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Landscape of Lakewood Park in Waterbury, Connecticut
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Image of the Greatbrook Reservoir by Lakewood Park in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Photographed by Clay Johnson

Transforming Systemic
Inequality Grant

The Transforming Systemic Inequality Fall Grant opportunity aims to tackle significant structural and systemic barriers to opportunities and success for Waterbury residents, especially young people, who live at the intersections of multiple oppressions such as race, economic status, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, etc.

The Leever Foundation is pleased to announce a request for proposals designed to assist Waterbury, CT by supporting local and/or regional collaborative strategies working to achieve greater equity of opportunity and outcomes in Waterbury communities that have been under-resourced and disproportionately harmed by systemic inequities. All proposals will be asked to describe to what extent activities are community-led and/or informed, and if the organization or initiative is led by Black, Indigenous or other people of color.

This opportunity will specifically support work towards:

Systems change through collaborative visioning, community organizing, advocacy and/or social justice

Structural transformation through influencing power shifts, narrative shifting and/or social innovation

Find our how the Foundation defines systems change and structural transformation:

The Foundation welcomes proposal requests of up to $40,000 for activities to be implemented over one year. Depending on the application, annual continuation could be considered for up to three years. See below for more information and application instructions.

Priority Considerations

The Foundation seeks to fund different organizations/initiatives with various approaches e.g., direct service, community organizing, policy/advocacy. When reviewing proposals, the committee highly regards programs/projects/initiatives that:


  • Center the power, leadership and voices of people from marginalized communities and those directly impacted by structural racism.

  • Programs/initiatives that utilize a social justice and racial equity lens meaning, a recognizable commitment to a more just society by addressing historical and contemporary inequities and supporting those who have been marginalized to affect change.

  • Acknowledge intersecting oppressions. Organizations understand how multiple oppressions impact one another and the lives of the people with whom they work.

  • Have operating budgets under $2,000,000 that meet the funding criteria. We will also consider organizations with budgets of over $2,000,000 if your work is collaborative with smaller/grassroots organizations doing work in Waterbury and includes efforts that push systems-level change in areas like advocacy to address unjust policies that disproportionately impact young people from disenfranchised and under-resourced communities; or base-building and coalition building that increases power through organizing campaigns and building a broad and diverse base of stakeholders and partners.


To be eligible to apply, an organization must:

  • Be incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or be working under the auspices of an authorized fiscal sponsor.

  • Have a minimum annual budget of $150,000 or submit an application to work in partnership with an organization that does. Grant awards will not exceed 15% of the applying organization's annual budget.

  • Hold a Waterbury footprint, meaning an office or a regular presence in Waterbury OR one of the key collaborating organizations has a Waterbury footprint, and the work must impact the region that includes Waterbury.

Please note that this grant opportunity DOES NOT fund the following:

  • Individuals

  • Capital Campaigns

  • 501(c)4 Institutions

  • Schools (public, private, or charter)

  • Organizations with operating budgets under $150,000

  • Entities that received funding from the Resilience of Grassroots Spring Grant Round within the same calendar year

Examples of Proposal Ideas

  • A community-based organization that wants to offer transformational programming that gives youth the tools and access to challenge institutional barriers that limit opportunities and potential.

  • Collaborative/community visioning project that centers a ‘power with vs power over’ framework, which could include developing inclusive strategies for: political education and coalition building, legal and language services and/or cooperative strategies towards institutional and legislative change. 

  • A cross-sector collaboration that addresses the far-reaching effects of Waterbury young people’s encounters with the criminal legal system by focusing on intentional prevention, addressing school discipline reforms, innovative alternatives to arrest, and/or educational and pioneering programs for court-involved youth. 

Application Process And Timeline

The Transforming Systemic Inequality Grant Guidelines will be released annually in JulyIf applicants have any questions about the grant guidelines, please email or schedule a time to talk to staff.



What Happens After Submission?

After proposals are received, a subcommittee will review the narratives/information and a clarification call will be scheduled. The clarification process will take place two weeks after proposal due dateFinal determinations will be informed and completed by  Mid - November

Follow us on social media to receive updates on specific dates for grant application process and timelines.

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P.O. Box 2179

Waterbury, CT 06705

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