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Fairfield County Givingday

March 6, 2015 Releases No Comments


Giving Day March 5th, 2015: 24 Hours to Give Where You Live, A Day of Local Philanthropy.

NAMI Connecticut Joins the Giving Day Movement:

Donating In Your Community to Benefit Your Community.

Pledges Fund Fairfield County Programming Needs

[Fairfield, CT February 27, 2015] March 5th, 2015 is Fairfield County Community Foundation’s Second Annual Giving Day. This 24 hour donor event was created to harness the giving power of individuals, charities, families and businesses to benefit and highlight services in their communities.

Fairfield Counties first Giving Day in 2014 saw 9,211 people answer the call to “give where you live” and donations of $756,229 were generously distributed to 267 nonprofits in 24 hours.

The benefit to organizations like NAMI Connecticut and its two strong Fairfield and Southwest affiliates is in making our communities aware of the free support, education programming that is provided year-round to families, those living with mental health challenges and professionals in Fairfield County. Fairfield County affiliates run seven support groups, a vibrant Fairfield Book Club, educational speakers at both affiliate locations throughout the year and peer support groups are being added this year for those living with mental health challenges.

NAMI Connecticut Board President Marissa Walls & NAMI Connecticut Executive Director Kate Mattias support this philanthropic day “Giving Days are a wonderful opportunity. It is a platform we can use to tell our story and the story of so many who have been touched by the work of NAMI Connecticut.”

“What’s more,” says Kate Mattias, Executive Director of NAMI Connecticut, “for many of the people we reach this will be their introduction to NAMI Connecticut and will provide a great deal of hope to them.”

NAMI Connecticut is committed to reaching and serving the 1:4 Americans that are impacted by mental health challenges each year. The benefits of support are immeasurable to those who need it.

Become a donor by visiting and making a secure donation on March 5th at:

This year your gift can be multiplied! Make one or more donations throughout the day and help us win prizes over $20,000.

For more information on our affiliate support groups and educational programs please visit:



Young Professionals Help the Homeless

March 6, 2015 News No Comments

(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) – PULSE Greater New Haven Young Professionals collected more than 100 cleaning supplies for families transitioning out of homelessness. PULSE hosted a drive at their monthly event, which took place at Shake Shack in downtown New Haven Thursday night.

“Families moving into their new homes have very little,” Kellyann Day, CEO of New Reach, Inc. explained, “Items like cleaning supplies are essential and collections like this really support our mission.”

In 2014, New Reach housed 337 people who were homeless through the Connecticut Rapid Re-Housing program.

“Part of being a good citizen is giving back,” stated Leo Connors, PULSE Board Chairman, “These drives provide an opportunity to support those in the community that are less fortunate, and the board of PULSE has made community service one of the core values of our mission.”

PULSE, a program of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce and Quinnipiac Chamber, is active in the community and holds quarterly community service projects in addition to professional development seminars, bi-monthly Leadership Roundtables and monthly networking events. For more information visit

