Employment & Education Opportunity Fund

The Melville Trust is striving to be intentional about incorporating racial equity into its work.  The Prison Policy Initiative  found that people coming out of jail or prison are almost 10 times more likely to be homeless than the general public. We also know people of color are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system throughout the country. In Connecticut, African Americans are incarcerated at 9.4 times the rate of white Americans. Compounding that disparity is the societal stigma associated with people with criminal records which limits, and often prevents their ability to obtain housing or employment.  This year, the Trust is repurposing the Employment & Education Opportunity Fund (EOF) to better support individuals coming out of incarceration.

What is the Employment and Education Opportunity Fund?

The Employment and Education Opportunity Fund (EOF) provides modest, highly flexible support to cover an individual’s essential educational or employment related expenses. Small, but essential costs—a bus pass, books for a class, tools for an apprenticeship, child care for a parent in school, a decent suit for an interview—can make the difference between being able to prepare for and land a job or remain unemployed. Organizations have used EOF funds to pay for a variety of expenses, such as:

  • Child care
  • Transportation
  • Tools
  • Uniforms
  • Training/Conferences
  • Certificate/Licensing fees

The EOF is different from most of the Melville Trust’s grantmaking, which is overwhelmingly focused on larger-scale systemic changes to end homelessness. We are grateful to the activists and providers who inspired this fund by explaining how difficult it is to find flexible dollars to meet the basic needs of their clients.

Since we launched the fund in 1994, more than 100 EOF grants have been awarded to community organizations throughout Connecticut, totaling over one million dollars.

We don’t tell our grantee partners how to spend the funds as long as they meet the criteria below.

What are this year’s eligibility requirements?

  1. Connecticut non-profit;
  2. 501(c)3 status as determined by the Internal Revenue Service;
  3. An organizational budget of $1,000,000 or less; and
  4. A primary mission to provide direct services to individuals who experienced prison or jail.

How much is each grant?

The maximum grant is $7,500 and we anticipate awarding 8-10 grants by mid-December 2019.

How can EOF funds be used?

All funds:

  • Can finance an individual’s employment related, educational, or training expenses.
  • Can be applied to any related cost that could keep someone from realizing his/her/their employment or educational pursuits.
  • Cannot be used to cover any of the sponsoring organization’s administrative or programmatic costs.
  • Cannot be used to cover housing related costs such as rent or security deposit.

Application Guidelines

Please download and submit the EOF 2019 Application to rallen@melvilletrust.org by November 1, 2019   If you have any questions about the EOF application, please email Rebecca Allen at rallen@melvilletrust.org  We will announce grant recipients by the end of December 2019.