Francis Family Fund
Peter Francis was born in Ansonia in 1921, and was a lifelong resident of Stratford. He and his loving wife, Margaret "Peggy" O'Brien Francis, raised their two daughters, Karen and Debbie, with high expectations for their continued education.
"There was never a doubt in my mind that my sister and I would attend college," said daughter Karen Francis. "Education was always so very important to our parents. They grew up in the depression era and neither of them had the chance to further their schooling. Having us go to college meant the world to them."
In July 2009, Peggy died after a brief but brave struggle with cancer. Tragically, just thirteen days later, Debbie also passed away. With a heavy heart, Peter visited the cemetery each day and, with Karen, tried to determine how best to honor the memory of these very special women.
Peter's accountant, Shelton CPA Paul Greenberg, suggested that he speak with Paul's longtime friend, then VCF President Jamie Cohen, about the possibility of creating a Fund at VCF in their honor. The two then sat down and discussed initial details about the Fund. Both Peter and Karen were very comfortable with Jamie and the information and financials he provided. They developed criteria for a Donor Advised Fund, through which the family retained the ability to direct grants where they were needed most. But Peter clearly established that their first priority would be education.
"We wanted to fund an annual scholarship for a student at Bunnell High School in Stratford, who would be pursuing Computer Science, be a good community citizen, and attend either a two or four-year college," she said. "My dad really wanted to make sure that this Fund could help someone who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend college," said Karen.
It was also important to Peter to insure that the Fund would be in place for the long term, so he included Karen as the Fund's Advisor.
"He wanted it to continue long after we were both gone as well," said Karen. Sadly, eighteen months to the day of Debbie's passing, Peter passed away in January, 2011.
"Dad was a very independent man, right up to his last day," said Karen. "He was so glad that we were able to do this to honor my mother and sister. Family meant everything to him. Now I can follow in his footsteps and pay tribute to all of them by continuing to grow this Fund."
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