New Reach Inc. was established in 1990 to provide emergency shelter for families, and is working in the New Haven area to address the housing and support service needs of women with children. New Reach provides services to families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. New Reach has developed its programs to include emergency shelter, supportive housing, children’s programs and The Furniture Co-Op. For more information, visit the Web site at
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March 6, 2015 Releases No Comments
Hollywood recently held the Oscars, and Connecticut engineers who make our state a leader in innovation just held the Engineers’ Night Awards. The Hartford Section American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) honored some of Connecticut’s most distinguished engineering professionals at their 29th Annual Engineers’ Night Awards Banquet at the Society Room in Hartford on February 19th. The event is a celebrated tradition among the engineering community, hosting over 230 executives, researchers, faculty, and students from local industrial and academic institutions who paid tribute to eighteen Distinguished Engineers of the Year award winners. Special guests included keynote speaker U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, andState Representative Lonnie Reed, Co-Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee.
Each year during National Engineers’ Week, ASME celebrates the extraordinary accomplishments of fellow engineers and brings together technical professionals spanning the entire range of disciplines. The award involves a rigorous nomination and review process. Recipients represent the value that superior engineering can bring to people, products and performance. The award is often among the highest honors a company presents to their employees.
“Engineers in Connecticut are the innovators in every industry from aerospace to manufacturing to energy, who carry on our state’s tradition of creating solutions that make it a better world for all of us,” said Aaron Danenberg, Engineers’ Night Chairman. “These awards highlight the robust and vibrant engineering community we have here in Connecticut.” 
Pratt and Whitney honored seven engineers, many who worked on the new Next Generation Product Family (NGPF) programs:  Jesse Boyer, Christopher L. Dyer, Matthew R. Feulner, David P. Houston, Katherine A. Knapp Carney, John P. Virtue, Jr and Ryan Walsh. Belcan Engineering recognized Shaila Kambli, Chief Engineer, Systems and Software Engineering. Alstomhonored three engineers: Danny Gelbar, Scott Herman and Rahul Terdalkar. Hartford Steam Boiler honored Peter Goodell, UTC Aerospace Systems honored Tadry Domagala  FirstLight Power Resources Inc honored Edward Hathaway and Westinghouse Electric Company honored Michael Foster.
Three esteemed engineers at Connecticut’s universities who have educated generations of future professionals were presented awards from the University of Connecticut: Professor Nejat Olgac, University of Hartford: Professor Leo T. Smith and Central Connecticut State University: Dr. Alfred A. Gates.
The Annual Engineers’ Night Awards was made possible by the generous support of its Founding Sponsor Pratt and Whitney, Primary Sponsor Belcan Engineering and Gold Sponsors Alstom and Hartford Steam Boiler. The Connecticut Science Center also presented each honoree with complimentary tickets to its venue.
Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit organization that supports professional engineers and promotes the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME’s mission is to serve diverse global communities by advancing, disseminating and applying engineering knowledge for improving the quality of life and communicating the excitement of engineering. For more information and to view a video visit,  or

CHERE to Sponsor Workshop Focusing on Community Colleges

March 6, 2015 Events, Releases No Comments

Nationally-acclaimed educator, local leaders and students will discuss role and future of Community Colleges in education and economic development

The Center for Higher Education Retention Excellence (CHERE) is sponsoring a day-long conference Community Colleges: Their Time Has Come to explore the role and future of community college education.  The event will be held on Friday, April 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tunxis Community College in Farmington.

The latest in CHERE’s series of higher education conferences in Connecticut will include:

  • Research-based perspective from a Senior Researcher at the Community College Research Center at Columbia University
  • Overview from several Community College leaders in Connecticut
  • Insights on Community College experience from several students
  • Best practices at Rockland (NY) Community College by veteran educators

The conference will feature nationally acclaimed education researcher, Dr. Elisabeth Barnett from the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, New York.

“By bringing in a national expert, we aim to delve deeper into the future of community colleges, which is especially timely given President Obama’s recent proposal for free community college tuition,” said David Johnston, Director of CHERE.

The mission of CHERE is to “understand and improve policies and practices for challenged students that lead to higher college retention, from the summer after high school graduation, through the first year, to graduation, and to employment.”

Panelists will include President Cathryn Addy from Tunxis Community College, President Ann Wasescha from Middlesex Community College, a veteran college instructor, and a veteran high school counselor.  The program will also feature an expert panel of community college administrators and a student panel, which has become a fixture of CHERE conferences.  The panel of students, from several community colleges, will offer their perspective of life at community college.

With increasing costs of higher education and an uncertain economy, community colleges will continue to grow in importance as a gateway to further education, employment and productive citizenship for more students. Community colleges are thus critical to higher education in Connecticut and the U.S., and the importance of this role will continue to increase, despite financial pressures that challenge these institutions’ core mission.

The conference will focus on the critical role that community colleges play in providing education – sometimes the only education that many students get – leading to real jobs and, for some, more higher education.

