The original Knox Foundation was established in 1966 to carry out the vision of Betty Knox, a Hartford philanthropist, activist and member of the Court of Common Council. The foundation focused on civic engagement/downtown renewal and on beautifying Hartford through horticulture. In 1977, those two distinct areas of interest became separate organizations. The foundation’s assets were divided between Knox Parks (now known as Knox Inc.) and today’s Betty Knox Foundation, dedicated to supporting organizations that help under-served Hartford residents.
As an engaged participant in Hartford’s civic and political life, Elizabeth “Betty” Knox served six terms on Hartford’s City Council. Her commitment to urban renewal, parks, housing and the well-being of Hartford’s young residents was the driving influence of her personal, political and professional life. She was active in the Hartford League of Women Voters and and fought for residential zoning protection, city playgrounds and concerts in the parks. During World War II, she opened a day-care center for working mothers. Betty’s generosity helped establish the Betty Knox apartments near St. Francis, bring the Bushnell Park carousel downtown and create 20 community gardens.
Betty was born in Hartford on November 1, 1908. She was the daughter of insurance executive Robert C. Knox and his wife Estelle Lethbridge Knox. Betty died in 1966 at the age of 57. Ms. Knox left about $2.5 million in her will for a charitable foundation.
To promote the vitality of the City of Hartford by making small grants to community non-profit organizations that are working to address Hartford’s most pressing social, economic and cultural needs.