Database Links Giving with Need

January 2, 2011; Source: The Day | The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy has always viewed itself as a nexus between foundations and nonprofits, a mechanism for connecting the state’s nonprofits to the surprisingly small list of foundations in an otherwise comparatively wealthy state. The Council continues to fill that role by releasing its annual wish list of nonprofit needs that foundations – and charitable donors – might help fill.

The Council’s Ways to Share database allows online searches by nonprofit name (242 nonprofits are listed), location, or interest area. We took a peek at the list and found much impressive content in this Connecticut Council for Philanthropy resource. It is particularly useful for individual donors, as the lists of needs are often small items that individuals might provide. In addition, the nonprofits list volunteer opportunities – a very useful link for people who like to combine giving time and money.

Connecticut nonprofits don’t have a lot of wealthy in-state foundations to draw on – two of the top five foundations by total assets are community foundations (Hartford and New Haven), one is the very ideologically conservative Smith Richardson Foundation, another in the top five is ZOOM, created by Lone Pine hedge fund CEO Stephen Mandel, known for his board role at and philanthropic generosity Teach for America.

Connecticut’s median household income is 31.3 percent higher than the nation’s. Only Maryland and New Jersey boast higher median household income levels. The opportunities for individual charitable generosity in the Nutmeg State are lengthy according to the Ways to Share database. The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy deserves plaudits for helping make the connections happen.—Rick Cohen