Previous CHERE conference topics have included Summer Melt: Students Who Fail to Matriculate.  Why? What To Do?, held at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford; First-Year Experience: What Works and Why, held at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport; Bridge Programs, held at Western Connecticut State University; Financial Aid and Student Debt, held at Southern Connecticut State University; Seamless Counseling, held at the Coast Guard Academy in New London; Bridge Programs, held at Western Connecticut State University; and Career and Technical Education, held at Housatonic Community College.

For more information or to register for the conference, please call David Johnston, at (203) 640-6201, email him at, or visit

Co-sponsors of the event include Tunxis Community College, the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, and the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU).


Stand By Your Man at the Ivoryton Playhouse

March 6, 2015 Events No Comments

Ivoryton: Tammy Wynette was a country music icon. Called the “First Lady of Country Music”, she was one of country music’s best-known artists and biggest-selling female singer-songwriters. Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” was one of the best-selling hit singles by a woman in the history of country music. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wynette charted 23 No. 1 songs, helping to define the role of women in country music.

STAND BY YOUR MAN, opening at the Ivoryton Playhouse on March 18th, 2015, brings the woman behind the legend and the incredible songs that made her the first lady of country music, off the stage and into your heart. Through her eyes, the audience relives her journey from the cotton fields of Itawamba, Mississippi, to international superstar. With comic flare and dramatic impact STAND BY YOUR MAN recounts triumphs and tragedies and explores Tammy’s relationships with the five husbands she stood by, including George Jones, her beloved daughters, her strong-willed mother and two of her dearest friends: colorful writer and producer Billy Sherrill and film star Burt Reynolds. Among the 26 songs are “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “Til I Can Make It on My Own” and “Golden Ring.”

Directed and musical directed by the husband and wife team of David and Sherry Lutken, who were last here in 2012 with the amazing production, RING OF FIRE, the show stars husband and wife team Katie Barton* and Ben Hope*. Hope made his Broadway debut in 2012 as the lead in the Tony Award winning musical ONCE and Barton has just recently finished the national tour of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET. The show also features Eric Anthony*, Brien Brannigan, Jonathan Brown, Marcy McGuigan*, Morgan Morse, Sam Sherwood*, Lily Tobin* and Louis Tucci*.

The set is designed by Dan Nischan, lighting by Marcus Abbott, wigs by Liz Cipollina and costumes by Anya Sokolovskaya.

STAND BY YOUR MAN opens in Ivoryton on March 18th and runs through April 5th. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.
Generously sponsored by: A.R. Mazotta and Essex Savings Bank
Members of the press are welcome at any performance. Please call ahead for tickets.
Pictured – Katie Barton and Ben Hope

Sonia Plumb Dance Company Goes “Off The Grid” With Up Close and Unplugged Dance Concert In West Hartford on March 7–8, 2015

February 20, 2015 Events No Comments

It’s Sonia Plumb Dance Company “unplugged,” when this inspired modern dance company performs “Off The Grid” on Saturday March 7, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. at Lisa Matias Dance Center, 635 New Park Avenue in West Hartford. Audience members will be up close and personal, when the Company performs three audience favorites and one exciting new section from “The Odyssey,” its full-length dance based on Homer’s epic poem that premieres this October.

“How close will you get?” Artistic Director Sonia Plumb teases. “Audience members will be just a few feet away from the action. And, without the curtains, lights and special effects, you’ll witness our dancers on their own, demonstrating their outstanding technique and emotional intensity.”

The three audience favorites being performed at the “Off The Grid” dance concert are the emotional “River” from “Water Wars” (2012), the beautiful “Too Close to the Light” from “Shadows and Light” (2013) and “Privacy Settings” (2014), which is the Company’s exploration of with our obsession with social media, selfies and the issues that made reality TV and the NSA overreach part of our daily lives. And, audience members will get a sneak peek at the creative development process with the premier of the haunting “Sirens,” just one of the sections from the Company’s latest production, which will be staged at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford on October 2–4, 2015.

