Community Foundation Receives $8 Million for Animal Welfare and Environment

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Largest gift in Foundation’s history will be used to protect animals and the environment and promote environmental education

NEW LONDON, CT -- Peter Grayson Letz, a former resident of North Stonington who died on September 22, 2013, left his residuary estate, which is expected to be approximately $8 million, to the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut (CFECT) for the purposes of promoting animal welfare and protecting the environment and wildlife in New London County. It is the largest gift in CFECT’s 31-year history and will create the PETER GRAYSON LETZ FUND FOR ANIMALS AND THE ENVIRONMENT.

According to the provisions of the estate, the gift will be used to support and benefit animals (both domestic pets and wildlife) and for the preservation of the environment with an emphasis on environmental education.  Attorney Suzanne Kitchings (Kitchings & Potter) and David Zuckerbraun, an attorney with The Washington Trust Company, informed the Community Foundation of the gift in Fall 2013 and continue to work with the Foundation to carry out the final arrangements of Letz’ gift.

Maryam Elahi, CFECT president and CEO said the gift is a wonderful example of how the synergistic partnership between philanthropically inclined individuals and families, their advisors and community foundations can result in a meaningful legacy gift that has far-reaching impact on the region.

“Although we did not have a personal working relationship with Peter Letz, the Community Foundation has had a long relationship with Peter’s late parents through their own philanthropic endeavors,” Elahi said. “It is very clear to us and to those representing his estate that he saw that entrusting his gift to the Community Foundation would carry out his wish to support the issues he really cared about. We plan to magnify the social impact of this gift by  investing in companies that are deemed to be environmentally friendly and sensitive to animal rights We believe this additional step would have greatly pleased Mr. Letz."

“Community foundations like CFECT are playing a greater role in helping people support critical issues in their communities,” said Paul Nunes, Chair of the CFECT Board. “We can provide guidance and technical support along with a base of regional knowledge to advise donors who want to make an impact.”

In the coming months CFECT will be holding focus groups and working with environmental and animal welfare groups and community leaders to develop a long-term plan for deploying the approximately $320,000 this permanently endowed fund will generate in grant dollars each year. The Community Foundation holds nine funds focused on animals and the environment with combined assets of $13 million, including the Letz gift.

Peter Letz was the son of George P. Letz and Beverly Gray Letz, residents of Groton for more than 60 years. He attended Pine Point School and Fitch High School. His father was a graduate of MIT and spent the majority of his career with Electric Boat. The elder Letzes established a scholarship fund with CFECT in 1989 for students attending Fitch High School and created a similar fund in 2009 to aid graduates of North Stonington’s Wheeler High School through a provision in their estate plan. Peter had one brother, Christopher, who predeceased him.

About Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut
The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut stewards an endowment of $51 million and is comprised of 430 charitable funds.  CFECT has a service area of 42 towns and has awarded more than $29 million in grants and scholarships to area nonprofits and students since its founding in 1983. For donors, CFECT offers a complete toolkit for charitable giving, expert assistance in learning more about the causes they care about, and the opportunity to join others with similar interests to learn and give together. For the community at large, CFECT offers a permanent, growing source of grant monies, as well as a common meeting ground and leadership on important issues in eastern Connecticut.



Andrew J Martin
Director of Communications
Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut


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