Jane C. and David B. Cohen Fund

Est. 2008 as a donor advised fund by Jane C. Cohen.

Jane and David Cohen

Jane Cohen is no stranger to philanthropy.

To celebrate her mother and father-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary in 1951, Jane and her sisters-in-law began the Cohen Family Book Fund at the Derby Public Library, now an endowed fund of the Valley Community Foundation.

A former 25-year member of the Library's Board of Directors, Mrs. Cohen was well aware of the Library's need to keep adding new titles to its collection.

"We started with only a small amount of money ($120), and it has really grown so phenomenally," she once said.

Mrs. Cohen was a firm believer in helping others: "It doesn't matter what your Fund has in it to begin with. You can truly make a difference by starting small and having it grow over time."

Jane was born in Cambridge, MA, and was raised and lived in Quincy, MA until age 11, when her parents, James and Esther Cotter, died within a year of one another. She then came to New Haven and lived in the family homes of her mother's siblings, Shirley Schapiro and Morris Nunes. She later went to High School in the Bronx while living with her cousins, and graduated in 1938 as Salutatorian of her class. Returning to New Haven, she began work in the Shubert Theater box office, where her Uncle Morris was a partner with Maurice Bailey in running the theater. In 1941, she was introduced to David Cohen (1913-91), a Derby lawyer, and they were married the following year and had two sons, Jamie and Andy.

Jane had the chance to go to college in 1956, entering NHSTC (now SCSU) as a 35 year old freshman. She kept with it, made the Dean's List, got her BS and MS degrees, and embarked upon a career as a Guidance Counselor at Derby's Middle School and High School, while maintaining her home and family, and becoming increasingly involved in the Valley nonprofit community.

Numerous charitable organizations were supported by Jane during her life, ranging from the Cause of Racial Justice in the South to the Columbus House in New Haven to serving as Chairwoman of the Valley Red Cross Blood Drive and President of Derby's Griffin Hospital Auxiliary.

"The Book Fund was the impetus behind my desire to continue giving locally," said Mrs. Cohen at one time.

Before her death at the age of 95 in 2016, Cohen created a second fund at VCF - the Jane C. and David B. Cohen Fund - named for she and her late husband, Judge David B. Cohen.

To make a gift to the Jane and David Cohen Fund, please complete the secure online giving form below:

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Jane C. and David B. Cohen Fund