Tickets are just $10 each for “Off The Grid,” but seating is limited. So, audience members are encouraged to reserve tickets in advance by calling (860) 508-9082 or emailing

“Off The Grid” is just one of the 2015 performances, community outreach events and educational workshops that Sonia Plumb Dance Company will be staging to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Like “The Odyssey,” an arts career spanning 25 years is an epic journey in its own right.

Learn more about the upcoming “Off The Grid” dance concert, “The Odyssey” premiere in October and the educational programs of Sonia Plumb Dance Company by visiting their website at or following them at www.

PHOTO CREDIT: Meghan McDermott and Spencer Pond in a photo from “Too Close to the Light:” Jeffrey Schlichter, photographer

Hartford Foundation’s Record-Breaking Grantmaking Topped $32.5 Million in 2014

February 20, 2015 News No Comments

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the community foundation for 29 communities in Greater Hartford, awarded more than $32.5 million in grants to the region’s nonprofit agencies and educational institutions this past year.

“As the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving celebrates its 90th anniversary, we are pleased to report that through the support of our generous donors, we were able to award a total of 1,997 grants amounting to $32,513,431 – both record numbers – this past year,” said Linda J. Kelly, president. “We are proud to stand together with our partners to support opportunities that enrich the lives of the people in the Greater Hartford region.”

According to the latest estimated, unaudited numbers, the Foundation ended 2014 with assets of $930 million, in 1,091 funds, another record. Since its founding in 1925, the Foundation has awarded approximately $621 million in grants.

Following the pattern of recent years, the Foundation’s key strategic priority of education received the largest share of the grants, 29 percent, including new and renewed college scholarships. The Foundation’s investment in education reflects the vision of its strategic plan to enhance educational equity and opportunity for all students in Greater Hartford.

Grants for family and social service received 22.5 percent; health – 15 percent; arts and culture – 14 percent; housing and economic development – 8.6 percent, general – 6.9 percent and summer programs – 3.4 percent.

These grants supported the expansion of existing programs, helped fund new programs or organizations, supported capital projects and helped agencies deal with unanticipated declines in revenue during difficult economic times.

Below are some examples of grants to support a wide variety of activities to support our residents and create more vibrant communities in Greater Hartford.


• $240,000 through the Hartford Area Child Care Collaborative to increase supports and resources to those providing child care in their homes. This focus has led to the creation of the first statewide steering committee dedicated to improving the quality of home-based child care. This project will provide consultation to home providers on how to make small facility improvements to the home to enhance the health, safety, and learning of the children in their care.

• Over $300,000 in planning and capacity-building grants to seven of the region’s high-need school districts. Grants were provided to Bloomfield, East Hartford, Hartford, Manchester, Vernon, Windsor, and Windsor Locks school districts to promote increased educational equity and opportunity through the districts’ increased partnership with families and community resources. The grants mark the Hartford Foundation’s first efforts to help districts outside of Hartford to focus on developing effective family, school and community partnerships , increase capacity through training and technical assistance, coaching and leadership development.

• More than $900,000 in total has already been awarded to two of these districts, Manchester and Windsor Locks, for implementation grants following the districts’ strategic planning. Manchester received a $713,520 grant to develop a new Office of Family and Community Engagement and further develop several Family Resource Centers. Windsor Locks was awarded a $234,422 grant to create multiple new personalized and experiential learning opportunities as components of new “career and college pathways” for Windsor Locks students.


• $300,000 to the Hartford Stage Company, Inc. for expansion of MainStage productions to increase capacity to create quality performances. Hartford Stage celebrated their 50th year in 2014.

• $225,000 to Amistad Center for Art & Culture, Inc. for general operating support. Funding will support the goals outlined in Amistad’s strategic plan including marketing and fundraising goals.

Community and Economic Development

• $180,000 to Billings Forge Community Works for the farm-to-table youth and family program integrating culinary arts, urban agriculture and entrepreneurial skill-building.

