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Association of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp


When asked why he created Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, Paul Newman replied, “I wanted, I think, to acknowledge Luck; the chance of it, the benevolence of it in my life, and the brutality of it in the lives of others, made especially savage for children because they may not be allowed the good fortune of a lifetime to correct it.”

It gives me goose bumps, too.

Paul certainly had luck but, more important, he was a good man and a hard worker. To credit luck with his achievements wouldn’t be giving him enough credit, and his camps are further proof of his success and largesse.

What it is: Movie buffs may recognize “Hole in the Wall Gang” from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, referring to a “ragtag group of bandits.”

Each camp is for “children diagnosed with cancer, sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS, hemophilia and other serious and life-threatening conditions enjoy more than they or their parents ever thought possible. Activities include archery, mini golf, swimming, boating, fishing, horseback riding, arts and crafts, sports, theater and camping; all are designed to include every child and ensure that no child will fail. A zero-entry pool provides water fun for all campers, regardless of any mobility challenges they may have. A special warming room or ‘French fryer’ allows children with sickle cell anemia to enjoy swimming – many for the first time in their young lives. An exceptional tree house, mini golf course and multiple trails are specially designed to be wheelchair-accessible, ensuring an inclusive experience for all youngsters.”

All campers attend free of charge.

Give     Westport    
Friday, June 17, 2011 • Permalink



Counselors to American’s Small Businesses, Fairfield Chapter

It was the late ‘90s. Like most young women in the free world, I decided to start a handbag business. Because I had no clue what I was doing, the handbag venture sort of fizzled. (I did get to tour creepy manufacturing facilities in New York and Fall River, though, so that was a plus.)

In retrospect, I did two things correctly with my business: 1. Consulted a retired businessman through SCORE, who gave me very helpful advice, 2. Folded.

Given today’s economy, thousands of people are starting their own small businesses. I advise them to consult SCORE for help. (Not to be confused with Scores. Biiiig difference.)

What they do: “SCORE… was established by Congress in 1964 as a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and formation, growth and success of small business. … SCORE volunteers use their expertise and energies to implement proven business practices in accomplishing your business objectives.” (website) Counselors offer expertise in almost every skill (IT, General Management, Marketing, PR, Strategic & Growth Planning, etc) and in almost every interest area (Photography, Retailing, Traveling, Gardening, etc.).

Who they are: “The Fairfield County Chapter has 50 volunteer professionals with a very broad mix of senior executive and small business experience. These dedicated men and women include both working and retired executives and business owners.” (website)

Click to read the rest ... "SCORE"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 • Permalink

A Better Chance

A Better Chance


My kids’ weekday morning routine is as follows: wake up at 5:45 AM, rub lotion into the carpet/watch popsicles melt on the kitchen floor/pour my organic toner in the bathtub, spend 45 minutes sprawled at the bottom of the staircase instead of getting dressed, feign illness, pick at breakfast, repeatedly voice preferred breakfast and school snack options, complain about school until school starts.

I daydream about my kids running into my room and jumping on my bed shouting, “Wake up Mommy! It’s a school day and I want to LEARN!” But… that will never happen.

However, there are kids who want to go to school. In fact, the only thing hindering their academic progress is the lack of quality public schools and the financial inability to attend private schools. A Better Chance in Westport and New Canaan has found a way to help.

What they do: “This program selects motivated students of color from educationally disadvantaged areas who demonstrate potential for academic excellence and leadership in life.” (website) Those selected live in town and attend either the award-winning Staples High School or St. Luke’s prep school. They become part of the community and the town, in turn, benefits from the diversity.

Who they are: ABC programs are run by area residents and community leaders. While each town’s program is a discreet entity, ABC is a national organization and individuals are selected from completed applications sent to its headquarters. Therefore, students come from all over the United States.

Click to read the rest ... "A Better Chance"

Give     New Canaan     Westport    
Monday, May 30, 2011 • Permalink

The EQUUS Foundation


“Therapeutic horseback riding” sounds like a contradiction in terms. If you’re not feeling well already, burning thigh-pain doesn’t seem like an effective remedy. But studies have shown strutting atop the equine helps handicapped and injured people develop balance, coordination and core strength. As well, the relationship with the horse helps challenged individuals on an emotional and mental level. So it’s actually a cool way to recupe.

