NEW BRITAIN - A report released today highlights the cityâ€™s progress in reducing teen pregnancies, lowering juvenile crime and cutting truancy and dropouts in the public schools. But in the areas of unemployment, poverty and hunger, the city has a long way to go to get out of the bottom section of state rankings.
â€śThis is useful information that we are making available to the community,â€ť American Savings Foundation President and CEO Maria Falvo told The Herald on Monday. â€śReally terrific things are happening in New Britain, and we want to focus on the positives in this report.â€ť
â€śNew Britain, Connecticut 2018: A Demographic, Social & Environmental Scan,â€ť offers data from a variety of local, state and national sources covering housing, health, education, employment and crime categories.
Support for local human service organizations, after-school programs for city youth and the Robert T. Kenney Scholarship program for Connecticut college students are all initiatives the foundation has been dedicated to for more than a decade.
The high school graduation rate in New Britain rose from 51.3 percent for the Class of 2011 to 68.6 percent for the Class of 2015, according to the report. Falvo pointed out that the research indicates juvenile arrests plummeted more than 60 percent in the last seven years. Data also shows births to teen mothers has been on the decline since 2006.
But, Falvo said, while a lot of the information in the report compiled by FioPartners, LLC, shows improvements in some areas, â€śthere are a lot of challenges, too.â€ť
For instance, the youth unemployment rate in the city is more than twice the rate for the state. And, unemployment for young people in Connecticut is higher than the national average.
The report also addresses affordable housing trends in the city, job and wage growth for working adults, homelessness and health and wellness trends.
â€śWe (the foundation) want to use this data to make good investments and good decision within the community,â€ť Falvo said.
During an editorial board meeting at The Herald on Monday, he pointed to some of the outreach programs the foundation funds including the Finance Academy in New Britain, after-school programs for middle school students and the $785,000 in college scholarships the foundation awarded in 2017.
Maria Sanchez, director of the foundationâ€™s grants and community investments, said the organization prides itself on its collaborative efforts with city leaders, businesses and educators. â€śThere are terrific agencies and nonprofits working together in New Britain,â€ť she said. â€śThere were no really big surprises in this report, she continued. â€śBut it did affirm a lot of the positive work being done here.â€ť
The American Savings Foundation became a private, independent organization in 2003 with an endowment of $87.3 million at the end of 2017, of which 5 percent is dispersed annually.
The organizationâ€™s roots are in New Britain, but American Savings Bank acquired a Waterbury-based bank and adopted that companyâ€™s service area as part of the foundationâ€™s efforts. A separate foundation report specific to Waterbury was also released this week.
â€śA lot of the work we are doing is making a difference and it is not just us, itâ€™s the partnerships we have that share in the credit,â€ť Falvo said.
To find out more about the American Savings Foundation scholarship application process or to read the report in full visit: asfdn.org.