Family/Child/Social Services

• $110,000 to True Colors, Inc. to support a volunteer coordinator position. The project is designed to better serve the needs of True Colors’ clients by utilizing volunteers for administrative and basic programmatic operations, thereby freeing up staff time to devote more effectively to the individual needs of the LGBT youth served.

• $345,000 to Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund to support the Hartford Equal Justice Collaborative addressing civil, legal, and related needs of Latinos and other low-income people in Greater Hartford. The Hartford Equal Justice Collaborative (HEJC) is a new partnership that includes Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut (LARCC), and Statewide Legal Services (SLS).


• $250,000 to Connecticut Association of Nonprofits, Inc. to support a multi-agency nonprofit center in Hartford. Foundation funds supported a business coordinator, responsible for all back office operations, and start-up costs for equipment and technology.


• $300,000 to AIDS Connecticut for a service coordinator to support and expand operations of ACT’s wellness center in Hartford.

Southington Couple’s Philanthropy Benefits Prudence Crandall Center

February 20, 2015 Releases No Comments

New Britain, Conn., February 16, 2015 – Over the course of nearly 20 years as a Registered Nurse working on a crisis team in a hospital emergency room, Miriam Hayes had seen her share of tragedy, frequently in the form of domestic violence victims arriving with their bones – and lives – shattered.

“I remember one young woman, it was the third time she had been to the ER. She was thrown over a flight of stairs and had 26 staples in her head,” recalled Hayes with horror. “I told her, ‘You’re not going to have another chance. The next time you come in you’ll be dead.’”

Hayes made a call to the Prudence Crandall Center, which for more than 40 years has provided support and services to local victims of domestic violence. Unlike so many similar victims who may not be able to muster the courage to take advantage of such outreach, this particular woman, said Hayes, did indeed get help, help that may very well have saved her life.

It is stories like these that have inspired Hayes and her husband, Robert Mugford, to support the Prudence Crandall Center with their time, talent and financial resources. Thanks to a generous gift from the retired Southington couple, the newly established Mugford/Hayes Bright Futures Fund for Prudence Crandall Center, Inc. at the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain will help the Crandall Center sustain programs and services for years to come.

“When we attended the opening of the Center’s Rose Hill Campus several years back, I said to Miriam ‘We have to do something,’” said Mugford, a retired CPA who over the years has lent his time and financial support to a variety of local causes. “These victims are just paralyzed, they have no place to go.

“The Prudence Crandall Center is that place they need,” he continued. “We are so impressed by their work. They help entire families across a broad spectrum of diverse needs brought on by domestic violence.”

“Bob and Miriam are just a wonderful couple, and both are passionately engaged in supporting the Prudence Crandall Center,” said Barbara Damon, the Center’s executive director. “Having an endowment of this nature helps provide financial sustainability for us in the future, so we can continue our services for many years to come.”

The Prudence Crandall Center, established in 1973, is dedicated to helping women, men and children achieve lives free of domestic violence by providing care, advocacy, support and education. It is one of the few programs of its nature in the country with a full spectrum of shelter, housing and support services needed to offer practical, long-term solutions to the challenges posed by domestic violence.

The Mugford/Hayes Bright Futures Fund will make regular, annual distributions for the purpose of carrying out the work and mission of the Prudence Crandall Center, in accordance with Community Foundation policy.

“The monumental work of the Prudence Crandall Center over the past 40 years speaks for itself, having helped thousands upon thousands of domestic violence victims heal and move on to lead safe, self-sufficient lives,” said Jim Williamson, president of the Community Foundation. ”We are honored to be the steward of Bob and Miriam’s generous gift, and to assist a vital community resource such as the Prudence Crandall Center in carrying out its mission.”

Mugford and Hayes not only are supporting the Prudence Crandall Center financially, but are intimately involved as volunteers. They co-chaired the Center’s recent Bright Futures fundraising drive, which raised nearly $400,000, and Hayes has also completed an intensive training course which will allow her to work on the Center’s domestic violence hotline. Instead of making calls on victims’ behalf, as she did as an RN, she’ll be taking them.

