How CT Residents Can Help Victims of Louisiana Floods

When Hurricane Sandy struck New England in 2012, the storm caused so much widespread damage to the state of Connecticut that we were granted emergency assistance from the Federal government in the form of hundreds of National Guardsmen who came to our state to help us in our time of need. Any Connecticut resident can remember the havoc wrought by Sandy four years ago; all of our roads were closed, a huge amount of property was destroyed, and both mandatory and partial evacuations took place across the state of Connecticut. It was a dark time for our state, and some parts of Connecticut have still not fully recovered, years later, much like the state of Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Gianni DiMeglio

Louisiana flood victims are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

Unfortunately, recent rainfall and subsequent historic flooding in Louisiana have decimated the state for a second time, necessitating emergency rescue and widespread evacuations of residents across the state who have lost their homes and belongings to Mother Nature once again. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the state of emergency that Louisiana is in right now, but in light of the fact that we know what it’s like to be hit by a terribly destructive storm, Connecticut residents should consider contributing to charities that are currently on the ground in Louisiana offering support to those in need.

The American Red Cross in Louisiana, in particular, has mobilized to offer practical assistance in the form of providing food and shelter to those in need of these basic resources. You can donate directly to the Red Cross by going to their website at this link and choosing to send your money to the cause named “Louisiana Floods.” If you’d like to donate from your phone, simply text ‘LAFLOODS’ to the Red Cross at 90999 to donate $10 to their efforts.

If you’d like to physically volunteer down in Louisiana, a worthwhile organization to work with is Operation Blessing International, which has dispatched volunteers to help clean up Louisiana and recover and feed victims of the floods who have not yet received the aid they so desperately need right now.

Lastly, there are hundreds of animal shelters in Louisiana that are partially or completely underwater, which has caused the displacement of thousands of animals who need your help, as well. Visit NOLA.com at this link to see a partial list of animal shelters who desperately need donations of money and supplies to help the furry victims of these record-breaking floods – every little bit helps.

Hartford Foundation to Offer Aid to Nonprofits Affected by State Budget Cuts

As you likely already know, Connecticut is in the midst of a state budget crisis. As a result of the major budget cuts that have been made in its fallout, many nonprofits in this state are now struggling to stay afloat without the financial lifeline that has enabled them to keep their heads above water in the past. In a true embodiment of the Connecticut way, however, The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has stepped forward to offer an additional $1,000,000 to the nonprofits they work with in order to provide a vital source of funding to nonprofits whose missions help untold residents of Connecticut each and every day.

This decision came after the foundation conducted a four-day survey of their 330 active nonprofit grantees to find out how severely state budget cuts had impacted their organizations. The results of this survey were nothing short of heartbreaking; 23% of their grantees responded to it, and many of them reported losses of a whopping $50,000 to $200,000 in funding, resulting in a full 74% of those organizations stating that they would have to either reduce their services as a result or shut their doors entirely. And while 83% reported that they’d be focusing heavily on fundraising efforts to make ends meet, the Foundation recognized immediately that something had to give if these nonprofits were to continue providing necessary services and outreach here in Connecticut.

So, then, according to Judy Rozie-Battle, the Foundation’s senior vice president for community investments, the foundation will be pulling an extra million dollars from its own general grant making budget to bolster these organizations’ fundraising efforts. To determine the order and amount in which grantees get extra funding, the Foundation will begin by bucketing their nonprofit grantees based on mission. The first line of support will be donated to those organizations that offer critical assistance to Connecticut’s underserved in the form of housing and food. Once those organizations have been accounted for, mental health services, education, the arts and economic development will be next on the agenda. Unfortunately, though, it looks like the money will not stretch far enough to also administer financial aid to drug abuse programs and juvenile justice programs, two areas that offer irreplaceable resources to those who very much need help. This is especially concerning in light of the fact that we are in the middle of a national opioid crisis, and cutting substance abuse treatment programs will undoubtedly lead to more addiction and less support for those who are looking to kick this life-destroying habit.

The mere fact that The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has made this pledge speaks volumes about the strength of the Connecticut community. All Connecticut residents should consider donating to nonprofits in our state who need our help now more than ever; every little bit counts.

Connecticut Hospice House To Be Built With The Help of Fundraising

There can never be enough hospice care in this country, and the Center for Hospice Care will soon be building another facility. The center announced a fundraising campaign that will build a 12-room hospice care facility in Eastern Connecticut called Hospice House.

The project will break ground later this year, and will be completed and occupied in late 2017. This $7.5 million project will be built next door to the Dunham Street facility of the Center for Hospice Care of Southeastern Connecticut. The facility be created on 7.5 acres of land that have been given to the nonprofit by the St. Peter and Paul Church.

Gianni DiMeglio

Connecticut Hospice House will be built with the help of fundraising efforts.

The community was missing a center like this, so this project will be an promising way to make a genuine change. Many people have been waiting for a hospice facility like this for years, as in Eastern Connecticut, the only freestanding hospice care facilities are currently in Danbury and Branford. This means that hospice patients and visiting family members often have to make long trips to get to these facility. Hospice House is a great step in working to make it easier for families to see their loved ones in Eastern Connecticut. 

The steering committee has raised $5.5 million through behind-the-scenes fundraising, and they still have $2 million more to go. The team won’t begin building the facility until all of the money is available.

Some of the funds already pledged include $2 million in state bond funding. This funding is secured through the efforts of local legislators like State Senators Cathy Osten (D-Sprague), and Paul Formica (R-East Lyme). Also included and Representatives Kevin Ryan (D-Montville), Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford), and John Scott (R-Groton).

About $6 million will be spent on construction, and $1.5 million will be dedicated to five-year start-up costs. Large donations in the form of pledges can be made to help pay these costs, and the donations can be made over a period of five years. Because the center is relying on these donations, the center will use a bridge loan mortgage during the time period while pledges are being redeemed. Through a five year start-up period, the center will pay down interest on the mortgage while simultaneously working to reach full capacity in terms of patients. Hospice House will serve over 800 patients annually with all twelve of its suites in service.

One of the ways that the steering committee intends to raise funds is by offering naming rights to several parts of the completed building. Norwich Mayor Deb Hinchey is thrilled to see this project take place. Hinchey’s father died in hospice, and she believes hospice is a crucial place to help people feel comfortable when death cannot occur at home.

The facility will have the feel of a home rather than a hospital or nursing home. It will have a bright and spacious living room in its center, a peaceful chapel, a playroom for visiting children, cozy library and a dining area. Hospice House is just the facility that this community needed.