The “No-Go” Changing Lives Gala Raises $26,000 For Capital Community College

The Capital Community College Foundation recognized programs of study for health care heroes and honored a 2020 class of Alumni Wall of Fame inductees at the No-Go Changing Lives Gala on October 23rd that showcased the talent of faculty, students and alumni.

The annual event raised more than $26,000 for scholarships and student success programs with the support of sponsors and contributors who participated in a virtual program.

Hosted by Capital Chief Executive Officer Duncan Harris via Webex the gala program included a tribute to Nursing and Health Careers programs and alumni honorees Sophia Gray (’01), Daniel LaMontagne (’94), John Perkins (’81) and Jonathan Nyez (’06) sharing their stories.

Interspersed with a tribute to nursing and health career studies and alumni recognition was a poem from Professor of English,  Dr. Antoinette Brim  and readings from the works of James Baldwin by students of Professor Julia Rosenblatt’s Theatre Arts Program. Dr. Harris provided a visual tour of  the campus, noting its transformation from an iconic department store to a 21st century college. The gala concluded with an inspiring performance of “Rise Up” by Alumna Nidayah Bolling. 

The 15th Changing Lives Gala, originally scheduled for the Gershon Fox Ballroom and atrium, went virtual this year because of the pandemic and need for social distancing.  Capital Community College opened for the fall semester with 85% of classes held online.

Supporting the Gala were Corporate Sponsors Liberty Bank and Travelers, Benefactor Sponsor Windsor Federal Savings and Patron Sponsors Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Wheeler Family Health & Wellness Center, Webster Private Bank, Lana & Surendra Bridglall and John Perkins, Dr. G. Duncan & Garcia Harris and Lucy Anne Hurston.





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October 23rd Changing Lives Gala To Recognize 2020 Alumni Wall of Fame Inductees

Capital Community College will recognize four graduates as 2020 Alumni Wall of Fame inductees at the October 23rd Changing Lives Gala, a virtual event that will showcase the College’s programs of study for health care heroes.

The 2020 inductees, who come from the fields of nursing, architecture, computer information systems and accounting include:

Sophia Gray (’01) MS

Sophia Gray, who graduated from Capital in 2001 with a degree in computer information technology, has shown support and a passion for Capital Community College that began during her undergraduate years and never left her.

Sophia Gray (’01)

“I came and I never regretted it,” said Sophia in a 2016 profile. “It was much more nurturing to me. I got a sense that the instructors really cared.  As someone who has stayed involved with the college I see and hear year after year other students who have expressed the same sentiment,and that is, Capital is like a close-knit family  Once you walk across the stage and leave that relationship does not necessarily end.”

Sophia’s commitments to her alma mater have been extensive and continuing.  An emerita board member of the College’s Foundation,Board, she briefly filled in as its Chairperson until a replacement was voted in and currently serves on the scholarship committee.  She was President of the Alumni Association as well as the Honor Society Phi Theta Kappa.  Her organizing efforts among alumni led to a revival of the alumni association that was founded in 1988, the creation of the alumni’s logo, an alumni scholarship and hosting Alumni Saturdays at the downtown campus. 

Sophia,  a homeowner in Hartford’s Blue Hills neighborhood, is a single mom who raised a a son while juggling work, study and family as she advanced academically and professionally. From Capital, Sophia went on to Central CT State University earning her B.S. in Management Information Systems in 2004 and a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Technology specializing in networking and telecommunications technology in 2014.

Professionally, Sophia joined The Hartford Insurance Group in 2004 and is an Enrollment Specialist in Group Benefits. Always finding time to give back to her community she is currently the Chairperson of the Hartford Health Initiative, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve health outcomes in the City of Hartford through community engagement and programming and of course staying connected to Capital Community College.

Daniel LaMontagne (’94) AIA

Daniel LaMontagne, growing up in a working-class household in his native Waterbury, told his Algebra teacher at John F. Kennedy High School that he wanted to be an architect. That early career interest would lead him to enroll in the architectural engineering technology program at Hartford State Technical College, earning a degree from Capital Community-Technical College, the name for Capital when Hartford State Tech merged with Greater Hartford Community College in the 1990s.

