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Hartford-area groups get grant funding to increase civic engagement

Cierra Stancil believes civic participation can lead to stronger communities filled with more informed, empowered and healthy citizens.

She said it all starts by engaging with neighbors, speaking and listening.

“When people aren’t prepared to, or don’t civically engage, they're not able to participate either in the flow of how things are going, the way things are administered on their behalf, and/or able to identify when there are things that need to be able to change,” said Stancil, who is senior community impact officer at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Earlier this year, the foundation awarded six community-led groups more than $110,000 to support civic engagement in the region.

“What we fund is essentially the floor and the space to be able to do so,” Stancil said. “It's support for people to be able to explore their own personal attitudes and beliefs with regards to others as they prepare themselves hopefully to participate in an increased level of civic engagement.”

One of the grant recipients is the HartBeat Ensemble, a theater group with a performance series that deals with immigration. Another recipient is the Center for Leadership and Justice, which will do community research on the impact of decades-old affordable housing policy in the state. And a third is Advocacy to Legacy, a youth-led advocate group that addresses issues that immigrants face.

Thegrant funds were part of a request for proposals issued by the foundation, and the money is already being put to use, Stancil said.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is a funder of Connecticut Public.

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director. Then, in 2022, he became a senior enterprise reporter.

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