New funds 2015

The following new funds and planned gifts were established in 2015. The Hartford Foundation is proud to partner with these individuals, families and organizations to improve the quality of life in our region. Enjoy reading their stories and the inspiration behind their generosity.


Field of Interest Fund

This field of interest fund was established by a woman who has lived and worked for much of her life in New York City, but moved to Connecticut several years ago. She is a former social worker with interests in health and developmental issues of early childhood. In 2015, she established this fund to focus on staff education and programming issues in early childhood education. The fund will support programs specifically for professional development of staff and of parents through courses, conference attendance, meeting participation and/or training seminars in the areas of health and development in early childhood.


Black Giving Circle Fund 


Donor-Advised Fund

In 2014 and 2015, the Hartford Foundation convened community discussions focused on Black philanthropy. The discussions highlighted the history of Black giving and the power of that giving to transform communities. On June 1, 2015, with a commitment to support the Black community in our region through collaborative giving, the Black Giving Circle Fund was established at the Hartford Foundation. Donations from members (at least $365 annually per membership) are pooled together in an endowed fund at the Hartford Foundation. Members of the fund will examine issues facing the Black community in Greater Hartford and, collectively, recommend grants to nonprofit organizations that work to address needs in the Black community. With 70 founding members, the Black Giving Circle Fund is set to leave a lasting legacy that reflects its mission of creating sustainable change in the Black community by leveraging the philanthropic efforts of donors and celebrating Black philanthropy.


Philip and Nancy Braender Scholarship Fund & Nancy Coleman Braender and W. Philip Braender Fund No. 2 


Scholarship and Designated Fund

Raised in New York, Nancy Coleman Braender was exposed to many arts and cultural activities. She attended New York Philharmonic Orchestra concerts as a young girl and developed a lifelong love of classical music. Nancy graduated from Smith College in 1943 and worked for the War Department as a civilian in the Signal Corps during World War II. She later entered foreign service, working in The Hague and in London. She married W. Philip Braender and eventually landed in East Windsor, where she briefly taught school, and then in South Windsor, where she and Philip ran an air-filtration sales company. In the early 1970s, they founded the South Windsor League of Women Voters, and were the first husband and wife team in the state—and maybe the country—to co-chair the organization. Nancy was the powerhouse behind many charitable organizations. She started groups such as Friends of South Windsor Public Library and the Pleasant Valley Estates Residents Association, formed to fight plans for a large industrial warehouse bordering on their neighborhood. A venture that brought her great pleasure was the revitalization of South Windsor Cultural Arts that continues more than 30 years after its founding to provide free classical music programs at Wood Memorial Library and other venues. In 1983, the Braenders created a scholarship fund at the Hartford Foundation to help local students attend college. Nancy passed away in 2014 and left the Hartford Foundation a very generous legacy gift that will be used to provide scholarships for students in Greater Hartford who are pursuing a college degree, and to support organizations in South Windsor that enhance the quality of life for town residents.


Libbian and Jerry Cohen Fund 


Donor-Advised Fund

Libbian and Dr. Jerry Cohen of West Hartford care deeply about giving young children the tools and opportunities they need to grow to their greatest potential. The Cohens are both Hartford natives. Dr. Cohen retired from a successful dental practice. For many years they have tutored public school children in reading. Their son Adam, a CPA, has served on the Hartford Foundation’s professional advisory committee and Catalyst Endowment Fund steering committee. With his advice, Dr. and Mrs. Cohen created this fund to support educational programs, especially those that help first and second graders learn how to read. In keeping with the family tradition of giving, Adam and his sister Sharon, a public school math teacher, will both participate in recommending grants from this fund.


Frances F. Connelly Fund 


Unrestricted Fund

In 2015, the Foundation received a generous bequest from the Estate of Frances F. Connelly. “Frankie,” as she was known to her family and friends, touched the lives of so many. After graduating from the Walnut Hill School in Natick, Massachusetts, Frankie attended Mt. Holyoke College. Frankie and her husband Bill settled in Suffield, where they raised four children in an active and welcoming household frequently filled with friends and family. They were revered in the Suffield community for their philanthropic spirit and compassion. Frankie was a lifelong member of Second Baptist Church, where she enjoyed teaching Sunday school and serving on the Calling Committee. She was also a dedicated volunteer at the Suffield Emergency Aid for many years. The Connellys were also longtime supporters of the Hartford Foundation, where Bill served as Executive Director from 1971 to 1986. Frankie’s bequest established an unrestricted fund that will enable the Foundation to respond to the community’s most pressing needs and carry on the Connelly legacy of caring.


