NEW CANAAN, CT -- New Canaan Community Foundation was founded in 1977 as a volunteer organization and hired its first staff person in 2002. Cynthia Gorey began as the sole employee, a part-time Executive Director. Now 14 years later, the role of leading this organization has significantly expanded in scope. Under Mrs. Gorey’s leadership, the organization has grown from 3 to 63 charitable funds and now offers the community a wide range of philanthropic and educational programs and activities. It is a unique resource for our residents. In recognition of this transformation, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors felt the time was right to recognize Mrs. Gorey’s years of dedication to the Foundation with a well-deserved title change from Executive Director to President and Chief Executive Officer. This shift better reflects the scope of her position and the role of the organization in the community.
The Community Foundation functions essentially as a charitable savings account for our community. The Foundation has grown from giving 19 grants totaling $215,000 in 2002 to 370 grants and scholarships totaling more than $1 million in 2015. During Mrs. Gorey’s tenure and under her leadership, the Community Foundation assets have grown from $4.5 million to over $16.6 million.
Mrs. Gorey’s efforts on behalf of community philanthropy in our area are exceptional, according to Board President Leo Karl. “The work of the Foundation goes beyond financial support, and Cynthia provides guidance and suggestions to grantees that improve their ability to meet the needs of the community they serve.” In addition, Mrs. Gorey works closely with residents in New Canaan to help them identify their unique personal charitable goals, and partners with donors to achieve these goals. “Her passion to inspire and inform charitable giving is unparalleled”, according to Mr. Karl. Mrs. Gorey also created a professional development group for local nonprofit leaders, to share information on best practices and discuss important topics so area nonprofits can collaborate and improve their own organization through participation.
Another signature effort of the organization is its unique Young Philanthropists program, which Mrs. Gorey has spearheaded since its inception in 2009. The program consists of a structured curriculum for local high school students, who participate in both a fundraising and grant making process. The program encourages social and philanthropic responsibility and is an excellent complement to efforts that focus on direct community service and volunteerism. Mrs. Gorey invites guest speakers from local nonprofits to present the students with critical, thought-provoking information about the role of these organizations in our area, and the need for private philanthropy to support these efforts.
Mrs. Gorey serves as the primary spokesperson for the Community Foundation. She makes frequent public appearances, speaking to audiences of all ages. According to Sharon Stevenson, Board member and Chair of Marketing, “Cynthia loves to talk about giving and how the Community Foundation can help everyone be a philanthropist. She is happy in front of a group of kindergartners or elderly residents alike. Cynthia’s written efforts to promote the Foundation are educational and accessible. We are fortunate to have such an articulate leader working on behalf of the community.” Mrs. Gorey’s new title reflects both her professional growth as well as the increased range of services the Foundation offers to New Canaan.
President & CEO
New Canaan Community Foundation