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William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund


Last Updated: 2016-05-29

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

  • Family foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $113,104,551

Total giving: $3,205,219






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.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Connecticut Center for School Change Grants

The Connecticut Center for School Change (CCSC), that begun in 1994 as a fund initiative, is a nonprofit organization that supports comprehensive reform of Connecticut's schools. The Center supports and facilitates efforts at comprehensive reform through grants, technical assistance, workshops, statewide conferences and seminars, research on policy issues affecting educational reform, and partnerships with other agencies and institutions committed to systemic change. The Center focuses its efforts on redesigning systems versus supporting projects. The Center supports school and district-level change, public policy and research, leadership development, community engagement, as well as early care and education. Please contact: The Connecticut Center for School Change, 151 New Park Ave., Hartford, CT 06106, tel.: (860) 586-2340, Fax: (860) 586-7360, or URL: for details about the grant application process and schedule.

Corinne G. Levin Education Fund Grants

This fund, established in 1998, is designed to enhance access to and the quality of education for all children in Connecticut. The fund aims to strengthen mutual trust and respect between parents and educators by supporting opportunities to work together. The Levin Fund welcomes proposals from diverse community and school groups serving children at several levels: day care, pre-school, and kindergarten through grade eight. Preference is given to small projects that: promote partnerships, build the capacity of parents and teachers regarding educational innovation, provide opportunities for the self-directed continuing education of educators, provide in-school education resources for parents, support study/discussion groups to create common understanding of educational concerns, or provide workshops that build concepts/skills to improve education for young children. Grants awarded range from $500 to $1,000. The Levin Fund seeks partnerships with: parents, school administrators, teachers, and community based nonprofit organizations. To request the Levin Fund application form and guidelines, call the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund office at tel.: (203) 230-3330, ext. 13.

Discovery Grants

The aim of the fund is to partner with 53 communities in order to improve the lives of children from birth to age eight. The 53 communities include priority school districts, transition districts, and districts with severe needs schools (these have been identified by the State Department of Education). The goal is to build upon and enhance the vision of a community to develop a seamless early care and education system that guarantees every child the opportunities necessary for his or her optimal development. The fund seeks partnerships with: parents, school administrators, teachers, nonprofit organizations, local and state officials and agencies, advocacy organizations, and the business community. Applications are accepted by invitation only.

Discovery Statewide & Regional Grants

Grants will be made to support one or more of the three fund objectives through policy research, advocacy, data analysis, developing systems change strategies, constituency building, community conversations, or creating public information campaigns. Within this grant program, the fund has a special interest in organizations and strategies that can help it to build links among local efforts, statewide or regional organizations, national resources, and the Connecticut communities eligible for Discovery grants. The aim is to create a network of communications, information, and assistance among local communities and statewide entities working to improve the lives of young children. The fund seeks partnerships with: advocacy organizations, research organizations, statewide and regional nonprofit organizations, local and state officials and agencies, the business community, parent groups, and educators. These grants are made through an invitation to apply process.

Program-Related Investment

The foundation has made PRIs in the form of low or no-cost loans for the development and construction of early childhood education facilities.

Fields of Interest

  • Early childhood education
  • Elementary education
  • Nonprofits
  • Philanthropy
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Children
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ethnic and racial groups
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Students

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $113,104,551 (market value)

Gifts received: $160,142

Expenditures: $6,715,099

Total giving: $3,205,219

Qualifying distributions: $5,932,267