The Tauck Family Foundation focuses its resources on investing in organizations and initiatives that work with children and families in one city: Bridgeport, Connecticut.
The Foundation has always been based in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Given the Tauck family’s long association with the area, when the board chose to invest in a single city, they chose Bridgeport because it presented both significant need and opportunity.
In the last decade, Bridgeport has seen more and more attention focused on its problems, as well as its possibilities, particularly in regard to education. Bridgeport’s public schools have more than 20,000 students 28.3% of whom live in poverty. 100% of Bridgeport students qualify for free and reduced lunch, compared to 36.7% of students statewide. Bridgeport also has a higher concentration of individuals living below the poverty threshold and lower educational attainment levels than Fairfield County as a whole. Bridgeport is the largest school district in the state, and one of the lowest performing school districts.
Despite these challenges, we see that Bridgeport is poised for change, given its array of tremendous assets: a large number of young people; strong families and communities; an active and engaged education and non-profit sector; significant potential for economic development; a growing cadre of interested funders; and city and state government that is focused on transforming outcomes for the city and its young people. For example, Kindergarteners with Pre-K experience has risen to 74.8% and 76.4% of Bridgeport’s Class of 2017 graduated within 4 years, the highest graduation rate in this decade.
Relationship Building and Outreach
As research around social and emotional learning tells us, relationships are critical. In order to do our grantmaking well and authentically, relationship building with and outreach to the Bridgeport community is a fundamental part of our work. Foundation staff are often in the community, meeting with both investees and many other community stakeholders, often looking for opportunities to learn, as well as ways to leverage existing efforts to advance common goals. We also welcome meetings with community groups we are not yet aware of who are doing great work in Bridgeport.