Connecticut Children’s Receives $30 Million Grant To Address Poverty

For Immediate Release: September 27, 2021
Media Contact:

Monica Buchanan, Senior Director, Strategic Communications
Connecticut Children’s

Hartford, CT – Connecticut Children’s is leading a five year, multi-partner, cross-sector effort designed to improve the lives of children in North Hartford under a new $30 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Connecticut Children’s was selected as one of seven grantees across the country in the latest round of funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods Program. Connecticut Children’s will receive $6 million in the first year of the grant period to begin this important work that will ensure every child in Hartford’s Promise Zone has access to the tools and education for a successful career path. In addition to the five year, $30 million grant, partners involved in the project plan to contribute $36 million in matching funds over the five year period, bringing the total investment in North Hartford to $66 million.

Under the grant, Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health will lead an effort to design, implement, and evaluate the North Hartford Ascend Pipeline, in collaboration with the city of Hartford and additional partners. The pipeline will serve as a comprehensive prenatal through career effort designed to help children in North Hartford reach their full potential by improving academic outcomes, developmental trajectories, long-term well-being, and quality of life.

“We are honored to receive this funding from the Promise Neighborhoods program,” said James E. Shmerling, DHA, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Connecticut Children’s. “As a critical community resource, Connecticut Children’s is committed to enhancing the well-being of children in Hartford beyond the medical care we provide. This is a great opportunity to work with our community partners to make a tremendous difference in the lives of Hartford children and strengthen our community.”

The Promise Neighborhoods Program focuses on significantly improving the academic and developmental outcomes of children living in some of the most economically challenged communities across the country. It strives to ensure school readiness, high school graduation, and family access to high-quality community-based services.

“We are so grateful for the confidence expressed by the U.S. Department of Education in our capacity to design and advance the North Hartford Ascend Pipeline,” said Paul H. Dworkin, MD, Connecticut Children’s executive vice president for community child

health and director of Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health. “Through our work with the city of Hartford and many community partners, we will address families’ priorities and needs and enable them to promote their children’s optimal health, development, and well-being. Our collective focus on strengthening families, developmental promotion, and community system building will all contribute to achieving our ambitious goals.”

In applying for the grant, Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health organized key partners in a months-long effort to develop the cross-sector proposal. The Office is nationally recognized for its work in collaborating with partners across sectors to build stronger child serving systems and strengthen families to support their children’s optimal well-being.

This grant, including the required local matching funds, represents a public-private partnership in which 45% of the $66 million total investment over five years will come from the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, 26% of the $66 million total investment ($17 million) will come from non-governmental sources.

“This massive federal commitment will help break vicious cycles— of poverty, violence and isolation— opening instead a virtuous cycle of opportunity,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. “The $30 million investment is vital in this historic scope and scale, because zip code shouldn’t dictate destiny. The barriers to upward mobility, felt across generations, must be broken. Hartford’s North End needs and deserves exactly these kinds of services to gain good jobs, better housing and health care, and much more.”

Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health will work with the following partners in designing and implementing the North Hartford Ascend Pipeline:

  • Capital Workforce Partners
  • Capitol Region Education Council
  • City of Hartford
  • Community Health Services
  • DataHaven
  • Fund for Greater Hartford
  • Hartford Data Collaborative
  • Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
  • Hartford Promise
  • Hartford Public Library
  • Hartford Public Schools
  • InterCommunity Health Care
  • North Hartford Promise Zone
  • San Juan Center
  • The Children’s Museum
  • The Village for Families & Children
  • United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut
  • United Way of Connecticut
  • UConn Health
  • University of Hartford Center for Social Research
  • Wheeler Clinic

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to again partner alongside Connecticut Children’s, the City of Hartford, Hartford Public Schools, and the many other community organizations to invest in the well-being of children and families of North Hartford,” said Paula S. Gilberto, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. “The ‘cradle to career’ pipeline aligns with our vision of a community where opportunities are available for children to succeed in school and for families to achieve financial security. Most important, families are co-creators of this project, ensuring its value to them. I join my colleagues and partners in congratulating Connecticut Children’s for its leadership and the entire community team in seeing the promise of local families and the value of collaboration.”


About Connecticut Children’s
Connecticut Children’s is the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children and ranked one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and a Magnet® designated hospital. Connecticut Children’s provides more than 30 pediatric specialties along with community-based programs to uniquely care for the physical, social, and emotional needs of children. Our team of pediatric experts and care coordinators bring access to breakthrough research, advanced treatments for both rare and common diseases, and innovative health and safety programs to every child. Connecticut Children’s is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to improve access to healthcare for all children through convenient locations, care alliances and partnerships.

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