Food, shelter, laptops: The Yale Community Fund for New Haven at work
Food deliveries to homebound and infirm city residents and to frontline workers, laptops for schoolchildren who need them for remote learning, and emergency financial support for residents in two economically struggling New Haven neighborhoods — these are just a few of the initiatives supported by the Yale Community for New Haven Fund, which President Peter Salovey established to support the university’s hometown amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund supports health care delivery in New Haven, as well as local businesses, schools, and not-for-profit organizations serving children and families and tackling such issues as food security and homelessness. Yale contributed an initial $1 million to the fund, and is matching every dollar given by faculty, students, and staff members up to the $5 million goal. To date, approximately $1.6 million has been contributed, including Yale and university alumni donations. Approximately $600,000 has been allocated to local organizations so far.
When Salovey announced the fund on March 26, he noted that many Yale affiliates had asked him how they might “directly assist the city we all love in this time of need.”
“We are so appreciative that we have had over 1,600 individual contributions from the Yale community to support the fund,” said Lauren Zucker, Yale’s associate vice president for New Haven Affairs and University Properties. “The dollars are going immediately to support critical needs in New Haven impacted by COVID-19, such as access to education, food, and shelter. Working in collaboration with our community partners and the city, we hope to maximize our impact and provide relief and aid where it is most needed.”
The Yale Community Fund for New Haven is managed by the Office of New Haven Affairs and overseen by an advisory committee that works in partnership with the United Way of Greater New Haven and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to identify the local entities with the greatest need for support. Advisory committee members are Deborah Stanley-McCauley, Peter Schulam, and Monty Shepardson. They work closely with Zucker, who chairs the committee, and Karen King in the Office of New Haven Affairs.
A $250,000 donation for the purchase of laptops for students in New Haven Public Schools will enable them to participate in remote online learning and complete schoolwork during the pandemic.
“We are appreciative of the many people who have contributed to help the City of New Haven during this challenging time,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker ’10 FES/SOM. “New Haven residents’ basic needs, such as food and access to online-learning, are greater than ever, and the Yale fund’s contribution is a good step towards helping us address them.”
Zucker noted that the donation of laptops to students whose families don’t own one has benefits beyond schoolwork: “The computer can also be used for a remote medical appointment should there be a need by anyone in the family during this time of telemedicine,” she said.
The Connecticut Food Assistance Network (CFAN) received $150,000 for its Pantry to Pantry Food Delivery Program, which was created in partnership with the United Way of Greater New Haven, the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK), Loaves and Fishes, and others to bring food to people sick with COVID-19, immunocompromised, or unable to leave their homes.
“Yale’s critical and generous support of CFAN’s Pantry to Pantry Food Delivery Program will enable community-based organizations working on the frontlines to respond in the most effective and expeditious manner possible,” said Steve Werlin, DESK’s executive director. “The donation will not only provide staff to carry out the work on the ground, but will cover the cost of food for thousands of people at a time when normal supply lines are stressed and household budgets can’t keep pace with sudden unemployment. We are extremely grateful that Yale was able to respond so quickly to this immediate need in New Haven.”
Erik Clemons, president and CEO of the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology (ConnCAT), said the fund’s donation of $50,000 for rapid emergency financial support for families in the Newhallville and Dixwell neighborhoods will “go a long way towards helping ConnCAT ensure that our communities aren’t overlooked and are able to thrive through this and any moment of adversity.”
He added: “The crisis has brought about a need for swift and intentional action to support the most vulnerable among us. During this time of uncertainty, we’re pleased to have partners at Yale University who are committed to supporting the community through this unprecedented crisis.”
The full list of fund distributions so far follows here:
- $250,000 to support the purchase of laptops for New Haven Public School students, so they can access online classes and complete school work;
- $150,000 to the Coordinated Food Assistance Network for supporting a delivery system created in partnership with the United Way of Greater New Haven, the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, Loaves and Fishes, and others to deliver food to people stricken by COVID-19, are immunocompromised, or unable to leave their homes;
- $100,000 to Keep New Haven Thriving/Food for the Frontlines for supporting local New Haven restaurants in the delivery of meals to frontline health care workers;
- $50,000 to the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology to provide rapid emergency financial support for families in the Newhallville and Dixwell neighborhoods.
- $26,000 to the Gateway Community College Foundation for laptops students need to participate in online classes and complete coursework;
- $15,000 to New Haven’s Highville Charter School for laptops to enable its students to access online educational resources and complete school work; and
- $7,400 to the Grace Chapel Church to support its shelter for women.
Plans are underway for supporting additional entities. New Haven organizations in need of support can apply through the Office of New Haven Affairs. Contributions to the Yale Community for New Haven Fund are welcome.