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Community Fund Gives Out $640,000

Don’t let anyone tell you that Darienites aren’t generous. A living example of that was on display Thursday morning, when the Community Fund of Darien announced its grants for 2010-2011. The group will give away over $640,000 to agencies in Darien, Stamford and Greenwich over the coming year, as well as $23,000 in small grants awarded today and $5,000 from the group’s Youth Community Fund.

The Community Fund split the $640,000 to 26 agencies in eight categories, including Youth Mental Health, Family Strengthening, Elderly Support, Youth and After School Programs, Food and Shelter, Crisis, Special Needs, Self-Sufficiency and Broad Community Services. “A community really is like a fabric,” Community Fund President Bob Wells told the assembled guests, “and you are all the threads that hold it together.”

The group has been distributing funds since 1951, when what was then called the United Fund of Darien started to raise funds for the Community Council’s programs. But this is the first time they’ve held a reception to distribute their grants, to raise awareness for the work of the group’s volunteers and the charities receiving grants. Agency leaders were very responsive to the idea, as one was overheard saying, “It reminds us we’re all in this together.”

Along with the yearly grants, which will be distributed over the coming year, the CFD also gave out smaller, one-time grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. A Better Chance in Darien, Child First, Darien EMS Post 53, Person-to-Person, and The Tiny Miracles Foundation all received checks at Thursday’s reception. Kelsey Harrison, president of the group’s Youth Community Fund, also handed out grants totaling $5,000 to Christian Community Action, DOMUS Stamford Academy, the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, and Shelter for the Homeless.

Community Fund Vice President Jane Malcolm and Executive Director Kiki Karpen handed out the larger grants to: the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, the Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County, Kids in Crisis, the Liberation Programs’ Darien Family and Youth Options, the Family And Children’s Agency, Family Centers, Family ReEntry, the YWCAs of Darien and Norwalk, ElderHouse, Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care of Southwestern Connecticut, the Depot Teen Center, DOMUS Trailblazers Academy, the George Washington Carver Center, the Yerwood Center, the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, the Shelter for the Homeless, the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education Center, Abilis, Laurel House, STAR, Lighting the Way, St. Luke’s LifeWorks, Person-to-Person, AmeriCares Free Clinic in Norwalk, and the Housing Development Fund.

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