Daniel LaMontagne (’94)

The education, project work and intense study received at Capital prepared Dan for late nights in the Architecture Studios at the University of Florida where he would earn a Bachelor of Design in Architecture and a Master of Architecture degree.

Dan returned to Connecticut and worked for several firms to start his career, including  a seven-year stint at JCJ Architecture in Hartford.  In 2014, Dan became the principal architect at AE Design Group (AEDG),  assuming ownership of the firm led by Joseph S. Eddy, Dan’s professor and mentor at Capital who led the associate’s degree program until his retirement. Continuing the practice and legacy of Joe Eddy, Dan continues to seek Capital Community College graduates to employ and help with their growth as future architects. Currently, three AEDG employees along with Dan himself, are graduates of Capital Community College and Dan is a strong advocate for opening educational and professional doors for women and minorities in the architectural field.

AE Design Group’s clients include educational and health care institutions. One notable project completed by Dan in 2017 is the new Oncology Pavilion at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford

“Many people think about their dream job, but I am living it,” said Dan of his professional pursuits that started at Capital. “I didn’t think it would be this intense when I first ventured down this path, but the profession of architecture requires a variety of skills and knowledge to navigate and guide a project to completion.”

Jonathan Nyez (’06) MSN, RN

Jonathan Nyez, alumnus and nursing professor at Capital Community College,  was raised and educated in Hartford and has stayed in the city to pursue his nursing career and guide others to pursue the caring profession of Registered Nurse.

Jonathan Nyez (’06)

“I have been connected to this city all my life. I first started working at Hartford Hospital in 1995 after a short stint in the Navy, and still continue to work there today on the STAR team. Having graduated from the University of Hartford with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Nursing Education, I have had the tremendous opportunity to now help countless others join the nursing profession.”

“I’m living proof that sometimes school superlatives come true. I graduated from Capital’s Nursing Program in 2006, and at the time was voted ‘Most likely to come back and be a teacher in the program’. And here I am years later, helping others to achieve that same dream of becoming a nurse. My only regret is not having been voted ‘Most Handsome.’ “

Not surprisingly Jonathan Nyez serves as a mentor for today’s nursing students, having been there in the classroom and at clinical sites not so long ago, and is representative of the dedicated faculty in the Capital Community College Nursing program.

John A. Perkins (’81)  MS

John A. Perkins, an auditor in his native Barbados, arrived in Connecticut in 1977.  Working at The Hartford Insurance Group he trained college graduate recruits who received promotions after their first year of employment. When he broached the subject of promotion with his own supervisors he was often told “you know what you are doing but you do not have that piece of paper.” Determined to get that “piece of paper” John enrolled at Greater Hartford Community College, now Capital Community College, in the fall of 1978 and graduated in the spring of 1981 as he worked full time and raised a family.

John Perkins ’81

While at Capital, John was often chosen by the head of the Accounting Department, to mentor students who were struggling with their accounting class. Earning his associate’s degree, Perkins went on to Central CT State University for his B.S. in Accounting and Marketing and Bay Path University for a Master’s degree in Communication and Information Management.

His work career included seven years as a Senior Accountant with The Hartford Insurance Group, seventeen years as a Senior Financial Analyst at the Hartford Courant and nineteen years with Hartford Public Schools from where he retired in March 2020 as a Data Manager.  Over the years, John has received many awards and accolades in recognition of his voluntary service to the community that now includes serving as Assistant Treasurer of the College’s nonprofit foundation.

One of John’s wishes is that all alumni share their experiences and knowledge gained at Capital so others can benefit from the programs and services offered by this great institution. He is of the premise and believes Capital Community College has been good to us so let us be good to Capital and the world we encounter.

Capital’s Alumni Wall of Fame, launched at the 2019 Changing Lives Gala, is located at the College’s 2nd Floor Welcome Center near the Main Street windows and the Walter J. Markiewicz Community Room.  Inductees’ pictures and biographies are featured alongside a permanent Wall of Fame plaque recognizing an alumni class each year.