The two are excited about the new one-hour “Hope Tours” of the Rose Hill Campus on Burritt Street in New Britain, which are designed to raise awareness of the Center and its mission. Opened in 2009, the Rose Hill Campus is home to supportive housing, a fully equipped medical office, training space, support group rooms, indoor and outdoor spaces for children and teens, and the Center’s administrative offices. Hope Tour participants not only tour the facility, but meet domestic violence survivors who share their stories of abuse.

“You can read about domestic violence, you can see it on TV, but people really need to see it to understand,” said Hayes. “Unless we get our message out there about domestic violence, it is just going to continue and continue.”

For Hope Tour information, call (860) 225-5187, ext. 23. To learn more about the Prudence Crandall Center, visit

The fund marks the second Community Foundation fund dedicated to the Prudence Crandall Center. The Prudence Crandall Center Endowment Fund also benefits Center programming. Members of the public wishing to support the Prudence Crandall Center by donating to either fund may do so by visiting, or calling (860) 229-6018.

Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain connects donors who care with causes that matter in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. It does this by raising resources and developing partnerships that make a measurable improvement in the quality of life in each of these communities. For more information, visit


Jim Williamson, President, Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, (860) 229-6018 x306,

Dennis Buden, DBPR, (860) 558-0514,

Have a Heart Do Your Part to Save a Life in February

February 20, 2015 News No Comments

Hearts are ever present during the month of February.  Valentine’s Day reminds us to show the ones who matter most some extra love.   In the case of Mark Anthony Littlejohn of Hartford, his heart overflows with love on a daily basis.  It’s the very act of a beating heart that reminds him of all that is meaningful in his life.


“I had a weak heart.  I couldn’t breathe or walk but short distances.   I needed a new a heart so they put me on an assisted heart pump machine to help my heart beat regularly,” said Littlejohn.


The machine helped Littlejohn function as normal as could be expected for about two and a half years.   However, it was not a long-term solution.   In his early 50’s, Littlejohn was on the wait list for a new heart.


“I was crazy out my mind. It’s so stressful you don’t know what to do.  I just wanted to live,” he adds.


Perhaps the waiting is the worst part, never knowing if and when the life changing call will come.   Typically, there are three categories of people waiting for new hearts: people in good to great health, people in good health but with some problems and thirdly, people plagued with serious problems.   Littlejohn was among those in good to great health and that information combined with the long list of people in need made the waiting especially hard.


“I leaned on God to ease my stress so I prayed to get through the wait,” he said.


After two years of waiting, the call for a new heart finally came in in November 2014.


“God had a plan and delivered a heart,” said Littlejohn.  “I was blessed with a heart and thanks to a donor family, my life is so much brighter.”


Mark Anthony Littlejohn is also an African American.   February holds a doubly significant commemoration, as it is also National Black History Month.   In the US, 21 people die every day because of the shortage of organs available for transplant. For minority communities, the need is especially great.  In total, 57% of the patients waiting for organ transplants are minorities, even though they account for 36% of the total population.


It’s important to note that organs are not matched according to race or ethnicity.  People of different races often match one another.  However, there is a higher probability of a match when received from someone of the same ethnicity because compatible blood types and tissue markers—critical qualities for donor and recipient matching—are more likely.   Ultimately, a greater diversity of donors will increase access to organ and tissue transplantation for everyone.


Those who have had a second chance at life, such as Littlejohn, can’t stress enough the importance of donation.


“Those who donate are giving another a new beginning to their life,” said Littlejohn.


A single organ donor can save the lives of eight people, while a single tissue donor can save and heal 50 others through needed heart valves, corneas, skin, bone, and tendons that mend hearts, prevent or cure blindness, heal burns and save limbs.


On Saturday, May 2nd, LifeChoice Donor Services is hosting the 2nd Annual Blue & Green 5K and 2 Mile Walk/Fun Run to gather the community in support of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Funds raised from the event will be used to educate the public about the critical need for more people in Connecticut and Massachusetts to join the Donor Registry and to support donor families.  The event will feature entertainment, local Food Trucks, the Wall of Hope and all registrants will receive a Donate Life  t-shirt. Through this event, LifeChoice strives to inspire the local community to give life to its neighbors in need.


