Meet our members!  AFN’s greatest asset is our members—a diverse network of national, regional, and community-based foundations, financial institutions, and grantmakers—investing in advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility. Check back each month and meet your peers!   

1: What is the mission of your organization and how is advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility incorporated into the work?

The mission of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven is to inspire, support, inform, listen to, and collaborate with the people and organizations of Greater New Haven to build an evermore connected, inclusive, equitable and philanthropic community. As part of this work, The Community Foundation has supported efforts to provide wraparound support for Greater New Haven residents who participate in workforce training programs in in-demand economic growth sectors, such as healthcare, manufacturing, and bioscience, to set them up for success. Wraparound supports include childcare, transportation, paid apprenticeships, career coaching, etc. We see this as a critical aspect to better connect residents who have been historically underserved by the workforce development system. This includes women, people of color, immigrants, and refugees, returning citizens, and opportunity youth.

In addition, The Community Foundation Mission Investments Company (TCF-MIC) provides capital and assistance to entrepreneurs and businesses, particularly black, brown, and women-owned small businesses, to build generational wealth for families, neighborhoods, and communities. TCF-MIC invests in the people, ideas, and businesses of Greater New Haven for a “triple bottom line.”


2: How does your organization bridge the racial wealth gap?

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven actively engages with our constituents to better understand their priorities to help inform future effective strategies to expand opportunity and equity. One example of this is a partnership with MATCH (Manufacturing Technical and Community Hub), a nonprofit and grantee partner that prepares local residents for careers in manufacturing. MATCH serves high school graduates entering the workforce, unemployed New Haven residents, residents of color, and women.

Another example is New Haven Healthy Start (NHHS), a program of CFGNH that is federally funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). NHHS provides a continuum of services to pregnant women, mothers, fathers, and their infants to ensure healthy birth outcomes. Early on in the development of MATCH, the leaders of this organization partnered with NHHS to hold a listening session with participating parents to learn about their interests and priorities that informed the holistic program model of MATCH. Ultimately, in the fall of 2023, a group of NHHS fathers became the first cohort of participants for MATCH. Learn more about this critical partnership here.


3: Where are we lacking investments as a sector that will result in greater economic equity, and how can we address the gap?

As a sector, it is important for philanthropy to learn about and invest in models that eliminate barriers for people of color with less than a college education to obtain jobs that provide a living wage and career path. One important model that more funders can support is skills-based hiring that is being championed nationally by Opportunity @ Work.


4: Share a question you would like to raise to your AFN community.

What are funder colleagues doing in the space of worker-owned collaboratives to provide more opportunities for people of color to build wealth, address workforce challenges, and set up small business owners for success?


5: What have been some of the biggest benefits of being part of the Asset Funders Network?

As a new member of the Asset Funders Network, one major benefit has been having a community of thought and action partners in Connecticut and nationally. For example, in December 2023, AFN in Connecticut gathered to learn about a recent regional labor market report about how to better connect Greater New Haven and Valley residents to careers in economic growth sectors that include healthcare, bioscience, and manufacturing. A report was developed through a partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Valley Community Foundation (our partner in philanthropy in the five-town Valley region) and Blakely Consulting who conducted the research and analysis. This gathering to discuss the report findings and recommendations led to several concrete next steps including how to best lead and support advocacy efforts to address the benefits cliff in Connecticut so that more people can advance in their careers without the fear of losing key public benefits such as childcare, housing subsidies, and SNAP.


6: What is the last book you read?

I recently read “Las Madres” by Esmeralda Santiago, who is one of my all-time favorite authors. This is an excellent novel about family, faith, and disaster (Hurricane Maria) that moves between Puerto Rico and the Bronx. The story reveals the lives and loves of five women and the secret that connects them.

About Yolanda Caldera-Durant, Vice President for Program and Community Engagement 

I am a member of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s senior management team that provides oversight of the organization. I lead the foundation’s career pathways/workforce strategy to connect historically underserved Greater New Haven residents to good quality jobs as part of building a more inclusive economy in Greater New Haven.