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Capital Community College receives $3 million Hispanic Serving Institutions Grant

Capital Community College has won a $3 million, five-year federal grant to improve student achievement and increase retention and graduation rates of low-income students at the two-year school located in downtown Hartford.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Title V Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) program awarded funds for the College’s Cultivating All-Inclusive Student Achievement (CASA) project that will enhance a guided career pathways curriculum, create contextualized learning and improve the first-year experience for Hispanic and low-income students enrolled in associate degree programs.

CCC Foundation

“Capital Community College is a Hispanic Serving institution and this grant will provide much needed long-term support to move the success needle for our Hispanic students and all students,” said CCC Chief Executive Officer G. Duncan Harris. “Hispanic Heritage Month begins this month on September 15th and this is an awesome way to begin our month long celebration.”

Relying on a coaching model to improve student outcomes, the CASA project will add new interventions and supports for career and financial planning from college entry and choosing a major through graduation.  The grant is designed to link work-based learning experiences aligned with areas of study and embed financial literacy into teaching and learning and a student support component called the Pathways Commons.  The project seeks to improve the College’s year-to-year retention rate by 10 percent and its three-year graduation rate by five percent over the grant period.

“Our students, many of whom are the first members of their families to get to college, will benefit from the Title V grant by providing supports and intensive interventions to help them persist and graduate,” said Miah LaPierre-Dreger, Ed.D., the Dean of Academic and Student Affairs. “The grant gives faculty and staff much needed resources to help students succeed from the day they enroll. It will engage more students in courses tied to careers and improve academic achievement toward transfer and graduation.” 

Dr. LaPierre-Dreger will serve as the CASA Project Director.

About Capital Community College

Capital Community College is an urban, two-year institution enrolling more than 3,000 (2019) students in Connecticut’s capital city. The college offers 60 academic programs in accredited studies preparing students for associate degrees, certificates and transfer, while its non-credit offerings prepare students for the immediate needs of the Connecticut workforce.  Capital, one of New England’s most diverse campuses, was the first college in Connecticut to be designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution. The Capital Community College experience revolves around its historic eleven-story, Art Deco building in the heart of downtown Hartford, which offers unprecedented access to the city’s cultural and employment offerings. 

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Changing Lives 2020: October 23rd “No-Go” Gala Will Support Programs For Health Care Heroes, Recognize Alumni

Inductees for Capital Community College’s Alumni Wall of Fame will be recognized at a virtual Changing Lives Gala on Friday October 23, 2020, continuing an annual event that has supported scholarships and programs since 2004.

The “No-Go”  Gala for Hartford’s Community College, honoring a 2020 Alumni Wall of Fame class, will focus on the College’s nationally accredited programs of study for health care heroes that educate nurses, paramedics, first  responders and  radiologic technologists.  Proceeds will benefit Nursing and Health Careers and Public Safety Divisions and the scholarship program.

An in-person Gala originally scheduled for the Gershon Fox Ballroom at the former G. Fox & Company building has been cancelled because of the pandemic, according to John McNamara, staff liaison to the College Foundation and Advancement Director.

“The public health crisis, however, only magnifies the need to support resources for student success and to provide financial assistance for students facing hardships during the pandemic,” he said. “That’s why the streaming No-Go Gala will continue the tradition of “Changing Lives” as the College Foundation invites the community to support Capital’s mission of access and career opportunity.”

The “No-Go”  Gala for Hartford’s Community College will be streamed on social media and online with five ways to participate:

  • Purchase a Changing Lives Ticket At the Supporter, Friend or Alumni donation level
  • Become a sponsor for recognition in college and foundation media and publications.
  • Learn about the College’s professional programs for Health Care Heroes that educate nurses, paramedics, radiologic technologists and medical assistants.
  • Bid at the online Best of Capital silent auction October 19 through October 23, 2020
  • Watch the 2020 Class of Alumni Wall of Fame inductees share their stories.

The 2019 Gala raised funds for scholarships and the newly-established Center for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion when five distinguished alumni were recognized with the launch of the Wall of Fame located in the College’s Welcome Center atrium.

Join us with a contribution of your choice.  For more information and event sponsor benefits contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 860-906-5102; .




