CT Philanthropy Digest - July 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014



Public Policy Update: House Approves Five Charitable Provisions

          On July 17, the House of Representatives passed by 277-130 the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719). The legislation makes permanent three temporary – and currently expired – provisions in the tax code that encourage charitable giving by both individuals and businesses: an enhanced tax deduction for donating food inventory, an enhanced tax deduction for donating land conservation easements, and the IRA charitable rollover. The legislation also would extend the deadline through April 15 for making charitable contributions and streamline the excise tax on foundation investment income.
          Read more about the tax extenders on the Independent Sector website >>

Report Shows Growth for Community Foundations;
CT Foundations Make Top 100 Lists

          The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that due to a high-flying stock market and an influx of gifts, community foundations’ total assets climbed to a record $66B in 2013, up from $58B the previous year, according to the most recent report on community foundations, published by CF Insights and the Council on Foundations.
          The report is based on survey responses from 285 community funds that represent more than 90 percent of assets estimated to be under the control of community foundations in the US. Highlights from the study include:
  • The field’s assets, gifts, and grants are at an all-time high - $66B in assets, $7.5B in gifts, and $4.9B in grants
  • Virtually all Columbus Survey participants experienced asset growth
  • Donor advised funds continue to be an important source of contributions for communities. 
Seven of Connecticut's 18 community foundations participated in the report and three made the Top 100 Community Foundations by Assets:          In addition Fairfield County Community Foundation, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut made the Community Foundation Benchmarks Top 100 Lists.
          “The report provides important data and benchmarks to help us understand our state’s growth in grantmaking resources and level of community investment as compared to others across the nation," said Maggie Gunther Osborn, President of Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. “Having four community foundations make the Columbus Survey Top 100 and Benchmarks lists demonstrates the generosity of our Connecticut communities and the vital role and leadership of our community foundations.”
          For more information: Maggie Gunther Osborn, Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, 860-525-5585, mosborn@CTphilanthropy.org; Calvin Harris, Council on Foundations, 703-879-0612, calvin.harris@cof.org.

SpreadMusicNow Fund Seeks Partners to Develop Young Connecticut Musicians

          BeFoundation recently established the SpreadMusicNow Fund at the Fairfield County Community Foundation to help musically-inspired children and teens in Connecticut cities develop as musicians and creative thinkers. 
          Students often lack exposure and access to the arts, particularly low-income and minority students. This arts gap contributes to the gap in students’ acquisition of 21st century skills, including collaboration, creativity, innovation, communication, problem-solving, personal responsibility and cultural awareness—skills essential to readiness for college, career and life success.
          “SpreadMusicNow encourages students interested in exploring music as a career,” said Richard J. Wenning, BeFoundation’s Executive Director. “We help them develop as musicians and build their college and career pathways.” 
          SpreadMusicNow, based in Redding, supports music instruction provided through collaborations among K-12 school systems, local and national nonprofits, higher education and cultural institutions, and professional musicians committed to giving back to the next generation. SpreadMusicNow funding will support students in Bridgeport, Hartford, Waterbury, and New Haven this summer.
          “With SpreadMusicNow, BeFoundation and its partners are building a national source of support for emerging musicians,” Wenning said. “Fairfield County Community Foundation is an ideal partner with which to build this national initiative, and Connecticut is the perfect state for us to begin our work.”
          SpreadMusicNow seeks inquiries from prospective partner organizations and educators from urban areas in Connecticut and nationally on behalf of elementary, middle and high school students who need assistance to gain access to high-quality music education and performance-based learning experiences. Students should have a passion for music, an interest in exploring music as a career, and demonstrate financial need.
          For more information: Richard Wenning, BeFoundation, 303-601-7554, rich@befoundation.org; Sallie Mitchell, Fairfield County Community Foundation, 203-750-3206, smitchell@fccfoundation.org.

CT Health Helps People of Color Access Healthcare

          The Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) has awarded $350,000 to four Connecticut nonprofit organizations to increase the diversity of consumers participating in health reform implementation and advocacy.
          “The foundation recognizes that historically, health policy decisions have not always been influenced by those most affected by inadequate health care, particularly people of color,” says Patricia Baker, president and CEO of CT Health. “But today, funders, state officials, and advocates committed to health equity recognize the need for including people of color in reforming the health care system.”
          Led by executives and/or boards of color, the organizations selected to receive grants under CT Health’s one-year initiative, Diverse Advocacy and Consumer Engagement in Health Reform, bring a unique set of skills, community relationships, and knowledge of the needs and preferences of consumers affected by inequities.
          The grantees will focus on health coverage and care access, navigation, and the creation of feedback loops that continuously improve the consumer experience of health reform. Participating in this grant program affords the organizations and their partners the opportunity to shape the next phase of health reform with the goal of expanding health equity. The four grantees are:
  • African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, Inc. (AFCAMP) (Hartford)
  • The Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut (HASC) (New London with a regional focus)
  • Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC) (Bridgeport)
  • Hispanic Federation (Hartford with statewide focus)

          To read more about the Initiative visit the Connecticut Health Foundation website >>
          For more information: Maryland Grier, Connecticut Health Foundation, 860-724-1580, Maryland@cthealth.org.