LifeChoice Donor Services, Inc. is the federally designated, non-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) for six counties in Connecticut and three counties in Western Massachusetts with a combined population of 2.3 million people.  The OPO serves twenty-three acute care hospitals for organ and tissue donation and two organ transplant hospitals, Hartford Hospital in Hartford, CT and Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA.

LifeChoice Donor Services is a member in good standing of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) and the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO).  For more information about LifeChoice and to join the Donor Registry, please visit or call 1.800.874.5215.

David Roy Kovacs Scholarship Fund Reflects Namesake’s Passion for Helping Students Most in Need

February 20, 2015 Releases No Comments

New Britain, Conn., February 11, 2015 – Over the course of three decades teaching special education students at New Britain High School, David Kovacs became known as a beacon of motivation and inspiration for students with a wide variety of sometimes intense, highly personal challenges. He succeeded in a role in which some teachers might not thrive for 30 days, let alone 30 years.

That singular commitment to making a difference in the lives of students who need help the most will continue with the establishment of the David Roy Kovacs Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain. Kovacs passed away in November at age 65.

The new scholarship – to be first awarded during the 2015 scholarship season – is a true reflection of Kovacs’ passionate affinity for helping the underdog. One or more scholarships of no less than $1,000 will be awarded annually to a “motivated and qualified” New Britain resident with financial need intending to attend a two- or three-year post-high school community college, trade or vocational program.

“David didn’t want this scholarship to be for students at the top of the class, that’s not what he was about,” said Kovacs’ attorney and close friend Thompson Page of Hartford. “He wanted this for kids who needed financial help, and are both capable and motivated.”

“David was always about the kids,” added close friend, colleague and neighbor Fran Quish, a library media specialist at New Britain High School who worked with David for nearly all of his tenure up to his retirement in 2010. “It was certainly no surprise to me that this is what he wanted to do.”

Kovacs was known to go far above and beyond for his students. He was famous for taking his students, many of whom dealt with social and emotional issues, out to restaurants or to places they had never seen, such as Mystic Seaport. It was not unusual for Kovacs to spend his own money providing students with clothing or supplies if he saw a need.

“I remember once it was crunch time and one of our seniors needed help as graduation approached,” said Quish. “David just stayed with this student, well into the night at school, working with him so the student could get his coursework done and graduate on time.

“That was typical of David – and not the only time it happened.”

At New Britain High School, Kovacs was a debate coach, Philosophy Club faculty advisor, and a break dancing advisor. He was the recording secretary for the New Britain Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, Local 871.

As revered at New Britain High School as Kovacs was, it was only one part of a life devoted to community service and helping others. A resident of the tightly-knit Broadview Terrace Hartford neighborhood, Kovacs served on Hartford’s Democratic Town Committee and was the late Mayor Mike Peters’ campaign manager. He founded AIDS Project Hartford, and in Hartford also served Southend Community Services, the South Hartford Initiative, the Hartford Redevelopment Agency and the Children’s Endowment Fund. He was an original organizer of the famous Hartford Hooker Day Parade.

Eligible applicants for the David Roy Kovacs Scholarship must be New Britain residents, and must be graduates of New Britain High School or any other high school, including charter schools, located in New Britain. Applicants must have graduated within the last three years prior to application. The 2015 scholarship will be awarded to a 2012, 2013 or 2014 graduate or graduates; those scheduled to graduate in 2015 will be eligible for next year’s award.

For more information, students are encouraged to contact Kaylah Smith, Program and Scholarship Associate,

Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain connects donors who care with causes that matter in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. It does this by raising resources and developing partnerships that make a measurable improvement in the quality of life in each of these communities. For more information, visit


Jim Williamson, President, Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, (860) 229-6018 x306,

Dennis Buden, DBPR, (860) 558-0514,