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Philanthropy Matters. Philanthropy Works. Anyone can be a philanthropist at any time, in any amount. Established by the Board of Directors in 1997, the Middlesex Enhancement Fund is available to all donors to make gifts of any size. Over the years the Fund has grown substantially with memorial, anonymous and other gifts. Grant making is the most direct and effective way the Community Foundation works with donors to support the community in which we live, work and play. This Fund supports grants to meet current needs and improve conditions in the county. The Community Foundation is limited only by your…

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There are so many ways to remember Judy Heiser. She was a tireless, talented, and compassionate member of her community and a beloved wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend to so many. Judy, a quiet but active leader, led a life centered around serving and being part of her community. She embodied “LIVE LOCAL” in all aspects of her life – from operating a small business on Main Street in Essex, to volunteering for local nonprofits, to coordinating annual parades and the Scarecrow Festival, to brightening the holidays for thousands of children and their families as “Mrs. Claus”…

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We are surrounded by amazing, outstanding, remarkable, trailblazing women in our community. These are women who mentor and who share and who lead; these are women who step forward to serve their communities; and these are women who appreciate those who have helped forge the path before them and who are committed to helping young women who will come after them. Representative Kai Belton is just such a woman. Kai has spent her life surrounded by women (and men) who provided guidance and advice along the way – and on occasion, just a little push to help her take the…

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Connor Meaney Young was a visionary. He was also an entrepreneur and he cared deeply about his community. At 14 years old, Connor channeled his passion for landscaping and his vision of entrepreneurship into his own business. A native of East Haddam, Connor and a fellow classmate started C&M Lawn and Landscaping. Their goal was to offer the best landscaping experience possible to their community, and to look to their clients and community to help them grow as business leaders and community members. Connor was a true caretaker at heart – of his business and of his community. His eagerness…

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The VRHS Trades Awards acknowledges the value of the work of tradespeople and the challenges of getting established. This award is intended to aid graduating Valley Regional High School (VRHS) students who are choosing to pursue a trade, field, or business venture after graduation rather than attend a college or university. The VRHS Class of 1982 was made up of individuals with a strong sense of community and compassion. This has continued since graduation, and the class continues to find impactful ways to engage with their community and mentor those students following in their footsteps. Recently members of the Class…

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A passionate outdoorsman, Jack Thomas Condulis moved to Tampa, FL, to work for The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company as a Project Engineer. The location was perfect for this avid boater, fisherman, and hunter. A graduate of Clemson University with a BS in Construction Science and Management, his work with WTCC brought him into close contact with designers, engineers, architects and other professionals on a day-to-day basis – all areas of interest for Jack as he pursued his career in commercial and civil construction projects. Jack had many interests he enjoyed but his happiest times were with his family and friends, whether…

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Joshua Tucker Winslow loved his family and friends, his community, working with his hands, and the water. Josh was an integral member of the shoreline community and touched the lives of many. Known as a big teddy bear, Josh appreciated all the wonderful things the shoreline community offered and the people who work every day to make sure this region is the best place to live, work, and play.  Josh believed in following your passions and finding out what you do well. He built his own construction company from the ground up and his most recent project was building his…

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We are surrounded by people who, every day, are working to make our community better, stronger, and more vibrant – not just today but for generations to come. Melissa Schlag was just such a person. Melissa accomplished so much on behalf of her neighbors and her community. She was a land conservationist, an environmental advocate, a youth mentor at Save the Sound, a civic journalist, and a former First Selectman of Haddam. As a political leader, Melissa networked with the EPA and officials at the State Capitol to remove pollutants from the Higganum Cove so it could be enjoyed as…

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The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) received an early 20th anniversary gift in 2017 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…

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Reading. Writing. Arithmetic. The three “R”s – and of course, add a little history, some science and a splash of art. Now you have a basic “education.” Yet an education can be so much more than that. Education provides knowledge about the world. It can pave the way for a good career, help build character, and lay the foundation for a stronger community. An anonymous donor approached the Community Foundation with a passion – provide funding support for programs and services serving people of low to moderate income to achieve economic success through education. That passion resulted in the Endowed…

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Kathy and Willard have been involved with the Community Foundation since the very beginning – their love of community and belief in the ability of a group of people to address the issues and make a positive impact in the community have done so much for Middletown and Middlesex County. Willard, a founding Director of the Community Foundation, and Kathy knew that CFMC would bring the Middlesex County community together to address the issues of today as well as the future and support organizations serving our region. Through their love of community, belief that education is the best foundation for a successful life, and…

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A LIFELONG COMMITMENT TO STUDENTS You hear it all the time: “Do your homework.” “Stay in school.” Study hard and you’ll be a success.” How often do you actually see someone doing more than offering these platitudes? Well, in Mary Rawlins, many students found their champion. Mary Rawlins (1929-1995), a founder of the Connecticut Association of Affirmative Action Professionals (now Connecticut Association of Diversity and Equity Professionals or CADEP), was particularly interested in improving educational opportunities for minority students and encouraging them to stay in school. Some twenty years ago, she and her fellow members of CAAAP (now CADEP) established an…

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