Financing these therapy programs is just one way in which The EQUUS Foundation (TEF), founded in 2002, is helping people and horses in Fairfield County. For millions of years, horses have provided transportation, therapy, sports, friendship, recreation, and other innumerable services. TEF recognizes and supports horses’ critical role in our society.

Who they are: A impressive bunch of people and organizations who provide help and money to charities that focus on horses and horse-related causes. Their website states this more eloquently.

What they do: They create “a more compassionate America that values the role the horse plays in modern society through education and the award of grants.”

There are three types of grants and anyone may apply: public welfare grants, horse welfare grants, and sports welfare grant.

Click to read the rest ... "The EQUUS Foundation"

Give     Westport    
Thursday, May 05, 2011 • Permalink


Abilis, Greenwich

50 Glenville Street, Greenwich
1150 Summer Street, Stamford

Remember when Rain Man wins big in Vegas by counting numbers? What man didn’t wonder, “Wow. If I had autism I could be rich.” But then they see Raymond in the fire alarm scene a few minutes later and decide it may not be so fun after all. Men (sigh).

Because autism isn’t so great. But people with autism can be great with the resources and help they need; resources Abilis has provided since 1951.

What they do: Abilis (formerly known as Greenwich ARC) “has served people of all ages with autism, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities in the Greenwich-Stamford area. We changed our name in 2008 to reflect all that people with developmental disabilities contribute to society.” Their support programs help adults, children, and families, through residential, employment, and community network services.

How they work: “…Abilis meets the myriad needs of people with developmental disabilities - not only in childhood, but throughout their lives.

  - Abilis works in schools, civic organizations and with families in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and throughout Fairfield County and into Westchester County in New York state.
  - Abilis provides employment services for adults and residential support to adults in more than a dozen homes owned by Abilis in Greenwich and Stamford, as well as to people living more independently in apartments and condominiums.

Many families work with us for weeks or months. For others, the journey lasts years or even a lifetime… Abilis provides people with the support and advocacy they need to build able lives and strong communities.” Services are from birth through adulthood.

Click to read the rest ... "Abilis"

Give     Greenwich     Stamford    
Wednesday, April 06, 2011 • Permalink

National Cristina Foundation

500 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich

Robin’s note: In 1984, David Bruce McMahan donated a used Apple 2e computer to his daughter Cristina’s special-needs classroom. After seeing the enormous impact this “obsolete” hardware had on the social and educational development of the children, he partnered with Dr. Yvette Marrin and created this foundation to collect and distribute much-needed used technology. To date, computers donated through NCF have helped millions of people around the world.

Who they are: “The National Cristina Foundation provides computer technology and solutions to give people with disabilities, students at risk and economically disadvantaged persons the opportunity, through training, to lead more independent and productive lives.” (website)

What they provide: Donated computers and technology (from individuals and corporations) to charities, schools, and public agencies in the U.S. and other countries.

How to donate: The foundation accepts used laptops, desktop computers, software, peripherals, and other items. Log onto http://www.cristina.org for requirements and donation instructions.

Give     Greenwich    
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 • Permalink

Wholesome Wave Foundation

Wholesome Wave Foundation


I only eat organic. Okay, that’s a lie. But the blame falls squarely on the hormone-fueled shoulders of those driving the cupcake trend, the guys at 4 Brothers (see “4 Brothers Pizza”), and anyone who shakes a potable margarita. So, though I may flounder a bit in practice. I whole-heartedly support the concept of a healthy diet (see “Detox Diet Diary” and “Susan Mudd”).

Fortunately, so do three “sustainable food activists” who, inspired by Paul Newman’s philanthropic largesse, began Wholesome Wave Foundation (WW) in 2007 to bring healthy eating to underserved communities.

