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Letter from the Chairman and the President & CEO

Charles J Boulier III, Chairman of the Board

Maria Falvo, President & CEO

January 2018

   As we enter the new year, we want to take a moment to reflect on 2017.  Last year, the American Savings Foundation contributed a total of $3.3 million in the community, including $2.4 million in grants to more than 125 nonprofits, and $780,000 in college scholarships to nearly 400 students.  Over our 22 year history, we have contributed a cumulative total of $54.5 million in the communities we serve.

   Since our inception, the Foundation has partnered with nonprofit, business, philanthropic, and civic leaders in both New Britain and Waterbury who share our mission to improve outcomes for youth and to strengthen the community as a whole.  In 2017, the board updated our strategic plan, looking back at the achievements of the past 22 years, and charting a course for the future.    

   As part of this work, we commissioned environmental scans of both New Britain and Waterbury.  These scans provide evidence that collectively, these communities are moving the needle on some critical measures.  High school graduation rates are showing steady improvement.  The rate of births to teen mothers has fallen. Juvenile crime rates have declined.  The information in these environmental scans will continue to guide our work in the future, and we believe many others will find this information just as useful.  We are pleased to make these reports available to download from our website.

    Of course, the environmental scans show many significant, ongoing needs in both communities.  The rates of children living in poverty are far higher than the state averages, as are unemployment rates for youth.  High school graduation and college degree attainment continue to lag behind state averages.

    We know that there is still work to be done.  But, the evidence shows that, if we continue to work together, we can make a difference. We look forward to continuing this work, with all of you, in the coming years.

Planning Ahead
   Through strategic planning, our board of directors reaffirmed our commitment to our core mission: to strengthen the community by supporting education, human services, and the arts, with a special emphasis on the needs of children, youth and families. We do not plan any significant changes in our grantmaking or scholarship program priorities.  However, the Foundation will continue to evolve to respond to changing needs in the communities we serve. 

   Many of you responded to our grantseekers survey – thank you for your feedback and suggestions.  We heard that many agencies would like a simplified process for smaller grant requests.  In 2018, we will develop a new proposal process specifically for smaller projects, which will be launched in 2019.

    We also examined the impact of our scholarship program.  We found that 81% of Robert T. Kenney Scholars earn their college degree within five years. Over the past 10 years, our average scholarship award has increased at the same rate as the rising cost of education.  In the coming years, we will continue to look for opportunities to streamline the application process, and to improve student retention, engagement, and degree completion for our scholars. 

    To further our mission as a perpetual foundation, our board also named two new board members, Michael Carrier and Caitlyn Prescott.  Michael is a prominent local attorney and community volunteer.  Caitlyn is a financial professional, and is also is the first Robert T. Kenney Scholar to serve on our board of directors. 

   As always, our staff and board of directors look forward to continuing to partner with the community to move the needle on critical issues in the community.  We will continue to invest in the people and organizations that make our communities strong. That is our lasting commitment.