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HHC Community Fund Awards $1.2 Million to Torrington, Winsted

December 19, 2019

Northwest Building Healthier Communities Fund, established by Hartford HealthCare (HHC) and Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CHH), with grants administered by the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, has awarded the largest grant in its history totaling $1,196,750 to the towns of Torrington and Winsted to support economic development strategies designed to attract new businesses, promote job growth, and enhance community well-being.

“We are so pleased to announce this significant investment that we hope will promote opportunities for business growth and offer meaningful assistance to local residents to gain upward social mobility in the communities we serve.” said Brian Mattiello, Regional Vice President for Strategy & Community Development at Hartford HealthCare and Chair of the Fund Advisory Committee.

Announced at a special year-in-review press conference on Wednesday, the grants will be distributed to town administrators over a three-year period. The towns worked together on a comprehensive joint proposal that addresses their similar needs and challenges, and a desire to work collaboratively to create effective economic growth in Northwest Connecticut. The towns plan to hold future joint monitoring meetings to discuss and track progress.

“The process of researching and writing the grant proposal was such a positive experience for our two towns. Collaboration and the importance of tackling issues together as a region is key to our combined success.” said Torrington Mayor Elinor Carbone.

“This generous grant is not only about economic development, but a chance for our towns to partner for meaningful change to benefit the entire Region.” added Winsted Mayor Candy Perez.

The Mayors explain that the grant proposal is not calling for a branding and imaging study but promoting their communities beyond the use of traditional marketing strategies. The strategies will consist of concrete, proven initiatives to change misconceptions, develop useful communications and online resources, and engage community members and start-ups with personal assistance.

The grant will help fund the following:

  • Comprehensive support of programs tied directly to job creation, high-quality employment opportunities, and investment in infrastructure improvements that grow each town’s grand list. New tools will help leaders understand current demographics and data to better educate potential home buyers of area quality-of life and articulate to commercial brokers and developers the benefits of relocating and doing business in the Northwest Corner.
  • A new website will also be created with an online resource library, toolkit, and evaluation mechanisms designed to promote Torrington’s Opportunity Zone and Winsted’s Enterprise Zones and connect developers, property owners, and funders. In addition, the creation of a new communication platform that includes multi-media sources and targets specific programs will help to reach a diverse audience and promote community events and local businesses.
  • Façade and building improvement and way-finding signage initiatives that serve as key elements to town growth and revitalization efforts. With historic towns comes old buildings that make renovations for business growth difficult. By providing resources to help improve the commercial building stock in both towns, the grant will help attract more business growth.
  • In Winsted the grant will also support the cost of a part-time social worker for the next three years. This person will work with local agencies to help connect residents with resources and services they may need through referrals and direct personal assistance.
  • In Torrington, the grant will also be used to establish an economic “gardening” approach to economic development that seeks to grow the local economy from within. The concept is to support local entrepreneurs to create businesses that bring new wealth and economic growth to the region in the form of jobs, increased revenues, and a vibrant business sector.

This is the second and largest grant awarded by the Northwest Building Healthier Communities Fund since its inception. It awarded its first round grants during the first half of 2019 totaling $295,400. The grants were awarded in support of the Fund’s focus areas: education, health and healthcare, neighborhood and environment, and economic stability and growth. Grant recipients included EdAdvance, New Beginnings of Northwest Hills Litchfield County, Inc., Northwest Hills Council of Governments, Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, and Torrington Public Schools.

Northwest Building Healthier Communities Fund was established as part of the affiliation agreement between Hartford HealthCare and Charlotte Hungerford Hospital to enhance the economic and community well-being of the Greater Torrington and Winsted areas. The Fund works to foster strategies that advance improvements to business growth, diversification and retention, expand educational and workplace development, foster regionalism and economic strategic partnerships, enhance infrastructure, and improve population and community health.

Established in 2018, grants from the $2,500,000 Fund are administered by the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, which governs the Fund’s investment and spending policies through a donor-advised committee with regional representation from HHC and CHH, along with public, community and business representatives was formed and now meets monthly to recommend distributions of income and/or principal from the Fund for any purpose consistent with the Fund’s designation.