Catalyst for Careers

“Workforce of the Future” to be Focus of 2017 Catalyst Grant Funding

Public Invited to Join Initiative; First Meeting to be Held June 8

New Britain, Conn., March 15, 2017 – With spring on the horizon, members of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain’s Catalyst Fund are preparing to explore how they can help bolster local efforts to develop the workforce of the future.

WorkforceThat will be the theme of this year’s Catalyst Fund grant, a $10,000 funding award made by the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain to a charitable organization addressing the challenges of a particular hot-button issue impacting our local communities, as chosen this week by Catalyst Fund members.

The Catalyst Fund works differently than other funds managed by the Community Foundation. Grant awards are directed by a group of local citizens – Catalyst Fund “members” – interested in joining with other community-minded citizens to improve the quality of life in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. Members make a modest $250 investment (per person or couple) each year. Three times per year, members gather to learn about a member-chosen issue (Workforce of the Future for 2017) facing their community, and to consider funding requests from charitable organizations addressing the issue. The year concludes with a $10,000 grant award.

In its 14 years of existence, Catalyst Fund members have awarded more than $140,000 to a variety of programs meeting important needs and addressing difficult challenges in the community.

“The Catalyst Fund is ideal for those who wish to actively make a difference, but without investing enormous amounts of time and money,” said Community Foundation Director of Community Initiatives Joeline Wruck. “By pooling the resources of fellow members and the Community Foundation, and giving voice to issues they care about, Catalyst Fund members are able to make a real and rewarding impact.”

This year’s topic was chosen by a poll of Catalyst Fund members. The year-end grant will be awarded to a non-profit agency or program specifically addressing the issue of providing for adequate supports and training for non-college-bound students, a particularly hard-to-reach population. In choosing the topic, Catalyst Fund members learned of the acute lack of resources and programming in this area.

“Supports and training are needed to help non-college-bound students be competitive in the job market upon leaving high school,” said Wruck. “More venues are needed for training these individuals and providing them with the skills they need to be successful. In addition to specific training for various fields, these young people also need to develop the soft skills, thinking and problem-solving abilities, required to become and remain gainfully employed.”

The public is invited to attend, free of any obligation, the first Catalyst Fund meeting on Thursday, June 8, at the Hospital of Central Connecticut (THOCC). At this meeting, experts in the chosen field will make presentations on the topic and members will launch the process of crafting a Request for Proposal, which will be made available to programs and agencies interested in applying for the grant. Two more meetings will follow in September and November, with the process resulting in an end-of-year, $10,000 award.

The June 8 meeting takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. A light supper and refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to Kimberly Duncan by June 1 at or 860-229-6018, ext. 300. For more information about the Catalyst Fund, contact Joeline Wruck at or 860-229-6018, ext. 307.

Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain is “Where Good Begins” in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. The Foundation works to inspire philanthropy, manage permanent charitable assets effectively, and partner to address key community issues through strategic leadership. For more information, visit