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P2P: How friends can help friends raise funds for their cause @ Capital

Peer-to-peer fundraising, also known as P2P, empowers board members, faculty, staff and alumni to raise funds for a cause that is important to them.

P2P is not a new way to support a worthy nonprofit organization or cause. The lion’s share of giving has always sprung from individuals reaching out to their peers and networks personally to attend a reception, buy a table at an annual event or make a donation in lieu of a birthday gift.

Capital Chief Executive Officer Duncan Harris, for example, took to his Facebook page in July for his 50th birthday and started a fundraising page linked to the Capital Community College Foundation. His one-week 50th birthday campaign netted more than $4,000 from 70 donors, matched by another $2,000 in support of initiatives for the CEO Student Support Fund.  Initiatives such as a Black & Latino Male Teacher Preparation program and “Brother 2 Brother” support activities will benefit.

CEO Duncan Harris’ one-week 50th Birthday Peer To Peer (P2P) campaign raised $6,000 on Facebook.

During the 2020 pandemic most if not all face-to-face interactions have been put on hold because of the necessity of social distancing.  Online giving and social media, however, can give an individual or a team of individuals technology tools to encourage the generosity of others.

At Capital Community College the cause may be raising funds for a scholarship in honor or memory of a family member or favorite professor.  It can be inviting family, friends and neighbors to support one of the programs of study that propelled you to the baccalaureate and your career.  Or, it can simply be a desire to help students through an emergency microgrant or book stipend when they don’t have the funds to make ends meet to stay in school.

Donations– no matter the amount – support a mission of educational access and academic success for students who face financial and personal challenges in getting to and graduating from college without debt.

Last spring at the height of COVID-19’s public health threat Donna Brown-Roberts from Capital Community College’s Advancement Office created a personal fundraising page of her own through the College Foundation’s Network for Good Giving platform to raise funds for the Capital Cares Emergency Microgrant Fund.

“My peer-to-peer fundraising page goal of $1,000 was achieved by June 30th,” said Brown-Roberts.  “I exceeded my goal and raised $1,055.  It was easier than I anticipated. You just need to connect with your family, friends and colleagues, and watch the donations accumulate. It was just that simple.”

Capital Community College Foundation’s online giving platform welcomes friends and donors to create a personal giving page or become part of a team to raise funds that can sustain scholarships and programs at Hartford’s community college. 

For more information please contact the Institutional Advancement and Foundation office at or by calling (860) 906-5102. You may start the process by registering for a personal giving page at CCC Network For Good Onboarding.

The Value of Giving to Capital Community College

$166 supports a credit hour of study ($1,992 full time tuition per semester)
$700 meets the costs of textbooks and learning materials
$50-$750 provides a microgrant to address hardships and emergencies.




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Community Service Award Honors Memory Of Tanya Cleveland-Wiggins, Campus Food Pantry Coordinator

A new Community Service Award that recognizes the life and volunteerism of Tanya Cleveland-Wiggins has been established by the Capital Community College Foundation with the support of her family and donors.

Ms. Wiggins, who died September 11, 2019 at the age of 61, was a non-traditional student  who was completing her associate degree studies at the time of her passing and an indispensable source of support at the campus food pantry.

Tanya Cleveland-Wiggins

At last May’s virtual commencement exercises  Tanya was awarded an honorary degree posthumously. Capital CEO G. Duncan Harris announced  the honorary degree approved by the Board of Regents for Higher Education and introduced Tanya’s daughters, Ericka Weathers and Deirdra Wiggins, who thanked the college for the recognition of their mother. Ms. Cleveland-Wiggins,  devoted to her family and 13 grandchildren, was only a few credits shy of earning her associate’s degree in pursuit of college that started 40 years ago in West Virginia.

“She loved the community of Hartford, the youth in particular,” Ms. Cleveland-Wiggins’ commencement biography said. “Nearly everything she did, paid work or volunteer work, was in service to others….She had an immense appreciation for education – pushing herself, her children, and others to pursue and complete their personal and professional goals. She went above and beyond to encourage and cheer for individuals that she encountered; and was just as persistent and committed to her own academic journey, as evidenced by her re-enrollment in school.”

