The Partnership for Connecticut


Learn more about the Partnership for Connecticut, including why it was formed, what it does, and who it helps.

How and why did the Partnership form?

Governor Lamont, bipartisan legislative leaders, and Dalio Philanthropies formed the Partnership to expand upward mobility in Connecticut by connecting disengaged and disconnected high school-aged youth (14-24) to educational and career opportunities, and by supporting economic development in under-resourced communities through microfinance and social entrepreneurship.

We created the Partnership in response to the state’s current challenges:

  • More than one out of every five high school students in Connecticut are either disengaged or disconnected from school
  • The annual fiscal impact of high school dropouts on the state budget – in terms of lost revenue and additional expenses – is more than $900 million
  • Connecticut ranks among the highest states in terms of income inequality
  • Employers across the state are looking to hire skilled workers in historic and emerging industries, and we are struggling as a state to meet these needs

How will the Partnership work?

The Partnership will leverage community expertise and administer resources where we can make an impact, utilizing practices with demonstrated positive impact in Connecticut or other states and communities.  Dalio Philanthropies, the State of Connecticut, and other funders will contribute funds to the independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which will manage the funds in a transparent and accountable manner.  The governing board and President & CEO will lead the Partnership.  The organization will have its own staff, who will take the lead in developing program criteria, encouraging proposals, and deciding which programs and projects to support.

What is the Partnership for Connecticut, Inc.?

The Partnership for Connecticut, Inc. is a newly-formed independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established for the philanthropic purpose of achieving the Partnership’s mission and goals.  The Partnership’s affairs and operations are controlled by its governing board.  Please visit Governing Board to learn more about its composition. 

Was the organization created by the state legislature?

No.  The Partnership for Connecticut, Inc. was incorporated under the Connecticut Revised Nonstock Corporation law on May 28, 2019.

What’s the rationale for an independent non-profit organization?

Forming and supporting the non-profit organization demonstrates the genuine nature of this collaboration as well as the shared commitment toward achieving its mission.  The organization enables the programmatic strategy to be designed and implemented as a coherent, integrated initiative.  The organization’s independence also ensures that the Partnership can operate effectively and efficiently, making adjustments as necessary to advance positive outcomes.  The Partnership requires a team to lead the work and the organization creates a way to attract and hire excellent staff, as well as diverse and accomplished governing board directors.  The organization also increases the likelihood of raising additional private sector contributions in support of the Partnership’s projects and programs. 

Who serves on the organization’s board and why were they chosen?

The Partnership’s governing board includes 13 directors who reflect the initiative’s collaborative and bipartisan nature.  Please visit Governing Board to learn more about the individuals who comprise this diverse and representative board.  The four legislative leaders joined the board because it offers an unprecedented opportunity to help Connecticut’s young people and communities.  Governor Lamont is a director and appointed three additional directors to the board; and Dalio Philanthropies appointed four directors to the board.  The directors were appointed based on their experience in public education, youth development, workforce development, philanthropy, or community enterprise development, including social entrepreneurship and microfinance.  The final director is the organization’s President & CEO, who will join the board once she or he is hired.

What is the Partnership’s process for hiring its leadership and staff?

The Partnership’s governing board will hire the President & CEO as soon as possible, ideally as the first staff member of the organization.  We expect the competitive search process to take several months.  Once this person is hired, she or he will work with the governing board to develop an organizational chart and hire staff with relevant expertise.  Hiring and developing a first-rate team will be a critical part of the Partnership’s success in its first year.  Please visit Leadership Staff to learn more about this important topic.

How will the public know how funds are being spent?

This website will provide detailed information about the Partnership’s Organizational Budget and Grants. The Partnership will also issue semi-annual Reports about its progress, learnings, and outcomes.  Additionally, where the Partnership’s grantees are public agencies, the agencies themselves will share information about how the funds are being spent.   

What is the organization’s duration?

The organization could either sunset at the end of the five-year period or, if successful in executing its mission and attracting additional funds to sustain its operations, be sustained as an ongoing effort to advance inclusive educational and economic opportunity in Connecticut. 

How will the Partnership decide which projects to select?

The Partnership will encourage, vet, and support specific projects and programs.  Working in collaboration with staff, the Partnership’s governing board will have responsibility for making funding decisions consistent with the mission and goals.  Broadly speaking, projects will be selected for their potential to advance positive youth outcomes, spark community-centered economic revitalization, and provide greater opportunity in under-resourced communities throughout Connecticut.  The governing board will work with the President & CEO to establish additional transparent criteria for soliciting and evaluating proposals and project performance.

Will the Partnership support only pre-existing projects and programs?

No.  The Partnership will consider all projects and programs aligned to its mission and criteria, including new ones created to serve the Partnership’s target population and achieve its goals.

Who will benefit from the Partnership?

The Partnership will benefit Connecticut’s under-resourced communities, with a specific focus on communities where there is a high poverty rate and where youth and young adults between the ages of 14 and 24 are showing signs of disengagement or disconnection from high school, the workforce, or the community.

Why is the Partnership focusing on disengaged and disconnected youth (ages 14-24)?

All of the stakeholders involved in this collaboration are strong believers in the importance of public education.  They believe that equal opportunity to have basic care, good education, and employment is what is fair and best for our collective well-being. If young people are disengaged or disconnected, they will be unable to have the kinds of opportunities that lead to success as an adult.

More than one out of every five high school students in Connecticut are either disengaged or disconnected from school.  Our collective failure to meet the needs of young people who are showing signs of disengagement or disconnection amounts to almost $1 billion in lost public revenue and additional expenses. Engaging our youth would spark a virtuous cycle for both these young people and the state as a whole: stronger schools, higher employment, fewer individuals struggling with incarceration or addiction, healthier and more prosperous communities, and more rapid and sustainable economic growth. In a period when public and private sector leaders in Connecticut are focused on solving the economic and societal challenges the state faces, it is impossible to ignore the potential represented by tens of thousands of young people in need of support and opportunity.

What is the significance of the Partnership’s logo?

The logo reflects the colors in Connecticut’s flag.  The blue squares represent public education, government, philanthropy, and employers.  The yellow squares represent communities in the north, south, east, and west of the state.  The star denotes how everyone will hopefully come together to generate ideas and solutions that ultimately spread across Connecticut to help youth and young adults graduate from high school and connect to upwardly-mobile career opportunities.