Sally and Dominick Thomas Family Fund
Dominick Thomas has always been involved with the Valley’s nonprofit organizations. He helped draft the consent document which created the original Valley Advisory Committee back in the late 1990s , and served as a Board member and officer on many charitable organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club, Birmingham Group and VARCA. Further, in his professional life as an attorney/ partner in Derby’s Cohen and Thomas law firm, he has represented numerous local charitable organizations during a 35 year legal career in his hometown.
When Dominick’s former partner, former VCF President Jamie Cohen, announced that he would be retiring from their law practice to assume the helm at VCF, Dominick was equally happy and sad at the same time: Sad that he would be no longer be working directly every day with his dear friend and associate; happy that VCF would be the beneficiary of Jamie’s devoted attention. “Jamie’s leadership has been a great part of VCF’s development over the past five years,” said Dominick. “VCF has become the central place in ‘The Valley’ to coordinate philanthropy and planned giving efforts. And I deliberately use capital letters here to describe it – while there are many other valleys here in Connecticut, there is only one which is truly ‘The Valley’. And through Jamie’s efforts at VCF, he has helped to ensure that ‘The Valley’ has remained the strong, vibrant and connected community that we all know and love.”
When Dominick’s wife Sally passed away in 2011, he established the Sally and Dominick Thomas Family Fund at VCF. “It was the natural thing for us to do at some point,” said Dominick. “Sally had always felt the same way, so it was just a logical choice for me to create this Fund.”
Sally spent her career as a middle and high school guidance counselor – always relating to youth in some capacity. She immediately befriended those students who were seen as different or picked on. “She understood what bullying was even before it made headlines,” said Dominick. “Sally’s main focus was to help students to recognize and handle peer pressure early on so that it did not become an issue. She would often offer tips on how to correct a situation for a child who experienced bullying.”
That’s why Dominick decided that this Donor Advised Fund will focus its attention on anti-bullying programs, to prevent behaviors in children from becoming problems, and to address positive reinforcement and self esteem. “Sally was all about helping these kids learn ways to work things out,” said Dominick. “She would often come home with stories about how frustrating it was to find help for them, since so many school budgets for these types of programs were limited. Our Family Fund will continue Sally’s legacy of helping students to become strong, and to empower them to stand up for themselves in the face of adversity. We are so happy to know that her work and her love for her students will live on forever.”