Skip to content
An orange and white illustration of a sun, bird, and city skyline representing CHEFA logo for the organization.
May 14, 2024

Turning Pages: A Philanthropic Milestone with Freedom Reads and CHEFA

In the realm of Connecticut philanthropy, an innovative enterprise capital grant award from the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA) is helping the Hamden-based non-profit, Freedom Reads to build “freedom libraries,” in every correctional facility throughout the country, starting right here in Connecticut.

Earlier this month, CHEFA Executive Director, Jeanette W. Weldon joined Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, and Freedom Reads Founder and CEO, Dwayne Betts to announce the $400,000 enterprise capital grant, and highlight the ways it will support the organization’s growth and mission. 

This grant marks a significant step forward in philanthropic innovation, representing the first-of-its-kind grant funding in Connecticut. Unlike traditional grants, the Enterprise Capital Grant is designed to provide long-term, flexible capital to support Freedom Reads’ sustainability and statewide expansion efforts. It underscores CHEFA’s dedication to fostering equitable opportunities for all Connecticut residents.

Founded in 2020 by Dwayne Betts, Freedom Reads has already made remarkable strides, establishing over 300 libraries in prisons across multiple states. Its mission—to empower incarcerated individuals through literature and post-release employment opportunities—resonates deeply with CHEFA’s vision of enhancing the quality of life for all residents.

But CHEFA’s support extends beyond financial assistance. Through the leadership of individuals like Dwayne Betts, we are reminded of the transformative power of literature and the importance of fostering hope and opportunity, even in the most challenging of circumstances.

As we celebrate this historic grant award, we are reminded that every person, regardless of their circumstances, deserves the opportunity to imagine new possibilities and pursue a brighter future. This grant exemplifies the impactful nature of CHEFA’s grant program and shows how together, with organizations like Freedom Reads, CHEFA’s grant program is providing critical support for nonprofits undertaking impactful work throughout Connecticut.