Sisters’ Legacy to Support Where We Live, Work and Play

Community Foundation of Middlesex County to Receive $8 Million Bequest

 The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) received an early 20th anniversary gift this year with news that the nonprofit organization will be the recipient of an $8 million bequest from the trust of the late Mary Janvrin. Ms. Janvrin and her pre-deceased sister Natalie Janvrin Wiggins lived quiet lives in Old Lyme. They shared a life-long love of all nature, particularly birds, as well as the arts and history.  Mary later resided in Chester and continued to enjoy the beauty of the region until her passing in September 2016.  At that time her trust set into motion the establishment of an $8 million fund at CFMC, as well as an $8 million fund at the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut (CFECT).  The CFMC bequest will be used to establish the “Mary Janvrin and Natalie Janvrin Wiggins Fund for Birds, Other Animals, and Nature”, which will celebrate numerous and creative possibilities honoring the sisters’ passions.

“Mary loved to talk about the birding trips that her father took her on as a young girl and which inspired her life-long passion. Her yard always had bird feeders, and it was fascinating to hear her talk about the special songs and habits of the different species.  She also painted and sketched birds and carved wooden miniatures,” reflected Attorney Suzanne Kitchings of Kitchings & Potter. “It was indeed a pleasure to help Mary plan for the creation of the funds at two local community foundations. We are confident in their abilities to carry out the wishes of Mary and Natalie to support birds, other animals and nature in the region in perpetuity.”

CFMC President and CEO Cynthia Clegg noted, “It is indeed a great honor to be given the responsibility of ensuring that Mary’s and Natalie’s life passions are supported now and forever, and to be one of the chosen facilitators.  We look forward to finding many ways to maximize the community impact of their profound legacy. What a wonderful gift to everyone in our region. “

To date, CFMC’s environmental grant making has supported many programs, whether it be ones that bring urban youth into the woods for the first time, or ones that help community coalitions organize to preserve their environment. The Community Foundation’s support for environmental efforts emphasizes the relationship between people and nature, with education and empowerment as a focus of its holistic approach to environmental work. “We must consider how we live in this world together and preserve the environment of our region,” added Clegg.

Moira Martin, Senior Vice President of the Essex Savings Bank Trust Department, executor of the Janvrin estate, recently stated, “Having worked with Mary, we know that she was proud to be able to leave a lasting legacy for the wildlife, lands and people in the region that was home to her and Natalie. As a community bank, we are gratified to be able to work with like-minded organizations such as the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut to help Mary and Natalie’s passion for bird and environmental conservation benefit our communities for years to come.”




The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) improves the quality of life for the people of Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook. By developing endowments, CFMC makes grants that have impact now and in the future, and assists donors in meeting their philanthropic goals. Since its founding in 1997, CFMC has awarded more than $5.4 million through 1,830 grants for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements, and for health and human services. In addition to providing much needed financial support to community-based nonprofits, the Foundation goes “beyond the grant” and offers numerous workshops, seminars, webinars and one-on-one consulting to help its nonprofit partners grow, flourish, and deliver improved programs and services. For more information on the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, go to, email or call (860)347-0025.

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