Robert “Bobby” DiBella Fund 


Donor-Advised Fund

A lifelong resident of Glastonbury and an engineer by training, Bobby DiBella served as the director of emergency management for the Town and gave his time to numerous boards and commissions. Giving back is important to Bobby, shown not only in his decision to establish a donor-advised fund at the Hartford Foundation, but in his 50 years of service assisting parishioners and the motoring public by directing traffic on Sunday mornings outside the First Church of Christ in Glastonbury for over 2,000 consecutive Sundays. With a donor-advised fund, Bobby hopes to support a variety of programs including those that help young people reach their academic potential.


Daniel R. Dinardi Memorial Scholarship Fund 


Scholarship Fund

Daniel DiNardi was born in Hartford and grew up in Rocky Hill where he played on the basketball team at Rocky Hill High School. He attended Central Connecticut State University and later worked for the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation. When he died tragically at the age of 41, his grieving family decided to work toward the goal of raising funds to start a scholarship fund in memory of their son, brother, father, nephew and cousin. The family came to the Hartford Foundation and established a scholarship fund for high school seniors who would be attending four-year colleges after graduation, with preference for graduates of Rocky Hill High School interested in or active in sports, particularly basketball. This scholarship fund is a meaningful testament to their memories of Dan.


Jean Sheldon Elmers Fund 

Unrestricted Fund

Jean Sheldon Elmers was the second daughter of Harry and Mary Shelton Elmers of Rockford, Illinois. She moved to the Hartford area in 1943 and worked for Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, where she met a cadre of good friends who stayed together until her death. A lifelong learner and crossword puzzle enthusiast, Jean lived a full and happy life. To give back to the community, she chose the Hartford Foundation. Her unrestricted bequest will support a broad range of programs and address needs within our community as they change over time.


Garnett Gibbs Family Fund 


Donor-Advised Fund

Beth Gibbs is a certified yoga therapist through Integrative Yoga Therapy and holds a master’s degree in mind/body health from Lesley University. She has written a book about yoga for children and a companion manual for adults who work with children. She also has produced a yoga relaxation CD, “Release, Relax and Let Go,” and contributes to the online blog, Yoga for Healthy Aging. As the former executive director of Hartford’s Camp Courant, she created a yoga program for the campers that has been in place since 2000. So it is no surprise that Beth decided to create a fund to see this work continue, named in memory of her parents, Margaret Jackson Garnett Gibbs and Elmer Taylor Gibbs. “In recognition of the positive impact yoga has had on my life, I wish to express my particular interest in supporting yoga and other healthy living programs in the Greater Hartford region for at-risk populations and people of all ages, especially programs for children based in the public school or community settings.”


Harry E. Goldfarb Family Foundation Fund II 


Donor-Advised Fund

After emigrating from Poland as a young boy, Harry E. Goldfarb grew up in Hartford and graduated from Weaver High School. Harry opened his own gas station and eventually founded The Mercury Oil Company, the largest independent distributor of gasoline in Connecticut. Harry’s hard work, intelligence and integrity led to his success. He served as a mentor and a role model for his sons, Bob and Bill, who worked with him and his brother Benjamin at Mercury Oil. After the sale of the business in 1981, Harry and his sons founded HRW Resources. Throughout his life, Harry was a quiet philanthropist, and The Harry E. Goldfarb Family Foundation enabled him and his family to provide charitable support to a broad range of organizations, including those in the arts, health care, education, youth services and the Jewish community. The Harry E. Goldfarb Family Foundation Fund II at the Hartford Foundation will honor Harry’s memory, continue his legacy of giving and pay tribute to the way he cared for others throughout his life.


Astrid and Fred Hanzalek Fund II 


Donor-Advised Fund

Astrid and Fred Hanzalek have been involved in numerous community activities including municipal government, state government and area nonprofits such as Connecticut Landmarks, SCORE, Connecticut Forest and Parks Association and the Connecticut River Watershed Council. Astrid also served as the chair of the board of trustees of Charter Oak State College. Previously, the Hanzaleks made two planned gifts to the Hartford Foundation, and have now established a donor-advised fund to serve those named organizations and various nonprofits in Suffield.


