Our Values

We strive to live up to and put into action these values and principles.

We believe homelessness is solvable and preventable, and that philanthropy is an essential partner to end it.

At the core of everything we do is a commitment to individual and community empowerment, of helping people get access to the tools and means to achieve.

Belief in people

  • We believe in the self-determination of the people served by the programs we support. We believe in supporting their strengths and aspirations, and ensuring they have a voice and a choice in determining their future.
  • We value our grantee partners, and know that our effectiveness is intertwined with theirs. We provide steadfast support to leaders with vision, passion for social change, and an effective implementation plan and team.
  • We strive to understand issues through the lens of our partners and other stakeholders who are working to make change. Research and the experiences of diverse practitioners, activists, and users of services inform our critical thinking and strategy.


  • Homelessness is disproportionately experienced by people of color. We see this as an outgrowth of laws, policies, and practices—both current and historical—that result in inequitable access to housing, health care, and economic opportunity.  We believe achieving an end to homelessness in America is directly tied to our collective success in addressing the inequities that fuel its growth.
  • We commit to incorporating an equity lens into all aspects of our work, with a focus on erasing disparities in opportunities and outcomes and advancing just and fair inclusion in a society in which everyone can participate and prosper.


  • We believe seemingly intractable problems like homelessness demand creative solutions. The Trust is a catalyst for change to enable these solutions to take root. We push against complacency with the status quo.
  • We are willing to initiate, explore, experiment, and take risks—to step in and fill a gap in the field of practice, and to demonstrate and refine approaches that have not yet gained traction. We support systems approaches that connect and make better use of disparate resources and improve the ways that people and organizations work together.
  • While we are strategic in our grantmaking, we work to strike a balance between being planful and being actively opportunistic. We strive to respond to unforeseen circumstances, evolving needs, and emerging opportunities.


  • We focus on results. We set realistic goals, and assess outcomes to identify what works and what doesn’t. We look for scalable and sustainable solutions for which there is clear evidence of effectiveness. For many of our investments, success will be measured in years.


  • We believe that the persistence of homelessness in the wealthiest democracy in the world is scandalous, and that the public sector plays a major role in advancing and sustaining solutions. We look to a future in which philanthropy’s investments will be significantly leveraged by improved public systems that make homelessness a thing of the past.
  • We actively cultivate alliances with foundations, government, and diverse partners to identify aligned interests, and encourage other funders—both public and private—to invest and participate in efforts to end homelessness.
  • We commit to using a range of tools to increase our impact. This includes grantmaking, program related investments, communications, and lending our voice and ideas to stimulate thinking, push for change, and link our allies toward a common purpose.


  • We bring all of our skill, knowledge, and imagination to our work. We work to ensure our decisions are in line with our mission and values and that we efficiently use the resources entrusted to us.
  • We strive to make the process for applying for our support as simple and transparent as possible, and to communicate our activities and grantmaking simply, directly, and widely. We seek to share what we learn to improve practice in the field.
  • We are committed to supporting our geographic target areas. We are interested in making change happen within Connecticut, and in creating a better policy environment at the national level. We believe on-the-ground practice and policy work within the state both inform and are informed by initiatives that are national in scope and impact.

Non-Discrimination Statement

The Melville Charitable Trust does not fund organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers, selection of vendors, and provision of services.