An Easy Way to Make a Difference

New Britain, Conn., February 21, 2020 – The members of the Catalyst Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain want to share a unique and affordable opportunity for local residents to come together and make an impact in their community. Now entering its 17th year, membership for 2020 is now open.

Catalyst members meet three times a year at local venues over a light meal to learn about a member-chosen issue facing their community and to consider funding requests from charitable organizations addressing that issue. The year concludes with a collective vote to award a grant to their chosen grantee. First time “Discovery” members are able to join with a gift of $50 for their first year of membership; this membership increases to $250 following the first year. A “Business” membership, one that is sponsored by an employer, is $250 and offers local businesses the opportunity to engage their employees in local philanthropy.

“I keep returning to Catalyst because I really like learning about different issues in our community and seeing the creative and devoted ways that partner agencies work to solve those issues,” said long-time Catalyst Member Janis Jerman.
When asked, Catalyst members responded that they enjoy the fellowship of meeting with like-minded individuals, hearing quality presentations from experts in each topic’s field, and hearing from prior Catalyst grantees about the impact the grant has made on their organization.

Marchelle Pendleton of New Britain joined Catalyst as a Discovery member in 2018 and has renewed her membership twice since. “I wanted to be a part of an organization that supports the endeavors of the community I live and work in and I’ve witnessed the direct impact that Catalyst has on our non-profit organizations.”

In its 17 years of existence, Catalyst Fund members have awarded $172,500 to a variety of programs meeting important needs and addressing difficult challenges in the community. Recent topics include youth and family homelessness, capacity building for non-profits, and services for families and young adults with autism. Last year, for the first time in Catalyst Fund history, the annual grant increased from $10,000 to $12,500 to support suicide prevention among children and young adults. This grant will allow the Jordan Porco Foundation to bring their “4 What’s Next” program to an estimated 300 middle and high school aged youth and provide Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training to 120 adults in the Greater New Britain area.

“We are a Catalyst business sponsor in order to give our employees an opportunity to get involved in the community where they work and give back to the community at the same time,” said Art Schaller of Schaller Auto World.

2020 Catalyst Fund meetings will be held this year on June 4, September 17 and November 12. All meetings take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in great locations like the Hospital for Central CT, Stanley Black & Decker headquarters, and Shuttle Meadow Country club. The 2020 topic chosen by members is community gardens. These gardens bring people together in many cities and towns as a low-cost way for individuals and families to obtain healthy produce and a way to decrease food insecurity. They also promote recycling, reduce pollution, and provide inter-generational opportunities for volunteering, recreation and wellness. Members will explore the many ways communities and residents can benefit from community gardens and be a catalyst for enhancing this multi-layer approach to sustainability in the towns we serve.

A downloadable brochure and application form are available on the Catalyst Fund page online at Membership donations can be paid by check or through the Foundation’s website. For more information, please 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, responsibly manage permanent charitable assets, and partner to address key community issues through strategic leadership. For more information, visit