Dennis Hersh Humanitarian Fund 


Designated Fund

When Dennis Hersh’s son, Austin, was young, he asked his father about his job, “What do you do? What does a lawyer do?” and Dennis responded “I help people.” Dennis Hersh was a lifetime resident of West Hartford and one of Hartford’s most prominent attorneys. Dennis’ generosity extended throughout the community and touched the lives of many—from contributions to the arts, education and medical research, to support for many public-serving organizations as well as individuals in need. Dennis also cared deeply about the future well-being of the community. He demonstrated his desire to leave his imprint on this world by giving resources through this generous endowment, which will support the Connecticut Humane Society and the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.


Dorothy E. Hofmann Pembroke Scholarship Fund 

Scholarship Fund

Dorothy Hofmann was a dedicated teacher. Her deep and abiding interest in education and her pride in both Bulkeley High School, where she taught for most of her career, and Pembroke College in Brown University, her alma mater, led her to create a scholarship fund. She wanted to give female students the same opportunity that she had, to be able to pursue a college education. This scholarship was established at the Hartford Foundation for female residents of Hartford who are graduating from a public high school, have financial need, and will attend Trinity College, University of Connecticut, University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, University of Saint Joseph or Brown University.


Claire Q. and Herbert Johnson Fund 

Unrestricted Fund

Herbert Johnson of West Hartford was always thinking of the people in his life and of the well-being of his community. It was important to him to honor the memory of his beloved wife, Claire, and to continue to make a difference in the community well after his lifetime. Mr. Johnson was able to accomplish these goals by establishing a Charitable Remainder Unitrust at the Foundation. When the trust was terminated in 2015, the remainder was used to establish this unrestricted fund that will provide much needed support to nonprofit organizations in the Greater Hartford region for generations to come.


Journey Found Endowment Fund 


Nonprofit Endowment Fund

Journey Found of Manchester, Connecticut provides behavioral, residential and other support services for people with intellectual disabilities. For these people and their families, the future well-being of the organization is of primary importance. In 2015, the board and leadership of Journey Found decided to establish this endowment fund, which will benefit and strengthen the organization in the long term, and serve as a source of income for operating and other expenses on an annual basis. The Journey Found Endowment Fund will help to further Journey Found’s mission of enabling each person served to become all they are capable of being through providing a permanent source of services and supports for people with disabilities in the Greater Hartford region.


Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford Fund 


Nonprofit Endowment Fund

Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford (LVGH) provides small group tutoring to over 850 low-literate adults from the Greater Hartford area each year. Nationally recognized by the Library of Congress with a 2014 Best Practices Literacy Award, LVGH provides English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), basic literacy, math, job readiness, citizenship, digital literacy and GED classes. The organization was very grateful to receive a generous unrestricted bequest from longtime volunteer tutor and board member Beverly Heckel. A portion of the bequest was used to establish this endowed fund that will provide annual, ongoing support to the organization. This endowed fund marks a big step forward in ensuring the future of LVGH, and that all adults in this region will have the opportunity to develop critical skills and improve their lives.


Thomas H. Lorch and Hollace Peterson Lorch Fund 


Field of Interest Fund

As a result of their long-standing familial, educational and professional ties to the community, Tom and Holly Lorch have established a field of interest fund to support programs and projects that help meet basic human needs. Their interests in food and shelter, in particular for residents of Greater Hartford, will be sustained with the establishment of this new fund. As longtime volunteers in the community, the Lorches are pleased to know that the organizations that are important to them will benefit from this fund for years to come. Tom grew up in West Hartford and is now retired from a career in education. Holly retired from a career in education and advocacy. She also volunteered and worked at HARC. The generosity and example set by their parents, Paul and Jane Ann Lorch, and Willys R. and Eleanor B. Peterson, enabled Tom and Holly to provide this gift to the community.


Barton W. Pease Memorial Fund 


Field of Interest Fund

Barton Pease loved his work with Veterans. Raised in West Hartford, Barton attended the University of Alabama Birmingham where he pursued a vocational career as a nursing assistant. He worked at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Alabama for seven years and at the West Haven VA Hospital for 12. He was a compassionate caregiver, always with a smile for his patients and a kind word for his colleagues. Barton lost his life in November 2015 after a long illness with asthma. A memorial fund has been established in his memory at the Hartford Foundation to support programs that support veterans’ health.