The Community Service Award in memory of Tanya Cleveland-Wiggins is a scholarship that will be awarded to a student or students starting in the 2020-2021 academic year. Recipients will be graduates of a Hartford high school, residents of Greater Hartford, enrolled part time, demonstrate financial need, maintain satisfactory academic progress, and is active in service to others in Hartford.

The scholarship fund has already surpassed its $6,000 goal. To contribute by check please download and mail the Tanya Cleveland-Wiggins Memorial Fund Contribution Form to the Capital Community College Foundation, 950 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103. A secure online contribution may be made at the Tanya Cleveland-Wiggins Community Service Award Fund Page .

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A 50th Wedding Anniversary Boosts Nursing Scholarship

Family and Friends Support The Adam E. Staszko Memorial Scholarship

Joan and Steve Egbertson marked their 50th wedding anniversary in May and turned a family celebration into gifts to the College’s Associate Degree in Nursing program.

Faculty Emerita Egbertson retired in 2012 from the nursing program. To give something back she created a scholarship in memory of her father, Adam Edward Staszko. She’s supported the memorial scholarship every year since.

Joan Egbertson

But for the coronavirus, the Egbertsons’ milestone was to be a social gathering at Crystal Peak in Winchester, a popular site for weddings and anniversary parties.

In lieu of a banquet, however, family, friends, former colleagues and neighbors are responding with gifts in support of the memorial scholarship named for Joan’s father. “Your presence is your gift” read the invitation to invitees and the “RSVPs” are still coming in.

Joan’s personal giving has now multiplied into nearly 40 gifts  sent to Dawn R. Bunting, the Nursing Division Director. The  anniversary donations will make more Adam E Staszko scholarships possible in 2021.

The Adam E. Staszko Memorial Scholarship is one of six faculty-recommended scholarships for nursing majors made possible by annual and endowment gifts to the Foundation. They are awarded every May at the College’s annual Student Awards Night.

In addition to the Staszko award, they include the Laurel Anderson Memorial Scholarship, the Eileen Helwig Memorial Scholarship, the George J. and Anna T. Repicky Memorial Award, the Judee R. Lauria Memorial Award and the Scholarship in honor of Dannie Kennedy. This year 14 Registered Nurse (RN) candidates received awards totalling $9,300, including three recipients who received the Staszko scholarship. Overall the College Foundation provided $90,000 in financial aid to Capital students in 2019-2020.

CCC’s nationally accredited Associate Degree in Nursing Program is one of the highest enrolled degree-granting RN programs in the state and region and the first established at Connecticut’s community colleges in 1974. Five other community colleges are now a part of the Connecticut Community College Nursing Program (CT-CCNP) that offers a four-semester, 68 credit curriculum leading to the associate degree and RN licensure.

A nursing lab class on the campus of Capital Community College.

Giving To Capital Community College Foundation

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Colleagues Remember CIS Professor Ken Carpenter As A Dedicated Teacher With A Passion For Art and Technology

Professor Emeritus Ken Carpenter, who taught Computer Information Systems (CIS) for 26 years at Capital Community College, is being remembered by alumni and colleagues as “an outstanding teacher, mentor and friend.”

Carpenter, 80, died peacefully at his Wethersfield home May 28th.

Professor Emeritus Ken Carpenter

Donations to the Capital Community College Foundation Scholarship Fund are being accepted in his memory at the request of his family.

Recalling Carpenter as her “next door office neighbor” when she started at Capital, Dr. Miah LaPierre-Dreger, Dean of Academic and Student Affairs and a former Chair of Business and Technology Department, says “his passion for teaching, his love for our students, and his ability to view life through the eyes of a cartoonist were evident and inspiring to those around him. It was a privilege to call him a mentor, colleague and friend.”

The current Business and Technology Chair, Seth Freeman, also praised Carpenter as both a mentor and colleague: “I learned a great deal from Ken when I first joined the Business and Technology department as an adjunct and even more when I became full-time. I found Ken to be extremely knowledgeable and always interested in learning new tools and techniques for computer programming and specifically computer animation. Ken was always kind and supportive. He was committed to serving our students and our College.”

