News Release

Grants will support community health workers in seven communities

HARTFORD, Conn. (Oct. 1, 2020) – The Connecticut Health Foundation has awarded more than $1.6 million in grants to local health departments to support community health workers in their COVID-19 response efforts, including assisting with contact tracing, community education, and outreach to vulnerable residents. This grant funding was in partnership with the Connecticut COVID-19 Charity Connection, known as 4-CT.

The grants will support community health workers in Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Danbury, East Hartford, Hartford, Norwalk, and Stamford. They were among more than $2 million in grants the Connecticut Health Foundation has awarded to address needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic since May, including funds to support community organizations delivering health-related messaging and funding to meet residents’ basic needs.

This funding follows more than $650,000 in COVID-19-related grants to support basic needs, health care consultation for childcare providers, and building telehealth capacity at community health centers, which were awarded earlier this year.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately affect people of color in Connecticut, we recognize the importance of addressing basic needs and ensuring that communities have the support needed to help people stay safe and healthy,” said Tiffany Donelson, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. “It is especially important to make sure that people receive information and support from those they trust, and often those are from community-based organizations and community health workers.”

Five grants totaling $1.6 million will support the hiring and training of community health workers to assist local health departments in COVID-19 response work and address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on people of color. The funding includes $743,500 from 4-CT.

Community health workers are frontline health workers who serve as a bridge between their communities and the health care and social service systems. They are typically trusted members of their communities and often share a common background – such as race, education, language, or neighborhood – with the people they serve. During the pandemic, they can provide services including delivering information and education to community members, conducting assessments to identify people’s needs, and assisting individuals in developing strategies to maintain quarantine or social distancing and adhering to treatment protocols.

The community health worker grants are:

City of Bridgeport: $200,000

The Bridgeport Department of Health & Social Services plans to enlist 12 community health workers and two managers to provide education on prevention strategies to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. This will include helping those who have tested positive and those who have had potential exposure to the virus, to ensure they have the support necessary to effectively self-quarantine.

City of Danbury: $125,000

The Danbury Department of Health and Human Services plans to develop a team of community health workers to help with vaccination clinics (for flu vaccines and, if it becomes available, a COVID-19 vaccine), as well as contact tracing, community outreach, and emergency response.

City of Hartford: $849,897

The Hartford Department of Health and Human Services plans to work with the East Hartford Health Department and West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District to deploy 20 community health workers to help vulnerable families meet their basic needs, as well as provide education in the communities and increase access to COVID-19 testing sites. The community health workers will serve residents of Bloomfield, East Hartford, and Hartford.

City of Norwalk: $229,179

The Norwalk Health Department will work with a local agency to hire six community health workers to assist with community outreach and education, contact tracing, and connecting residents to community resources.

City of Stamford: $214,500

The City of Stamford will work with a local organization to hire five community health workers, who will work with residents who test positive for COVID-19 and those who are quarantined, as well as their family members. This work will include providing information, connecting individuals to resources, and helping people meet their health, economic, and social needs.

Other funding to address COVID-19 needs include:

COVID-19 emergency support for basic needs

This quarter the foundation also awarded grants to 10 organizations to provide direct assistance to meet basic needs in their communities. This funding represented the second round of funding for the foundation’s COVID-19 emergency funding grant opportunity. The grants were awarded to:

  • African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, Hartford: $10,000
  • Christian Community Action, New Haven: $10,000
  • Community Action Agency of New Haven, New Haven: $10,000
  • Cross Street Training and Academic Center, Middletown: $10,000
  • Family Centers, Greenwich: $10,000
  • Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut, New London: $10,000
  • Hispanic Health Council, Hartford: $10,000
  • New London Homeless Hospitality Center, New London: $10,000
  • Person-to-Person, Darien: $10,000
  • The New American Dream Foundation, Danbury: $7,370
Trusted messengers providing critical information about COVID-19

Information is critical in a public health crisis and often, the messenger is as important as the message itself. Messages are far more effective when they are delivered by trusted sources. During the current pandemic and economic crisis, information and guidance change rapidly, making the existence of a network of trusted messengers even more important.

To support messaging about COVID-19, the Connecticut Health Foundation provided $126,000 in grants to 13 organizations focused on serving people of color. The funding is intended to support each organization in delivering information as well as serving as a resource to answer questions and refer people to appropriate resources as needed.

The organizations are:

  • African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, Hartford: $10,000
  • Alfaro & Associates/El Show de Analeh, Hartford: $10,000
  • Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, Fairfield: $10,000
  • Cross Street Training and Academic Center, Middletown: $10,000
  • Greater Bridgeport Area Prevention Program, Bridgeport: $10,000
  • Hispanic Health Council, Hartford: $10,000
  • Junta for Progressive Action, New Haven: $10,000
  • Khmer Health Advocates, West Hartford: $10,000
  • New London Homeless Hospitality Center, New London: $6,000
  • Person-to-Person, Darien: $10,000
  • Project Access of New Haven, New Haven: $10,000
  • Phillips Metropolitan Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Hartford: $10,000
  • The Legacy Foundation of Hartford, Hartford: $10,000
Additional COVID-19-related grants include:

4-CT Statewide COVID-19 Relief Fund, Hartford: $150,000

4-CT created a fund to provide emergency assistance to Connecticut residents who are unable to receive federal or state COVID-19 relief because of their immigration status. Community-based organizations identify families in need and write them “prescriptions” for financial assistance. Families receiving assistance will also be connected with community health centers and offered health services, including COVID-19 testing, that they might not otherwise receive.

Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut, Farmington: $17,000

This funding will support two projects aimed at increasing vaccination rates among children of color, in response to concerns that fewer children are receiving regular vaccines as families avoid medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut has convened a statewide immunization work group that includes more than 40 organizations representing state agencies, health care, education, social services, and local health departments. This funding will support outreach by school-based health centers to work with school nurses and pediatric primary care practices to ensure children receive any missing vaccines, as well as mobile vaccination sites in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport, to ensure children entering kindergarten have their immunizations. In addition, funding will support a multi-lingual messaging campaign on the importance of vaccination and well-child visits in communities of color.

Sanford Cloud Awards for Diverse Advocacy, Policy, and Equity

The following grants were awarded as part of The Sanford Cloud Awards for Diverse Advocacy, Policy, and Equity, designed to advance health equity for people of color by investing in initiatives led by graduates of the foundation’s Health Leadership Fellows Program and Academy for Health Equity Advocacy and Leadership. The award is named in honor of Sanford Cloud Jr., the foundation’s former board chair.

Capitol Region Education Council Foundation, Hartford: $10,000

This funding will support work to assure the successful return to school of students with physical or emotional challenges who might face greater barriers to attending school during the COVID-19 pandemic. For some students with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, cognitive delays, social and emotional disorders, or other learning differences, adapting to new procedures, including wearing personal protective equipment and physical distancing, could be challenging. This work includes professional development and on-site consulting for school staff working with students to adjust to COVID guidelines and providing students an opportunity to practice skills in an empty school to allow them to gain comfort without distracts and allow school staff to assess barriers that might exist for students.

Southwestern AHEC, Shelton: $10,000

This funding will support the Be The Change Project, which aims to reduce preventable trauma in Connecticut communities and create safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children. The group’s work will include raising awareness in Bridgeport about the links between community conditions, adverse childhood experiences, and health, as well as education on resilience skills, and workshops on community-building. The initiative will also include conducting a survey on adverse childhood experiences among Bridgeport residents.

For more information, please contact Arielle Levin Becker at or 203-901-2363.