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A ‘giving circle’ grows in Waterbury



WATERBURY — Whether they are small or large, giving circles have always been made of big hearts pooling their efforts to make things better, and a new one here is looking for people who want to do just that.

“The Waterbury Black Giving Circle was formally kicked off in June 2021, coinciding with the announcement and proclamation by President Biden that set forth Juneteenth as a federal holiday,” said Kathy Taylor, professor of legal studies at Naugatuck Valley Community College.

Eager after five years of participating in the Women’s Giving Circle administered by the Connecticut Community Foundation, Taylor wanted to bring that spirit forward.

The urge to contribute, to make a difference to one’s community, runs deep in many people, Taylor said.

“I think about Kwanzaa, and the third and fourth principles of Kwanzaa, Ujima, and Ujamaa, which talk about collective work and responsibility, and collaborative economics. I am thinking about how can we use our dollars and our collective energy to economically benefit our community circles.”

“I’m from Philadelphia,” Taylor said, “where there has been a long history of giving circles pulling dollars together to support causes and interest in organizations we care about.”

“So how do we formalize that? How do we bring people together? How do we bring people together to say we’re really interested in supporting educational organizations, or organizations interested in political advocacy, or maternal health, because we know the outcomes for Black women, and those certainly need to be addressed.”

Planning committee members include Saran D. White, executive director of the Leever Foundation; Ellen Carter, vice president of program at the Connecticut Health Foundation; Clivel Charlton, head of children services at the Silas Bronson Library; Sean Mosley, viceprincipal at Crosby High School; Alicia Pittman, Waterbury community leader;, Kevin Taylor, executive director at Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury; Althea Marshall Brooks, executive director of Waterbury Bridge to Success; and Akia S. Callum, director of people & culture at Waterbury Bridge to Success.

The Waterbury Black Giving Circle’s first membership meeting is on February 16, and the group is hosting two informational sessions, the first on Tuesday, Feb. 22, the second on Sunday, Feb. 27.


Join via Zoom link: 2660?pwd=THlDVlpi-WVJjRzFzMU12YTZBbU8vZz0 9 Meeting ID: 833 8539 2660 Passcode: 745360 Learn more at black-giving-circle

Photographed at the Mattatuck Museum’s 2021 Juneteenth celebration are, from left, Waterbury Black Giving Circle committee members Althea Marshall Brooks, executive director of Bridge to Success, Cheryl Hilton, Real estate agent and owner of Hilton Advocacy Group and Kathy Taylor, professor of legal studies, NVCC and Board Chair, Connecticut Community Foundation.


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