Who they are: Dressing Room chef Michel Nischan, senior Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the USDA (phew) Gus Schumacher, and Michael Batterberry, founder of Food Arts magazine shared a vision to make fresh locally grown produce available to those who couldn’t afford the hefty price tags of organic foods. They teamed up with Newman’s family and the founders of Priceline.com to organize a privately-funded food assistance program.

Click to read the rest ... "Wholesome Wave Foundation"

Give     Westport    
Friday, March 11, 2011 • Permalink

Save the children

Save the Children

54 Wilton Road, Westport

Robin’s note: International STC spends 92% of its funds on program services and is headquartered in Westport. Their office in Haiti continues to work tirelessly for disaster relief, notably setting up safe centers for children.

Who they are: “Save the Children is the leading independent organization creating lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world. Recognized for our commitment to accountability, innovation and collaboration, our work takes us into the heart of communities, where we help children and families help themselves.”—savethechildren.org

What they provide: STC offers programs and teaches skills to children and communities in 50 countries around the world, including the U.S. These programs and skills include farming, nutrition, literacy, and physical education. They also provide disaster relief and child protection services.

Approximate number of employees: Lots

Biggest fundraising efforts:
Individual efforts coordinated by school-age children and adults
2009 Vogue/Bulgari 125th Anniversary Celebration, Britain, to benefit STC’s “Rewrite the Future” campaign
2009 “Save the Children” Cocktail Party in NYC, sponsored by Bulgari
Various celebrity parties & sponsorships


Give     Westport    

Fairfield Community Foundation

FCF Logo


As many of you know, at least those who scroll beyond “Bars” and “Look Good,” this site includes write-ups of local charities and foundations. Why? Three reasons: 1) it’s amazing how many wonderful opportunities exist for giving, 2) it’s alarming how few of the 2,243+ organizations we’re actually aware, and 3) researching them independently is as tedious as cleaning Vaseline off your carpet with toilet paper and baby shampoo.

The FCF understands this and was created to make giving a lot of easier.

What they do: The FCF helps you “select those [organizations] that match your charitable passions and provide well-run programs that achieve results…. [and] help local nonprofits operate at peak efficiency so they get the most good out of every dollar. You can also join other like-minded donors to engage in collective giving.”

Who they are: FCF’s leadership is composed of local community and business leaders.

Where your money goes: To ensure money is used most effectively, grants focus on 6 areas –
  - Education and Youth Development
  - Economic Opportunity (including affordable housing, workforce development, and immigrant success)
  - Health and Human Services
  - Arts and Culture/Arts Education
  - The Environment/Environmental Education
  - Nonprofit Capacity Building

Click to read the rest ... "Fairfield Community Foundation"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Thursday, February 17, 2011 • Permalink

Fund for Women and Girls


Last August, Jennifer Aniston assured women everywhere that we don’t need men to have babies. Okay, aside from piffling matters like the biology of human reproduction and male role models, she kind of has a point. I mean, a women pulling in her kind of coin can replace a father with a fleet of nannies, a night nurse, a maid, a vegan chef, and todder wardrobe full of designer clothing.

But, sadly, the lights on Hollywood Boulevard seem to have blinded her from reality. First, she has no children and, therefore, no clue what she’s talking about. Second, most single moms do need help: that’s where a baby daddy comes in pretty handy. And if he isn’t around, and money is tight, then they need someone – and I’m not referring to a casting director or personal assistant.

That’s where the Fund for Women and Girls comes in handy.

Who they are: “Established in 1998 by women for women, the Fund for Women and Girls is a permanent Field of Interest fund of the Fairfield County Community Foundation… (and) has become the largest women’s fund in New England.”

What they do: “In 2007, the Fund published the first research study on the status of women and girls in Fairfield County… Our research confirmed what was expected… too many women are living at the poverty level because of limited education, low-paying jobs and the high cost of child care.

Since the Fund’s establishment, it has awarded $1.4 million in grants to Fairfield County nonprofits that address the unique needs of women and girls. Our investments and collaborations aim to

Click to read the rest ... "Fund for Women and Girls"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Wednesday, February 09, 2011 • Permalink

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