CTLN Opinion+: William Ginsberg

President & CEO, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven on closing the racial wealth gap

After the COVID-19 pandemic devastated Latinos and the vulnerable of their area, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, created funds to aid in the recovery and recommitted to address inequities in their community. The foundation is a charitable endowment established in 1928, with the purpose of addressing areas of need for the city. 

During our conversation with William Ginsberg president and CEO of the foundation, we discussed the benefits of a regional philanthropic organization, the foundation’s work with the Latino community, as well as the reckoning of the philanthropic community after a worldwide pandemic highlighted several inequities in the country and in Greater New Haven.

With its longevity, the foundation has been able to establish thousands of individual funds with different intentions and directed to several communities in Greater New Haven. 

“The foundation is structured and we operate as if we’re going to be here in perpetuity, carrying out donor wishes of the people who’ve created the foundation,” Ginsberg said. 

One of the permanent funds is the Progreso Latino Fund. Established in 2003, it was created by two Latino leaders from the community. Its purpose is to address the concerns of the community by raising money, making grants as well as highlighting the importance of the community to the state. 

The COVID-19 pandemic left the Latino community greatly affected by the virus, with higher unemployment rates, higher rates of infection, and loss of life than their white counterparts. The foundation has directed funds to address the long-term issues of the pandemic recovery to the community, beginning with equity. 

In partnering with the Progreso Latino Fund and leaders from the community to address inequities in several populations in the city, the foundation’s initiative, “Stepping Forward” is dedicating three years to advance racial inequities and the impact of the pandemic in the community, especially on black and brown communities.

“The Latino leaders that we work with at the Progreso Latino Fund and more broadly in the community, help us to understand the Latino perspective on these issues and how we can address COVID- 19 and equity issues related to these communities,” Ginsberg said. 

Greater New Haven like the rest of Connecticut is home to the extremely wealthy and those living in poverty. In 2020, The Greater New Haven Community Progress Report, a collection of data and survey, determined the population living in the poorest neighborhoods has increased, especially among communities of color. 

The same report also determined the unemployment rate is higher in Greater New Haven than in the state by three percentage points and business growth among the black and brown community is slower. 

The last year has increased the divisiveness in the country and wealth has been looked at more critically. We have seen that with extreme wealth comes along with extreme poverty. We are looking at the effectiveness of philanthropic organizations critically. 

During on conversation with Ginsberg, we touched on the issues of wealth inequality and reckoning of the philanthropic community as the wealth continues to increase. 

“This is something the philanthropic community is struggling with,” Ginsberg said. “But we are fundamentally about the community. If we allow the divisiveness of these times to pull us apart. We will never be able to address the issues that our community faces, and if we can surmount that and come together, we will.” 

For more information about the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the Progreso Latino Fund as well as the work they do for the community look to the links below. 

Resources mentioned in the video: 

For more information about the Progreso Latino Fund

https://www.cfgnh.org/leading-on-issues/latino-leadership

For more information of the foundations mission to tackle inequities in Greater New Haven 

https://www.cfgnh.org/articles/essential-equity-women-covid-19-and-rebuilding-ct

https://www.cfgnh.org/leading-on-issues/stepping-forward-1

For more information on the Stepping Forward Initiative 

https://www.cfgnh.org/leading-on-issues/stepping-forward-1

To apply for a grant

https://www.cfgnh.org/strengthening-nonprofits/about-our-grantmaking


Cover Photo Credit: CT Public Radio

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