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William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund


Last profile update: 05/23/2017
Last grant data update: 08/30/2017

At A Glance

William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund

1 Hamden Ctr., 2319 Whitney Ave., Ste. 2B

Hamden, CT United States 06518-3509

Telephone: (203) 230-3330


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor






Established in 1964 in NY - The fund first opened its doors in Connecticut on Aug. 6, 1993, with the understanding that embracing the field of education was a most appropriate memorial to the fund’s namesake and to the Graustein family’s immigrant experience. William Caspar Graustein was a college professor and all of his siblings led lives greatly advantaged by education. The fund's leadership also perceived that a focus on one state and one issue could allow a relatively small family foundation to make an impact. Initially, the fund focus was: 1) to support policy research and advocacy on behalf of children; 2) to improve teaching and learning through the Connecticut Center for School Change; and 3) to engage communities and parents through the Children First Initiative. The fund's current Discovery Initiative continues today across Connecticut. In 2001, the trustees of the Memorial Fund made a six-year $15 million commitment to Discovery. In 2006, the initiative was extended through 2009 and the commitment increased to $32 million over 8 years. In 2009, the trustees approved Discovery 2010-2014, to continue the Memorial Funds support for young children from birth to age eight. Discovery supports 53 communities and other partners statewide to build a system that works for young children

Purpose and Activities

The mission of the fund is to improve the effectiveness of education in fostering both personal development and leadership. To accomplish this mission, the fund has set three goals: 1) to engage young children more deeply in their own education; 2) to support Connecticut communities in improving education for their elementary and pre-school children; and 3) to develop both statewide and local leadership dedicated to improving and advocating for education.