20 semifinalists out of 82 videos was a tough job! We wanted to give you a chance to see all of the great projects our partners sent to us—so be sure to visit the runners up below. And if you like what you see, you can click the button to donate now!

Education for Economic Success


Amity Teen Center
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Boys & Girls Club of Bristol Family Center
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Capitol Region Education Council
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Children's Community School
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Christian Community Action, Inc.
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Community Action Agency of New Haven
→ Watch Their Video
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EASTCONN
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Eastern Connecticut State University
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Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board / Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance
→ Watch Their Video
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Gateway Community College Foundation, Inc.
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Higher Edge
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Jumpstart for Young Children, Inc.
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Middlesex Community College Foundation, Inc.
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Middletown Adult Education Even Start Program
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Middletown High School
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Music Haven
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Neighborhood Music School
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New England Science & Sailing Foundation
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North End Action Team (NEAT)
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Northern Middlesex YMCA
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Norwich Public Schools
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Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater
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Reach Out and Read, Inc.
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Ryan Woods Autism Foundation
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School of Education & Professional Studies at Central Connecticut State University
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Squash Haven
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The Riverfront Children's Center
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Three Rivers College Foundation
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United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut
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United Way of Meriden and Wallingford
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United Way of West Central Connecticut
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Valley Shore YMCA
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WECARE
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Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
→ Watch Their Video
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Affordable and Supportive Housing


Bethsaida Community, Inc.
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Habitat for Humanity of Eastern Connecticut
→ Watch Their Video
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Housing Development Fund
→ Watch Their Video
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Liberty Community Services
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Mystic Area Shelter & Hospitality, Inc. (MASH)
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Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury
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Partnership for Strong Communities
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St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Bristol, Inc.
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TEAM, Inc.
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The Village for Families & Children
→ Watch Their Video
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