Educational Opportunity Fund

The Melville Charitable Trust’s Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) provides modest, highly flexible support for the educational and training aspirations of homeless or formerly homeless individuals. Grants are made to Connecticut nonprofit providers on an annual basis up to $10,000. The Fund has its origins in queries from activists and providers who had been unable to obtain the relatively small sums that would enable people who are homeless or formerly homeless to cover costs related to attendance and participation – e.g. day care, transportation, tools, uniforms, and books.

Since the EOF was launched in 1994, more than 100 EOF grants have been awarded to 36 community organizations in Connecticut – totaling over $850,000. The uses of these funds have been creative, diverse, and cost-effective, serving adults and youth. The decision-making structures created to determine grant recipients at each organization have been equally inventive – from mini grant proposals to peer review processes. Those groups that have emphasized accountability and offer staff support and follow-up typically have the most success.

The EOF criteria remain simple. All funds:

    • Should finance an individual’s educational or training expenses;
    • Should be used to fill in gaps not provided by other assistance programs;
    • May be applied to any related cost that could keep someone from realizing his or her educational pursuits;
    • Cannot be used to cover any of the sponsoring organization’s administrative or programmatic costs.

For the first time, the Trust issued an RFP to distribute EOF grants in 2013. We aimed to expand the reach of this program to organizations within Connecticut that may not have been aware of the availability of these funds. We look forward to learning from these grantee partners’ experiences and plan to issue a new RFP in the fall of 2014. Please note that we will no longer be accepting rolling applications for new EOF recipients or renewals.

Congratulations to our 2013 EOF recipients!

    • Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust
    • Easter Seals Goodwill Industries
    • New London Homeless Hospitality Center
    • Prime Time House
    • Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford
    • Youth Continuum
    • Association of Religious Communities
    • Stamford Shelter for the Homeless
    • Inspirica
    • Living in Safe Alternatives
    • Norwich Adult Education
    • Open Hearth

For any questions about the EOF, please contact Aimee Hendrigan, Senior Program Officer: