At its Annual Reception on May 22, The Valley Community Foundation (VCF) announced its 2017 accomplishments in a room filled with donors, grantees, public officials and community-minded citizens.
VCF president & CEO Sharon Closius joyfully shared 2017 year-end results. The Valley community’s endowment grew to $25 million in assets and over 180 funds. VCF received $2 million in gifts and awarded $1.7 million in grants to nonprofits serving VCF’s five towns. VCF funds also achieved an 18.3% return on investment.
VCF Board Chair Alan Tyma opened the meeting welcoming guests and thanking the three Board members who completed seven-year terms of service on the Board on December 31, 2017: Diane Stroman, Bill Nimons and William Ginsberg. He spoke of progress made in the Valley Gives Back campaign, in an effort to build more permanent charitable capital for the Valley through heightened awareness of planned giving opportunities.
In an otherwise festive atmosphere, VCF president and CEO Sharon Closius spoke of the unreliability of state and federal funding, and ever-growing need for services in the Valley as a motivating factor to help nonprofits build other revenue sources.
That is why VCF made the largest multi-year commitment in its history by awarding $856,000 in general operating support to Valley organizations during 2017, Closius noted.
“There has never been a more important time for VCF to support organizations committed to the Valley,” she explained. “We are living in a time when the quality of life for our most needy Valley residents is more and more dependent on the generosity of others to build, protect, and enhance the vibrancy of our community through our nonprofits.” Closius cited data from the Valley Community Index which has been used by VCF since 2016 as a guide in its work to strengthen the Valley community, and she asked Valley residents to answer the phone if they receive a call to participate in the next well-being survey.
Closius reported that 2018 marked VCF’s sixth consecutive year participating in The Great Give® as a sponsoring partner. The 36-hour community-wide online giving event raised more than $1.7 million overall for the Greater New Haven region, and more than $350,000 in contributions and prize money for VCF’s five-town community in particular. Worth noting, said Closius, was that five Valley organizations were among the top 20 out of 406 in raising the most money: Center Stage, Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, BHcare, Spooner House and Shelton Robotics.
The Oxford Land Trust and Ansonia Middle School PASS Program were also featured during the evening for the positive contributions each were making in the community, thanks, in part, to 2017 funding from VCF. And representatives of the new funds established at VCF in 2017 were introduced and welcomed into the VCF family.
A major focus of the evening was the newly-signed Affiliation Agreement between the Valley Community Foundation and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (TCF). The signing, which officially happened on May 18, 2018, marked the fourth such formal agreement between the two permanent community endowments.
Unlike previous agreements, this agreement will govern the relationship over the next 10 years with annual renewal opportunities.
As with previous agreements, TCF will continue to provide back-office support to VCF and annually distribute the equivalent of ninety-percent of its Gates Fund value to VCF (historically more than $1.1 million), as a way of carrying out TCF’s philanthropic objectives in the five Valley towns served by both foundations.
The Gates Fund was established by Derby brothers Frank and Ross Gates more than half a century ago at TCF for the benefit of the Valley.
“The Foundation’s work in the Lower Naugatuck Valley has been a major part of what we do for more than six decades, and it will continue to be so in the future as we honor the intent of the Gates brothers in perpetuity,” says William W. Ginsberg, president & CEO of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. “The creation of VCF fourteen years ago was a very deliberate step by TCF and Valley community leaders to tap the powerful community spirit in the Lower Naugatuck Valley in a new way that could build a permanent philanthropic resource for that community. From our perspective, VCF is a Valley community success story that validates both our original reasons for creating VCF and our generous support for it since 2004. We look forward to a continued partnership of close strategic and operational alignment that can build a stronger community for all.”
“This latest Affiliation Agreement underscores the strength and bond of the relationship between VCF and TCF, and has been instrumental in making it possible for us to grow and build community philanthropy for the Valley,” said Closius, who thanked The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, fundholders and nonprofits for VCF’s success. “The journey has not been ours alone.”