Year end at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County is always a very busy time. This year, our 18th, is no different as we review the results from our 2015 partnerships and announce the programs and services that will receive funding in 2016. It’s a time to be grateful for not only our generous friends and neighbors, but also for where we live, work and play, particularly in light of recent tragedies in other communities. It’s a time to thank the many people n Middlesex County who work with us and lend their support to help make our local communities a better place to live for all. Here are just a few of the 2015 initiatives and awards that are making a big difference in the shoreline area.
Compassion Counts. A group of community organizations formed a collaborative with the goal of getting the issues surrounding mental illness out in the open and creating a dialogue for action. Inspired by their vision, an anonymous donor reached out to the Community Foundation to establish the Mental Wellness Fund to help support dedicated groups like these. This winter, a group of more than 15 shoreline community organizations hosted the “Compassion Counts: A Shoreline Community Forum Exploring Mental Wellness In an Age of Stress and Anxiety,” at Westbrook High School. Over 200 people of all ages participated in the open exchange.
Campaign for Bully-Free Communities. Thanks to the initiative of the CFMC Council of Business Partners, over 300 students, educators and civic leaders from throughout Middlesex County and beyond attended the 2nd Annual Rally for Bully-Free Communities in October; 450 M & J Bus Company drivers received bullying prevention training; and 1257 grade five and grade six students from Essex, Chester, Deep River, Clinton, Portland, Durham, Middlefield, Middletown and East Hampton were able to attend the production of The Bully, an off-Broadway musical that tells the story of a middle-school bully and his target, the smartest kid in school, who have to work together and realize they are not so different from one another.
Westbrook Youth and Family Services was awarded $2000 to support their relentless service and programs that integrate and support the residents of the town and others who need help. This was a result of a grant received by CFMC from the Wesleyan University “Money and Social Change” class, a curriculum-based program that studies philanthropy and its impact on social change. The Community Foundation of Middlesex County was one of four non-profits selected to receive grants out of a field of 188 Middlesex County organizations, and was recognized for best fostering sustainable independence and helping to bridge systemic gaps.
It is truly amazing what we can accomplish when we work together with passion and compassion. The new year promises to be even brighter with so many ways for each and every one of us to lend a hand. Give us a call at 860-347-0025 or email us at info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org to learn more.
This article was previously published in December, 2015, in both the Valley Courier and the Harbor News.
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