Community Foundation of Greater New Britain hears suicide prevention proposals

Published on Friday, 20 September 2019 21:03
Written by Catherine Shen


NEW BRITAIN - September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, and the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain is looking for ways to bring more attention to the topic.

The foundation is a public charity organization that provides funding to support New Britain nonprofits and their programs.

In their second Catalyst Fund meeting on Thursday, local organizations and community members gathered to discuss what they can do to help raise awareness of suicide prevention among children and young adults.

The Catalyst Fund is one aspect of the grass roots foundation that connects people who care about Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington to learn about topical issues facing the communities and make decisions on grant funding to non-profit organizations.

For the first time in 17 years since the inception of the fund, there is an increase from $10,000 to $12,500 in grant funding to award this year.

During Thursday’s meeting, three organizations presented their proposals before the fund members to make their case on how they would address the issue.

Those organizations include the Jordan Porco Foundation, which had a proposal on suicide prevention and training aimed at middle and high school aged youth in the four communities and also to provide QPR - Question, Persuade, Respond - training to 120 adults; the National Alliance on Mental Health is seeking funding to provide Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training to all four communities; and Southington Youth Services is requesting funds to strengthen suicide prevention efforts by using a three-pronged approach - building assets and protective factors among youths, professional development for educators, and engaging the community.

Joeline Wruck, the foundation’s director of Community Initiatives and Program Services, said all three organizations are aware of the challenges that young people are facing and continue to try to identify and assist people who are in need.

“This issue is on the radar of schools and youth-serving organizations, so to have any of the three proposals go forward would augment and strengthen efforts that are going to help bring attention to it in a way that’s strategic,” said Wruck, who also oversees the Catalyst Fund.

Over the years, the foundation has addressed a range of topics, including family homelessness, literacy, autism, veterans’ affairs, youth services, and various housing concerns.

“What’s wonderful about the Catalyst Fund is the cross section of members that we have in all four communities, said Dave Obedzinski, president of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain. “We get a real sense of what gaps the communities need filling and services that need to be addressed. Because the topics come directly from the community, we know it’s vital that we address them as soon as we can.”

All three organizations and fund members will return in November to determine the agency that will receive the grant funding.

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Contact Catherine Shen at 860-801-5093 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, New Britain, Plainville, Southington Herald on Friday, 20 September 2019 21:03. Updated: Friday, 20 September 2019 21:05.