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Sustainable CT Community Match Fund Surpasses $2 Million Investment in Connecticut Communities

Submitted by Jim Hunt.

WILLIMANTIC, CT, August 2, 2021 – Sustainable CT, a statewide program that supports municipal initiatives to protect the environment and improve the quality of life for Connecticut residents, has surpassed the $2 million mark in investment in local projects through its Community Match Fund.
Since its inception in September of 2019, the Sustainable CT Community Match Fund has invested in over 170 local projects in more than 70 Connecticut towns.
The Community Match Fund leverages institutional funding alongside community investment in the form of individual, small-dollar donations to hyper-local projects. Each project runs a public crowdfunding campaign to engage the community and secure half the funding needed to complete its work. Sustainable CT then matches every dollar raised. To date, Sustainable CT has committed $930,000 as a match to more than $1.1 million collected from over eight thousand individual donations.
The unique method of funding demonstrates grassroots support for a project, according to Lynn Stoddard, executive director of Sustainable CT. “The most impactful aspect of this program is that each donation represents a person who is now involved with and committed to the project,” said Stoddard. “When neighbors vote with their dollars in support of these projects they are literally buying in, which creates a sense of community ownership that wouldn’t otherwise exist.”
“Residents are inspired to take action and they lead the way in improving their communities one block, one neighborhood, and one town at a time,” added Abe Hilding-Salorio, Sustainable CT’s outreach coordinator. “They demonstrate the power of neighbors, friends, colleagues, and local businesses working together to support change right in their own backyards.”
Across the state, these projects are making towns and cities more inclusive, resilient, and vibrant for all residents. Community members are working together to bring main streets to life with pocket parks, murals, and tree plantings; create green jobs for low-income residents; recycle bikes for people in need of safe, affordable transportation; make public lands productive and beautiful by planting pollinator pathways; educate neighbors on climate solutions; clean up rivers and protect habitats; and create vibrant spaces for everyone to enjoy.
Unlike most traditional grant programs, the Community Match Fund is open to anyone. Project leaders don’t need the backing of a formal organization, there is no application to submit, no deadlines, and no subjective review and scoring process. Anyone who has an idea for a public project is welcome to reach out to Sustainable CT at any time, and if their work aligns with that of Sustainable CT, they will quickly be approved and moved forward.
“What’s so exciting about this program is how it puts decision-making in the hands of the people who will be most impacted by the project,” said Hilding-Salorio. “Rather than Sustainable CT deciding what work has value and deserves to be funded, we’re asking the local community to make that determination.”
The Community Match Fund continues to accept and support new projects on a rolling basis. Anyone with an idea for a public, sustainability-related initiative is encouraged to contact Abe Hilding-Salorio at Sustainable CT.
Sustainable CT is independently funded, and the Community Match Fund is supported by the Smart Seed Fund, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and the Connecticut Green Bank.

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