The Guilford Foundation Launches Challenge Grant to Save Town's Iconic Grass Island Red Shack

Monday, May 13, 2024

In support of the community's rally to restore the iconic Grass Island Red Shack, The Guilford Foundation (TGF), in collaboration with the Guilford Preservation Alliance (GPA), is launching the Save the Shack Challenge Grant. Over seven days (Monday, May 13 – Monday, May 20), TGF will match donations to repair the Red Shack, dollar for dollar, up to $7,500. The estimated cost to repair the structure, which has been sitting in the same place on the East River for the last 73 years, is $75,000. The Guilford Preservation Alliance quickly stepped up to coordinate the donations. The community can contribute through a PayPal donation link on the GPA website. The Guilford Foundation Executive Director Liza Janssen Petra commented, "We're grateful to the GPA for its quick action to preserve our beloved Shack. Close to $19,000 has been raised to date thanks to incredibly generous neighbors and friends. We believe in the power of our community and hope to tap into the momentum with our Save the Shack Challenge Grant. It's an opportunity for those who haven't contributed to double their impact and show support for the iconic structure." The Town of Guilford allocated $15,000 in ARPA funding in November 2023 to move the Grass Island Shack to address the erosion issue. The town secured permits, collaborated with regulatory agencies to ensure no impact on endangered species, and engaged contractors and engineers to coordinate the relocation. On April 11, a storm with extremely high winds and a lunar tide pushed the Shack off its pilings and into the water. "It's unfortunate that Mother Nature beat us to the punch. However, in a classic Guilford response, contractors Tom Tolla of Construction Services Unlimited and Mike Donofrio of East Guilford Construction volunteered to move the structure away from the water's edge to safety and install temporary pilings,” explained First Selectman Matt Hoey. “It's heartwarming to see the outpouring of community support for preserving this landmark for future generations." GPA Treasurer Tim Sperry added, "The Guilford Preservation Alliance’s mission is to help conserve and protect historic buildings. The Red Shack is undoubtedly an important part of our town’s history. We're honored to spearhead the fundraising effort and excited to partner with TGF on their Save the Shack Matching Grant. We hope this campaign creates momentum to reach our $75,000 fundraising goal.” The Guilford Foundation's Save the Shack Challenge Grant closes at midnight on May 20. All funds raised during the seven days will be matched dollar for dollar up to $7,500. Contributions are tax-deductible and will go directly to the Town of Guilford to restore and preserve the Grass Island Red Shack. About The Guilford Foundation The Guilford Foundation is a trusted philanthropic partner established in 1975 when five friends organized an effort to beautify the area around the town green. To ensure the perpetuity of their vision, the founders established a source for long-term funding. Over the past four decades, this endowment has expanded in scope and impact and now exceeds $6 million, awarding over $2.2 million in grants and scholarships. Areas of distribution include children and families, basic needs, mental health, youth and education, social services, social justice, seniors, natural environment, and arts and culture. The mission of The Guilford Foundation is to enrich the quality of life in the community by connecting people who care with causes that matter, now and for generations to come. TGF is recognized as a responsive, collaborative, and trusted leader that takes the long view toward making a lasting impact in the community. For more information about The Guilford Foundation, visit

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