Professor Carpenter, an avid gardener, painter and lover of animation, intertwined technology instruction with a passion for art and cartooning. Carpenter’s interests in art and technology influenced and enthused students in CIS outside the classroom. He founded and advised the Animation Club that encouraged members to learn and apply computer graphics in creative ways.

“Good-Hearted College” Ken Carpenter’s painting on the CCC campus.

Upon his retirement in 2012 his colleagues recognized Carpenter for his teaching and collegiality with a plaque and presented a pear tree for planting in his home garden that he and his wife Donna tended and cultivated. Two of Carpenter’s paintings hang outside his old office on the campus’ 6th floor as a reminder of his contributions to the college and its students.

Carpenter, a U.S. Army veteran, grew up in Bridgeport graduating from Central High School. He went on to the University of Bridgeport for undergraduate degrees, master’s and Sixth Year degrees in education. He previously was a teacher at Waltersville and Franklin Schools in Bridgeport before joining the CCC faculty.

Memorial donations in Ken’s name may be made to the Capital Community College Foundation (Scholarship Fund) at 950 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103,

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CCC Honors Paramedics During EMS Week

Capital Community College (CCC) has recognized the work of  Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel now on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

Capital CEO G. Duncan Harris officially acknowledged the work of EMS practitioners during EMS Week May 17-23 , a week observed nationally since 1974.

CCC’s nationally accredited Paramedic Program, established in 1988 in partnership with Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, prepares students for careers as paramedics, emergency medical technicians, hospital and public health coordinators and first responders.

“During my time at CCC, and as a member of the CCC Paramedic Advisory Board, I’ve learned much about the rigorous requirements to enter the paramedic field,” said Harris in a Commencement Week message to the campus. “CCC has one of the longest standing programs in the state and serves as a primary training ground for our state’s paramedics.”

Amid the COVID-19 public health crisis, the College has been authorized to educate a new cohort of incoming paramedic professionals this summer, one of only two on ground  programs to be offered at the downtown Hartford campus as distance learning continues for other programs.

Harris praised the work of Dr. Dan Tauber, Professor and Program Director, who last year received the Paul Winfield Smith Award for Educational Excellence from the Connecticut Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Council.  Tauber joined the faculty in 1994 and has been program director since 2018.

“I’ve seen the way he pours himself into his students,” said Harris. “It’s clear that he is aware that lives are on the line and are connected to the competency with which he ensures our students have the training and knowledge they need to meet the high standards.  It’s been an honor supporting his work and the work of the committed faculty and staff in the department.”

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Think Globally, Act Locally: Capital Community College Foundation Joins “Giving Tuesday Now” May 5th

On Tuesday, May 5th Capital Community College (CCC) Foundation joins a global generosity movement started in 2012.

Giving Tuesday — a day set aside in December each year to encourage philanthropy and acts of kindness,  is happening now in response to the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis hitting every community globally and locally.

For community college students financial and personal burdens are growing during the pandemic. While distance learning continues, new hardships will confront students in the days and weeks ahead.

At Capital Community College donations– no matter the amount – support a mission of educational access and academic success for students who face financial and personal challenges in getting to and graduating from college without debt.

Donate Now

  • $166 supports a credit hour of study ($1,992 full time tuition per semester)
  • $286 covers fees and transportation per student each semester
  • $700 meets the costs of textbooks and learning materials
  • $50-$750 can provide a Capital Cares microgrant to address hardships and emergencies.

Where Does My Gift Go?

100% of gifts go where donors want.  Capital relies on contributions to the Annual Fund to provide a critical margin necessary for new scholarships, tutoring, advising and resources for teaching and learning.  Friends may donate securely online or print a Gift Reply Form and return to CCC Foundation, 950 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103.

Think Globally. Act Locally

  • Support healthcare workers by donating supplies, advocating for them, and staying home.
  • Give to the organizations that you love most – no amount is too little and nonprofits need our support, including the Capital Community College Foundation
  • Help out small businesses by buying gift cards or writing an online review.
  • Combat loneliness by reaching out to a neighbor, relative, seniors or veterans.

 For more information on gift opportunities, the downtown campus and college programs contact the Institutional Advancement Office at 860-906-5102. Email:

Donate Now


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