More Members Than Ever Before Expected for Year 16: Public Invited to Join or Explore The Catalyst Group at June 7 Meeting

Reenergized Membership Adopts Autism for Focus of 2018 Funding; University of Saint Joseph Expert to Discuss Current Trends and Gaps in Services

New Britain, Conn., May 16, 2018 – Thanks to a new member drive expected to boost membership by more than 70 percent, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain’s Catalyst Fund giving circle will kick off its 2018 year on June 7 at the Hospital of Central Connecticut with more energy, engagement and reasons to join than ever.

John Molteni, University of Saint Joseph

The public is invited to attend the initial Catalyst Fund meeting of the year from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at no cost and with no obligation to join. What is promised is an engaging evening including socialization with others who want to make a difference in their community, a complimentary light supper and refreshments, and an enlightening presentation about services for children and young adults with autism by John Molteni, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Associate Professor of Counseling and Applied Behavioral Sciences at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford and director of the University’s Institute for Autism and Behavioral Studies.

“What is happening with the Catalyst Fund is truly exciting, and we invite those who want to be part of making Berlin, Plainville, New Britain and Southington better to join us to learn what Catalyst is all about,” said Director of Community Initiatives and Program Services Joeline Wruck. “There has been a groundswell of new interest in the program, and this new vitality is proving that people truly are seeking ways to make a difference in their communities.”

The Catalyst Fund is comprised of a group of community-minded citizens interested in improving the quality of life in Greater New Britain. Members gather three times per year 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 grant award of up to $10,000. The chosen topic for 2018 is Services for Children and Young Adults with Autism.

In its 15 years of existence, Catalyst Fund members have awarded more than $150,000 to a variety of programs meeting important needs and addressing difficult challenges in the community including alleviating homelessness for area families with children, repairing the homes of veterans in need and expanding services for senior citizens.

At the conclusion of the June 7 meeting a Request for Proposal process will target local agencies and programs addressing the chosen topic. Additional meetings will take place September 20, at which applicants for the grant award will make presentations, and November 8, at which this year’s grantee will be chosen.

A new member drive which began in February has thus far produced 24 new members; with anticipated renewals of existing members it is expected that 2018 membership will top 60, said Wruck.

Stimulating interest this year are new membership incentives and categories. A new “Discovery” membership is now available to first-time Catalyst Fund members (and their families) for a gift of $50 for the first year, and a new “Business” membership category offers local businesses the opportunity to engage their employees in local philanthropy. Regular annual membership in the Catalyst Fund is $250 per “voting unit,” which can be an individual, a couple or family.

Anyone who joins Catalyst and makes their contribution before or at the June 7 meeting will be entered a drawing for items donated by local businesses and organizations with the drawing at the conclusion of the first meeting.

Those interested in attending the June 7 meeting are asked to RSVP to Kimberly Duncan by June 4 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. Located at The Foundation Center at 74A Vine Street, New Britain, 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