Harbinson Heritage Fund

Est. 2023 by Tom, Norman, and Sharon Harbinson.

Sarah and Robert Harbinson

The Harbinson siblings -- Tom, Norman, and Sharon -- all grew up in the Valley with old-fashioned family values. Commitment to working hard, self-reliance and giving back to the community were common themes in the Harbinson household and expected from all. They’re the traits engrained in them by their late parents, Robert, and Sarah. 

“Both mom and dad had a super-incredible work ethic,” Tom said. “We thought that after dad passed and then mom, we should do something as a family to remember them and preserve those values they taught us for the next generation.” 

In 2023, Tom and his siblings created the Harbinson Heritage Fund, a Valley Community Foundation (VCF) donor advised fund that promotes community and philanthropy in the Valley. 

Robert passed away in 2017, and Sarah in 2023. They were born and raised in Northern Ireland but met in Canada in the 1950s after both had immigrated to North America. After one blind date, the two were inseparable and would marry within the year. 

Robert was a very skilled metalworker construction expert. That work propelled him to become a respected and much sought-after project leader in construction management. He left his mark on iconic projects throughout the region and country. In fact, he was a project manager that helped build Boston’s first skyscraper complex, the Prudential Center. 

Sarah’s compassionate nature led her to nursing, where she dedicated herself to caring for others, leaving a lasting impact on Valley healthcare institutions like Griffin Hospital and numerous nursing homes in the area. 

“As a kid, I remember my mom would work the overnight shift and dad the day shift,” Tom said. “They would have a little time in the morning and at night together, but every day for years, they worked like that, so someone was always home with the kids.” 

In 1979, after working for years for construction and engineering companies, and earning a Mechanical Engineer’s degree, Robert opened his own business -- Intra Development Associates, or IDA. Today, Tom and his brother, Norman, still run the business, now called IDA international, in Derby. 

The Harbinson family’s commitment to public service is well known in the Valley too. Robert was involved in several organizations, like Shelton’s Conservation Commission. Along with Sarah’s tireless dedication to nursing, the couple epitomized their unwavering devotion to their family and the Valley. 

Today, Tom also carries on the Harbinson public service tradition as well, serving on several Shelton boards and commissions.  

 “Our parents’ journey taught us that true success lies not in personal achievement, but in the lives we touch and the communities we uplift,” Tom said. “That’s what our dad and mom were all about.” 

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Harbinson Heritage Fund