Liberty Bank Foundation Leads Collaborative to Boost
Summer Youth Employment

          Thanks to a collaborative effort led by the Liberty Bank Foundation involving three other local philanthropic funders and two municipalities, at least 50 more low-income youth in Meriden and Wallingford will be working this summer.  The partners, including Liberty Bank Foundation, the James H. Napier Foundation, the CUNO Foundation, the Meriden Foundation, and the town of Wallingford awarded a total of $35,000 in additional support for summer youth employment programs in the two towns.  
          The programs are being operated by the Youth Services Department of each town, and both have committed to absorbing the administrative costs, enabling all the grant funds to go toward wages for the young employees.  
          Teens participating in the summer youth employment program receive pre-employment preparation that emphasizes the “soft skills” required for success in the workplace: being on time, dressing appropriately, following instructions, and conducting themselves in a professional manner. They are then placed in part-time positions for up to six weeks with local employers, which may include the municipal government, the school system, nonprofits, and/or for-profit businesses.  
          The Liberty Bank Foundation has led efforts to increase the number of summer jobs for low-income youth in Middletown and Southeastern Connecticut since 2012, building funding collaborations among more than 30 local foundations, corporate giving programs, and municipalities. Over the past three years, these collaborations and the new one in Meriden and Wallingford have added almost $325,000 in funding, resulting in an additional 315 youth employed.  
          For more information: Betty Sugerman Weintraub, Liberty Bank Foundation (860) 704-2181, bweintraub@liberty-bank.com.

Travelers Foundation Supports School-to-Life Transition

          Travelers Foundation support will expand Easter Seals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut's School-to-Life Transition Program for students with disabilities.
          With an unemployment rate exceeding 70 percent, individuals with disabilities have the highest unemployment rate of any demographic segment. Services to support a School-to-Life transition are critical to prevent youth with disabilities from dropping out of school and becoming trapped in unemployment, public assistance, and isolation.
          Students in the School-to-Life Transition program are typically between the ages of 16 and 18 and have a with a wide range of disabling conditions. The expanded initiative will include educational programming and activities that promote community integration and independence.
          For more information: Danielle Huppke, Easter Seals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut, 860-270-0600 ext. 152, dhuppke@escrec.org.

Foundations Address Achievement Gap Through Literacy Fellowship 

          The Anne E. Fowler Literacy Fellowship, a new and innovative tuition-free program at the Fairfield University's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP), will better prepare classroom teachers to become master teachers and reading experts. The Fellowship is a partnership between the University and the Anne E. Fowler Foundation, with additional funding provided by The Grossman Family Foundation.
          Only 20 percent of Connecticut children from minority, poor or otherwise disadvantaged backgrounds are reading at grade level in the fourth grade. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Connecticut ranks 50th in the nation in closing the achievement gap. The University's initiative is an effort to address this gap and to promote social equity and increased social mobility. 
          The fellowship will offer up to 10 teaching fellows in 2014-15, recruiting teachers initially from Norwalk, Bridgeport and other partner districts. The fellowship will provide full tuition support, living stipends and health insurance for PreK-3 educators in public, private, and Diocese of Bridgeport schools who wish to receive advanced, specialized training in evidence-based literacy instruction. 
         "The relationship of literacy to success in all content areas and the importance of early literacy to academic achievement has been well documented," said Anne Campbell, Ph.D., associate professor of education who will coordinate the program. "The Fowler Literacy Fellows will learn and apply evidence-based literacy practices that support all students as they become proficient readers and strive to reach their full potential."
          For more information: Dr. Anne Campbell, Fairfield University, 203-254-4000, ext. 2873; Linda Franciscovich, The Grossman Family Foundation, 203-769-1492.


$8 Million Gift Will Protect Animals and the Environment

          Peter Grayson Letz, a former resident of North Stonington who died last fall, left his estate to the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut (CFECT). This $8M gift is the largest in CFECT’s 31-year history and will create the Peter Grayson Letz Fund for Animals and the Environment.
          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, all in New London County. 
          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."
          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.
          For more information: Andrew Martin, Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, 860-442-3572, andrew@cfect.org