Kenneth R. Pietrasko Memorial Scholarship Fund 


Scholarship Fund

Glastonbury resident Suzanne Pietrasko along with her sons, Kenneth and Stephen, established the Kenneth R. Pietrasko Scholarship Fund in memory of her husband and their father. This scholarship will support graduating seniors who are suffering from an illness or have a parent or sibling who is coping with an illness. The Pietrasko family hopes to alleviate the financial burden associated with the high cost of higher education. Kenneth attended Denison University and was a proud graduate of Adelphi University. During his life, he attributed his collegiate success to the two scholarships that helped him earn his degree.


Schonberger September 11 Fund 


Donor-Advised Fund

To honor the memory of prominent businessman and community leader Phil Schonberger, a group of family and friends came together to create a donor-advised fund at the Hartford Foundation. The idea of the fund grew out of a collective of individuals who share a birthday of September 11, and gather each year around that date to raise charitable funds to support projects in the Greater Hartford region. The 2015 gathering, led by Kelvin Roldán, Rich Harris, John Motley and Schonberger's widow Robin, was held at the Arch Street Tavern in Hartford. The event raised funds for the community and also paid tribute to Phil. The Schonberger September 11 Fund will perpetuate his memory and provide support for educational programs for children in the region.


Barbara and Ted Sergi Fund 

Donor-Advised Fund

Elevating expectations for the next generation, continually improving public schools and supporting one’s community have been lifelong values for the Sergi family. Barbara Sergi is a retired teacher and librarian who has helped several nonprofits and community organizations. Thousands of young people have benefitted from her love of reading and books. Ted Sergi was also a teacher, and served as Connecticut’s Commissioner of education, and CEO of the Connecticut Science Center. He was appointed to the board of directors of the Hartford Foundation in 2014. Choosing to continue to make Greater Hartford their home, the Sergis have established a donor-advised fund that will enable them to enhance their charitable support for educational and cultural organizations. “We love living in Greater Hartford because of the excellent quality of life, but mostly because of the spirit of optimism in the community and its desire to keep improving and helping every neighbor.”


J and K Thomas Fund 

Donor-Advised Fund

Karl and Judith Thomas of Suffield approached the Hartford Foundation early in 2015 to discuss dissolving their private foundation, the J and K Thomas Foundation, and establishing a donor-advised fund. The Thomases had been supporting high school students in the region through scholarships, college scholarships and college readiness programs. They are now interested in utilizing the resources of the Hartford Foundation to find those programs that help postsecondary students persist in college and successfully complete their education.


Trumble Family Scholarship Fund 


Scholarship Fund

Dougie Trumble has been a scholarship volunteer with the Hartford Foundation for nine years, interviewing high school seniors every spring and recommending them for scholarship awards. Amazed by the caliber of applicants in the pool, Dougie wanted to help the Hartford Foundation increase the number of students supported and decided to establish the Trumble Family Scholarship Fund. The Trumbles also have a donor-advised fund at the Foundation that has supported many organizations in the areas of education, the arts, housing and leadership. Originally from Ohio, the Trumbles have become full-fledged Hartford supporters through their extensive community involvement.


World Affairs Council Connecticut Fund 


Nonprofit Endowment Fund

Founded in 1924, the World Affairs Council of Connecticut (WACCT) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes awareness and dialogue on important global issues. WACCT hosts programs and discussions on international issues that impact the local community and the world at large, and also works with Connecticut schools to provide programs for students and educators, including the Model United Nations. In late 2015, the World Affairs Council received a wonderful opportunity to ensure the future of its programming and education initiatives. Longtime member Thomas Lips established this endowed fund at the Hartford Foundation, and is matching new donations made by others. This generous gift will help to secure the future for increasingly important global education in our region.


Your Chance Scholarship Fund 

Scholarship Fund

The Your Chance Scholarship is exactly that for students—a chance to be able to attend college with some financial assistance to make it possible. A Bloomfield woman was able to advance some of her schooling as a young woman because of a generous scholarship that she received. She and her husband wanted to give back to the next generation. The anonymous couple, inspired by their own academic journeys, wants to assist students who have graduated from high school and may have taken college courses, but did not graduate with a degree. They aim to support students who may have had their college studies interrupted by growing families or financial difficulties. This scholarship is for students planning to attend a two- or four-year educational program or vocational school.


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