Guarrera Family Fund

Est. 2009 as an endowed donor advised fund by Bertha M. and James A. Guarrera.

Bertha and James Guarrera

For Bert Guarrera, a Shelton native, and her husband, Jim, a longtime Shelton resident, it just makes sense to give to the Valley — the place they live, worked as school teachers for many years, and raised their children.

"There is a really strong sense of community here. So many people know and help so many other people," says Bert. The Guarreras have significantly supported the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop and Food Bank in Derby. The facility opened its doors in 1990, thanks to help from Jim Guarerra and a small group of local citizens. St. Vincent de Paul receives clothing donations to stock the thrift shop, which serves as a low-cost shopping alternative while generating income for the food bank that serves the Valley's hungry. Jim currently serves on St. Vincent de Paul's board as Secretary.

Guarrera Family

"There's absolutely a need for food for the needy in the Valley," says Guarerra, who has been a volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul for nearly three decades. When Jim saw the impact of the organization he helped create, he wanted to do even more. So, he and his wife establ

ished The Guarrera Family Fund with the Valley Community Foundation (VCF) in 2009.

"We created our Fund at VCF to help not only St. Vincent de Paul, but also Valley children who are going through difficult times. This is something that we expect our children will continue long after we are gone."
- Bert and Jim Guarrera
The Guarerra Family Fund

The Guarreras credit the Pagliaro family for encouraging them to start a fund. "We've been friends with the Pagliaro Family for longer than I can remember and we have supported their philanthropy through VCF. We decided the time was right for us to create a fund of our own for something we care passionately about," recalls Jim. Remy Kocurek, Director of St. Vincent de Paul of the Valley, says the Guarrera family's contributions have been invaluable for their organization. Not only does Jim give regularly of his time, he and his wife have given through their family fund and during The Great Give®.

"Last year, Jim asked friends and family to donate to St. Vincent de Paul in his honor instead of giving him gifts for his birthday," says Kocurek. Other ways Jim has helped included securing gravy for Thanksgiving when it was running low at the food bank and procuring furniture from houses about to go up for sale. As educators, the Guarreras saw first-hand how important it is to help a child whose family is struggling to make ends meet.
"You can just see how much difference you can make in their lives," says Bert. "It's all about helping out where you can."

The Guarrera Family Fund is a donor advised fund that enables the Guarreras to have direct input into where their money is distributed. Jim says their giving leans toward addressing food insecurities, education, and the arts. "Having our fund at VCF is allencompassing for us," he says. "The fact that this is a Valley organization, where local groups can go for help, is so beneficial. We especially like that we can recommend distributions, which makes it even more meaningful for what we are trying to accomplish." The Guarreras intend to support the Valley community through their fund for many years to come. "We're grateful that VCF exists to help those who really can use our support, both now and in the future," says the couple.

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Guarrera Family Fund