Research Will Link Students with Caterpillars, Moths and UConn Scientist

          A scientific research grant that includes funding for Greater Hartford schoolchildren to study the legendary White Witch moth has been awarded to University of Connecticut’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology by the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
       The $56,520 grant will support three years of research, fieldwork and educational programming under the direction of David Wagner, a UConn professor who has written four books and more than 70 scientific papers on Lepidoptera, the study of butterflies and moths, and their caterpillars. 
          “Lepidoptera comprise one of the largest branches of the tree of life,” said Professor Wagner. “There are more than 15,000 species of moths and butterflies in North America. In Connecticut, more than 2,400 are recorded. They are barometers for the health of many of the planet’s ecosystems. Plus caterpillar hunting and photography is a great way for families and students to be introduced to scientific study and gain an appreciation of the vast and fascinating diversity of life forms in our backyards.” 
          A key component of the grant was a four-day Biodiversity Camp held for 18 children in grades 6 to 8 from several Greater Hartford middle schools. Participants collected, raised and photographed caterpillars while learning about the scientific method, biodiversity, DNA and climate change. The camp culminated in a 24-hour BioQuest where scientists, instructors and students recorded as many species in a given plot of land as possible over the course of the day. Professor Wagner deems it “a biological race – part contest, part scientific discovery, part education, part fun.” 
          For more information on the research and for photos of the Biodiversity Camp, visit the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving website >>
          For more information: Chris Senecal, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, 860-548-1888, csenecal@hfpg.org.

Links to More Community Foundation News

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
Scholarship Available for Harvard Business School's Governing for Nonprofit Excellence Program

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
Artist’s Resource Trust Deadline is August 1

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
Over $8,000 Awarded to Region One Athletic Programs

Community Foundation of Greater New Britain
Community Foundation Approves New Funding For Early Childhood Development Initiatives in Plainville, Southington

Community Foundation of Greater New Britain
Record-Setting Scholarship Awards Made by Community Foundation of Greater New Britain

Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut
$5,000 Matching Grant to Help Purchase New Seniors Van

Fairfield County Community Foundation
Family & Children’s Agency Receives $10,000 Grant from Fund for Women and Girls

Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
Hartford Foundation Grants Topped $29 Million in 2013

New Canaan Community Foundation
First County Bank Donates to Community Foundation


Member News

Aetna Foundation
Grant from Aetna Foundation to Improve Girls’ Health in Asylum Hill
Dime Bank Foundation
Dime Foundation Awards $2,500 to High Hopes Therapeutic Riding

Non-Member News


Benefits Corporation Breakfast Series

Thursday, July 24, 8:45 - 10:00 am, Axis 901, Manchester.
          reSEt presenting the second of two informational events on the new benefit corporation, a new type of legal entity that is beginning to find root in the law of many states and will become available in Connecticut in October 2014. This type of corporation represents a hybrid between for-profit work and charitable endeavors. Learn about the rules and regulations, proposed and adopted, surrounding this new form of corporation and the possible advantages. Register here >>

Collection Supports 100-Day Challenge to End Homelessness

Through Thursday, July 31, Starbucks in Orange, Milford and West Haven.
          Three Starbucks locations will be collecting goods throughout July for homeless neighbors who are being housed through the 100-Day Challenge to End Homelessness in New Haven.
          Donated household basics, including dish detergent, laundry detergent, sponges, toilet paper, feminine products, paper towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo and wash cloths, will give the newly housed a start and warm welcome to their new homes.
          The 100-Day Challenge launched in April with a goal of housing 75% of the region's chronically homeless by the end of July. United Way of Greater New Haven has played a leadership role in the Challenge, a collaboration between 28 local agencies that work with the homeless population. It is part of the national 100,000 Homes campaign and incorporates the work of the Rapid Results Institute, which uses the idea of creating urgency to help mobilize people and organizations to action.
          Learn more about the 100-Day Challenge to End Homelessness >>
          For more information: Josh Miamis, United Way of Greater New Haven, (203) 691-4229, jmamis@uwgnh.org.

ALICE: A Long Way from Wonderland

Friday, August, 1, 7:30 - 9:00 am, Hilton Hartford Hotel, Hartford
          Presented by the MetroHartford Alliance in partnership with United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut
          When United Way of Northern New Jersey and Rutgers University released the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report in 2012, the facts about people making ends meet financially drew statewide attention.
          Learn more about the study's impact on New Jersey and what it will mean to us when the ALICE Report for Connecticut is released on Labor Day 2014. What impact will it have on your life? Join CNBC's Ron Insana as he leads a distinguished panel: John Franklin, President and CEO, United Way of Northern New Jersey; Scott Gaul, Director of the Community Indicators Project, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; William M. Rodgers, III, PhD, Professor & Chief Economist at the Heldrich Center, Rutgers University.
          Click here to read more about the panel >>
          Click here to register for the program >>


