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The Hartford Foundation creating opportunities through series of grants awarded to organizations across greater Hartford

The Access Grant will help local non-profits dismantle systemic racism and achieve social and economic mobility equity.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Hartford Foundation is on a mission to improve lives and lift spirits in the greater Hartford area as they give to communities in need.

Megan Burke, Director of Community Impact Grantmaking, said the foundation is making this happen through its Access Grant.

"We recognize that folks who are black and brown have faced structural racism, and we want to do what we can to whittle away at that," explained Burke. 

The Hartford Foundation provided multiple non-profit organizations with more than $600,000 in grants to dismantle systemic racism and achieve social and economic mobility equity.

"We want to address those immediate needs and also take a longer-term perspective in trying to make sure that all of greater Hartford has opportunities," said Burke. 

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One of the grant recipients, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford, is working to help low-literate adults with language, digital, and professional skills needed to enter the workforce. Assistant Director Stephan Morris said it's a vital resource in the community to keep moving forward. 

"The vast majority of our students are minority, and it's sad that Hartford as a city has such a high unemployment rate, higher than the state unemployment average," explained Morris. 

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He said the grant would support its career pathways program.

"With the program, we work with our students to build resumes, do mock interviews and build those skills."   

Morris said it's all about bridging a much-needed gap in Hartford and providing access to opportunities. 

"That's kind of why we exist to help not only change the literacy level but the unemployment level as well because the two go hand and hand. 

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Another Recipient is Ebony Horsewoman. President, founder, and CEO, Patricia Kelly said the grant would create growth in a unique way. 

"This will allow us to further this attempt to train professionals and mental health professionals in the modality of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy," explained Kelly. 

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a nontraditional approach to getting to the root of trauma through work and interactions with horses.  

Kelly said Ebony Horsewoman is the only organization in the country providing this form of therapy in an urban center; This is why she said there's a strong emphasis on cultural competence to serve the BIPOC community better. 

"You must understand the culture that you are providing the service to because if not, it can be detrimental." 

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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