Sestero Fund Supports Glastonbury High School STEAM Lab and Other Local Projects

Sestero Fund at Hartford Foundation Awards $400,000 in Grants to 21 Nonprofits Serving Glastonbury Residents

Educators continue to look for innovative ways to inspire students to develop skills in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). STEAM competencies are highly sought after by colleges and employers alike. Glastonbury Public Schools have responded to this growing demand by launching the construction of a $3 Million STEAM Lab at Glastonbury High School. The facility will be a modern, flexible, collaborative student workspace that includes state-of-the-art technology to support its STEAM course curriculum.

One of the new offerings at the STEAM Lab will be Mechatronics, or mechatronics engineering, a fast-emerging field that integrates several types of engineering— mechanical, computer, and electrical—with machining, robotics, and information technology. Mechatronics identifies and creates new ways for smart machines to improve manufacturing. The STEAM lab will allow students to pursue a Mechatronics pathway, providing them with hands-on training on advanced equipment within a modern manufacturing facility.

A $20,000 grant to support the purchase of Mechatronic equipment at the STEAM Lab was among $400,000 in grants awarded to 21 nonprofits serving Glastonbury residents through the Sestero Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

“As we prepare our students for college and careers beyond high school, we are mindful of the everchanging landscape of our world,” said Glastonbury Public School Superintendent Alan Bookman. “Technology, manufacturing, and engineering are broad fields, integral to our modern lives, and they are advancing rapidly. STEAM education provides these interdisciplinary experiences for students. Many of the careers our students will enter do not even exist yet. We are grateful to receive this generous support from the Sestero Fund to allow us to provide our students with these exciting opportunities. We hope it sparks even more interest and support as we look to fund the lab's specialized equipment and furniture through donations."

Norma and Natale Sestero were longtime residents of Glastonbury who established the fund through their charitable remainder trusts. Their fund supports organizations that benefit people and institutions in Glastonbury in the areas of culture, health, education, social welfare, and the environment, including town beautification and preservation of heritage.

Other grants awarded were:

  • Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc., $5,000 to support the restoration of Keeney Cove by engaging Glastonbury residents in the removal of harmful, invasive plants while providing educational opportunities to empower residents to become stewards of the cove.
  • Gifts of Love, Inc., $10,000 to support the provision of weekend backpacks to families of Glastonbury elementary school children qualified for free or reduced lunches.  The backpacks would contain easy-to-prepare meals, enough food for a family of four.
  • Glastonbury ABC, Inc. $20,000 to support repair and remediation to prevent future leakage of flat roof sections of the student residence.  Funds would support replacement of roofing material, repair of wood base structure if necessary, and modifications to enhance drainage.
  • Glastonbury Arts, Inc., $35,000 to support the renovation of the 1,100 sq. ft. Glastonbury Art Center to expand enlarge the gallery space to permit ongoing exhibits year-round and improve the office space.
  • Glastonbury EMS, $18,000 to support the addition of two LUCAS mechanical chest compression machines to Glastonbury EMS’s inventory to have a full complement for 4 ambulances.
  • Glastonbury Little League, $25,750 to support the Inclusion Program, a scholarship program that waives registration fees and provides needed equipment, and field improvements at Riverfront Park and the Glastonbury Varsity Softball field. The Inclusion Program is expected to expand this year as students who reside in Hartford and East Hartford, but who attend school in Glastonbury, are now eligible to join Glastonbury Little League.
  • Glastonbury MLK Community Initiative, $15,750 to support five Community Conversations designed to bring the community together to discuss social justice and civil rights issues.
  • Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective (HGLHC), $3,000 to support outreach to increase awareness of HGLHC and their services among Glastonbury residents. HGLHC is seeking to increase the number of Glastonbury residents served, as well as the number of Glastonbury businesses it partners with.
  • Historical Society of Glastonbury,  $22,000 to support upgrading the security system to protect the historic structures, collections and the public, as well as installation of needed signage.
  • Horace Bushnell Memorial Hall Corporation, $10,000 to support an afterschool arts education program at Glastonbury-East Hartford Magnet School.  The program will be offered over four weeks and be focused on visual arts, music, and physical education.
  • Land Heritage Coalition of Glastonbury, Inc. $35,000 to support the stabilization of historic 5-story stone mill walls located in Cotton Hollow to ensure preservation and public safety, and site improvements.
  • Layavinyasa, $7,000 to engage and educate Glastonbury residents about the scope of Indian arts. Participants would include children's programs at South Glastonbury Library, Youth and Family Services, Glastonbury Senior Center, Glastonbury Parks & Rec, and other locations.  Programs will be offered virtually and in-person.
  • Malta House of Care, Inc., $6,000 to provide free medical care to uninsured Glastonbury residents.
  • National Council of Community Justice, $40,000 to support a yearlong partnership with Glastonbury High School for the calendar year 2022 and expansion of DEI work into the community. This partnership works with students, faculty staff and community members to provide educational programs for youth and adults, as well as support and provide guidance for students and teachers throughout the entire year. 
  • Open Doors Outdoors, $18,000 to support a veteran-led program providing Glastonbury residents, veterans and their families, and young people, some with physical and/or mental limitations, with re-connection, outdoor experiences and healing. The program includes a UTV Adventure series, a winter outdoor program, and a multi-distance farm run series. 
  • Operation Fuel, Inc., $5,000 for emergency energy assistance for low- and moderate- income families living in Glastonbury.
  • Rushford Centers, $30,000 to support adjunctive therapies, including yoga, for a substance abuse disorder treatment program in Glastonbury.
  • TALK Truth & Action with Love & Kindness, $3,000 to support up to three Community Forums bringing together professionals representing both sides of an issue so the community can learn about and discuss matters and make their own decisions.  Proposed forums include building better relationships with community members and the police, reviewing educational standards to offer diverse educational materials and improve relationships between youth and school staff, and an environmental forum focusing on carbon footprints and global warming.
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Hartford, Inc., $40,000 to continue to support its LIVESTRONG® fitness and wellness program for adult cancer survivors and its Senior Wellness program. The LIVESTRONG program is a free health and wellness program for cancer survivors. The YMCA’s Senior Wellness program offers a no-cost, 8-session personal training package to seniors with financial need, as well as nutritional programing.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $837 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit or call 860-548-1888.