Catalyst Giving Circle Moves to Online Platform

New Britain, Conn., June 8, 2020 – The Community Foundation of Greater New Britain is making changes to its Catalyst Giving Circle in order to make meetings safer for members and the topic more relevant during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Catalyst Fund brings people who care about Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington together to experience philanthropy first-hand. With a modest donation of $50 for first-time “Discovery” members and $250 for annual renewals, members (individuals and couples) pool their resources to learn about issues facing our communities, jointly determine grants to nonprofit organizations tackling those issues, and meet new people who share a commitment to our communities. Three times per year, Catalyst Fund members gather to learn about a member-chosen issue facing their community, and to consider funding requests from charitable organizations addressing the issue. The year concludes with a collective vote to award a grant of up to $12,500 to a chosen grantee.

Earlier this year, the Catalyst membership selected community gardens to be the 2020 topic of discussion. Due to the many issues brought on since the beginning of the state shut down, the membership voted to change this year’s topic to community needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Shifting the topic for this year is a great illustration of how philanthropy can be flexible to respond to community needs.  Members overwhelmingly voted to change topic due to the unprecedented struggles presented by the pandemic and will make an impact with its grant awarded in the fall,” said Joeline Wruck from the CFGNB.

The first meeting will take place on Thursday, June 25 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. via Zoom video conference in order to follow social distancing guidelines and keep members safe while still participating in meaningful discussion.  Members will hear from speakers regarding three separate areas of impact relevant to COVID-19: food insecurity, the impact on the arts, and domestic violence.

Jason Jakubowski, President and CEO of Foodshare, will speak about food insecurity as a result of the pandemic. Jason is both an accomplished nonprofit executive and a nationally recognized community leader. Under Jason’s leadership, Foodshare distributes more than 11.5 million meals each year to local food pantries, shelters, and community kitchens in central Connecticut.

Darren Farrington, Administrator for the Connecticut Arts Alliance, will speak about the needs arts organizations are facing since the pandemic. Previously the director of No Boundaries Youth Theater, Darren understands the importance of the arts during uncertain times. The Connecticut Arts Alliance is a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization for the arts and culture sector.

Kelly Annelli, Director of Member Organization Services for the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, will speak about the unfortunate affects the pandemic has had on domestic violence victims. Kelly previously served as the director of a child development center and is also the Education and Training Lead for the Children’s Center on Family Violence for the State of Connecticut.

If you are interested in joining Catalyst, would like to participate in the meeting on June 25 as a guest, or have any questions regarding membership, please contact Joeline Wruck, Director of Community Initiatives, at 860.229.6018 ex. 307 or

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