Suffield Improvement Projects Awarded $67,483 by the Amiel Zak Fund at Hartford Foundation

For years, guests of The Friends of the Farm at Hilltop’s Harvest Dinner fundraiser often had to navigate walking out of a bright tent into the dark night. The organization has managed the best they could by setting up temporary lighting to assist guests on their way back to their cars when the dancing is over. That will be history, thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Amiel P. Zak Public Service Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

The Friends of the Farm at Hilltop, Inc. has been awarded a grant of $15,000 to install external lights on the dairy barn and the houses and large garage that make up the farmstead. Low-level lightning will be installed along the walkways and in the areas used for event parking.  This will make the farm’s Harvest Dinner a more inviting event, and it will also make it much easier to host other evening programs and events at Hilltop Farm.

Funding for external lighting throughout the Farm at Hilltop are among 10 grants totaling $67,483 awarded for community improvement projects in Suffield by the Amiel P. Zak Public Service Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

“I started volunteering at Hilltop Farm about eight years ago. As I became more involved, I started to notice all the projects that had been made possible thanks to support from the Zak fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving,” said Kacy Colston, president of The Friends of the Farm at Hilltop, Inc. “These resources have been instrumental in helping The Friends of the Farm at Hilltop pursue our vision of making Hilltop Farm a community resource for education; promoting agriculture, conservation and preservation.”

The Amiel P. Zak Public Service Fund was established in 2002 by Michael Zak to honor the service of his late father, who was a teacher at Suffield High School for 35 years and served on numerous town boards as well as many civic and public associations. According to Michael, during his time on these boards, his father often expressed frustration when the town did not have the budget to meet what he considered important community needs. The Public Service Fund created in his name makes it possible for projects to be financed when they otherwise might not make it into the town’s annual budget.

In addition, the Amiel P. Zak Scholarship Fund at the Hartford Foundation has awarded college scholarships totaling more than $155,000 since 2002 to 14 students from Suffield High School.  This year’s recipient is Morgan Bikowski who plans to study mathematics and education at the University of Connecticut.

Amiel P. Zak’s vision is being fulfilled in many ways this year, too.  In addition to the scholarship and lighting, other 2015 grants awarded are:

  • $10,000 to the Suffield Volunteer Ambulance Association to upgrade audio and visual equipment and other resources for the Association’s training room.
  • $7,500 to The Suffield Players, Inc. for capital improvements to Mapleton Hall.
  • $6,500 to the Suffield Elementary PTO for three enrichment programs for Spaulding Elementary and McAllister Intermediate Schools.
  • $5,418 to Kent Memorial Library for a conservation plan for the library’s historical room.
  • $5,365 to Friends of Suffield to provide a stage for the entertainment area at Suffield on the Green.
  • $5,000 to the Network Against Domestic Abuse of North Central CT, Inc. to support the Community Youth Education Program.
  • $5,000 to Connecticut Landmarks for renovations and equipment for the Phelps-Hatheway House and garden.
  • $4,000 to Oak Hill to install a heating system in the sunroom at the Suffield Group Home located on Quail Run Drive.
  • $3,700 to Boy Scouts Troop 66 for camping equipment.

Each year the Hartford Foundation invites grant proposals designed to improve the quality of life for the residents of Suffield. Since the Amiel P. Zak Public Service Fund was established in 2002, more than $780,000 has been awarded through 96 grants, including the restoration of the Parkes Loomis antique horse-drawn carriage by the Suffield Historical Society and the purchase of the Suffield town clock located at High Street and Mountain Road (Route 168).

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities.  In 2015, the Foundation celebrates 90 years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations.  It has awarded grants of more than $620 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit or call 860-548-1888.