          JOSHUA CORDAY has joined the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, Inc. (ACGT) as Senior Development Officer.
          Prior to joining ACGT, Corday served as Annual Giving Director for NewYork Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, where he increased Annual Fund revenue and developed a unique fundraising pipeline. Corday has also served as a fundraising professional at Rockland Family Shelter, United Way of Essex and West Hudson, and Special Olympics NY. He holds a BS in Political Science from University of Utah.
         “I’m delighted to join a foundation in the vanguard of treating and combating cancer,” Corday said. “ACGT is funding alternatives to traditional cancer treatments, and I’m proud to be a part of that quest”.
          Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation today announced the election of J. WILLIAR ‘BILL’ DUNLAEVY, of Lenox, MA, as the new chair of its board of directors. First elected to the board in 2006, Dunlaevy retired as CEO of Legacy Bancorp and Legacy Banks in 2011 after 16 years as chairman and CEO and a 42-year career at the bank. Dunleavy succeeds Christopher Kennan as chair.
         Newly elected board officers are: TOM QUINN (Vice Chair) of Salisbury, CT; GLORIA GAINES CALLEN (Treasurer) of Millbrook, NY; and DIANE MONTI-CATANIA (Secretary) of Salisbury, CT.
          Joining the board for his first term is CARL ‘GIF’ WHITBECK of Hudson, NY. Whitbeck is a partner at Rapport Meyers LLP in Hudson, NY. Currently the Athens town attorney in Greene County, he acted as corporation counsel to the City of Hudson from 1980 to 1999 and as town attorney for the Town of Greenport from 1986 to 1995.
          Connecticut Humanities (CTH), a statewide nonprofit that funds, produces and promotes cultural experiences for residents and visitors across the state, has named DOUGLAS G. FISHER as its new executive director.
          Most recently Fisher served as a senior officer with the consulting firm Goman+York and as executive director of New England's Knowledge Corridor, an interstate marketing collaborative. He previously led the Economic Development and Community Relations functions for Northeast Utilities, where he launched the Connecticut Main Street Program and Community Builders Institute, and helped forge New England's Creative Economy Initiative.  Earlier in his career, Fisher served in senior roles with the Connecticut General Assembly and Connecticut Business and Industry Association.
          The Melville Charitable Trust, the nation’s largest philanthropy focused exclusively on ending homelessness, announced that ROBERT M. HAGGETT, CPA, has joined its Board of Directors. Haggett is the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Newman’s Own Foundation. Prior to his work at Newman’s Own, Haggett co-founded Haggett-Longobardi, a Connecticut-based CPA firm, which combined practices with J.H. Cohn in 2007.
          Haggett is an active member of the community, currently serving as Chairman of the Board of The Discovery Center, Treasurer of the Hartford Marathon Foundation, and Board member of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy.
          KAREN M. KELLY was named vice president at First County Bank Foundation replacing KATHERINE A. HARRIS who recently retired after serving the foundation since its inception in 2001. In addition, ROSEMARY OGDEN was named secretary, taking over from Kelly. Kelly and Ogden will further promote the foundation’s mission to support local communities and organizations committed to serving others in lower Fairfield County.
         Kelly joined First County Bank in 2008 and has more than 25 years of experience in financial services marketing. She is currently senior vice president and chief marketing officer at First County Bank and had been the foundation secretary since 2009. Kelly, a resident of Norwalk, serves on the boards of Stamford Museum & Nature Center and Senior Services of Stamford. 
          Ogden joined First County Bank in 2011 and serves as corporate secretary and executive assistant to the CEO and chairman, as well as the COO and president. Rosemary has been with First County Bank Foundation since early 2012 and will continue to be responsible for the Foundation's grant administration. Ogden, a resident of Darien, is a board member of Getabout, Inc, and is a volunteer with Waveny LifeCare Network and Staying Put in New Canaan.
          CLAIRE TOW, age 83, died peacefully on July 7th at Norwalk Hospital with her loving family by her side after a 14 year struggle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS). Claire was the president of The Tow Foundation, the charitable foundation she and her husband, Leonard, founded in 1988. Through grants from the Foundation, she offered opportunities for personal success and joy, and helped to alleviate pain and suffering for countless individuals. Claire guided the family’s philanthropy to address the needs of the disadvantaged, medical research, treatment and care, the cultural arts, and higher education. Claire and Leonard Tow are members of the Giving Pledge. Read the full obituary >>


The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy is an association of grantmakers committed to promoting and supporting effective philanthropy for the public good. With members representing 112 independent, family and community foundations, federated funds, and corporate foundations and giving programs, the Council is Connecticut’s foremost resource on philanthropy. The organization benefits the larger grantmaking community, the nonprofit sector and the public in Connecticut.

For more news about philanthropy in Connecticut, go to the Council's news roomConnecticut Philanthropy Digest archives and our blog, CTPhilanthropyNotes.org.

News about Connecticut funders may be submitted to the Council for consideration. The Connecticut Philanthropy Digest is brought to you by the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. Edited by Laurie Allen.

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