Paul and Gloria Konwerski Family Fund
Est. 2007 as a donor advised fund by the children of Paul and Gloria Konwerski in their memory.
The fund established by Paul and Gloria Konwerski’s children – Paul Konwerski Jr., Peter Konwerski, Julie Konwerski Mauri, and Amy Konwerski – is keeping their parents’ memory alive. The fund not only fulfills their wishes but has proven to be a way to foster Paul and Gloria’s fondest hope – that the family would continue to remain connected in a meaningful way long after they were gone.
While Paul and Gloria’s children are now grown and each live outside the Valley, they felt strongly that the fund should benefit the area where their parents lived, worked, and started their family. Paul taught Social Studies at Shelton High School for 37 years. Gloria taught English, Latin, and Journalism at Naugatuck High School for more than 20 years.
“It’s special to make a connection with a student every year who is graduating from where our Dad worked,” Paul said. “It’s another link to him and makes me look back and realize the impact we’re creating. Our parents are still a big part of our life because we are able to use this fund to help others.”
Paul Konwerski's life was all about people and education. He was one of the first laymen in the country to receive a Master's in Religious Education from Fairfield university, and taught Social Studies at Shelton High School for 37 years, serving as chair of the Social Studies department until his retirement in 2000. He was a member of the Connecticut and National Education Associations as well as the Shelton Education Association where he was a member of the Ethics, Publicity, and Teacher of the Year Committees. He touched so many lives throughout his career that when numerous gifts were received in his memory upon his passing in 2007 it was only fitting that his family chose to establish a family fund in his honor.
"Through his life and work, our dad inspired a commitment to service and social justice—whether that was to school, church, family, or the environment. The way he lived his life and the lessons he taught live on in his students, friends, and family," said son Peter Konwerski.
Older son, Paul Konwerski agreed. "Growing up in and around the Valley, I couldn't go anywhere without someone who knew my father: the insurance agent, mortgage broker, bankers, even the police. They would all tell me he was a great man who was very fair. Everyone dreams of helping the community but only a few do. By setting up this Fund, we wanted to carry on the lessons learned from both our parents in helping and caring for people and your community."
In creating a donor advised fund, the Konwerski family has the flexibility to recommend grants from the fund to qualified charitable organizations of their choice. In addition to supporting a scholarship, they have come to rely on VCF to identify community needs and present opportunities for the fund to support.
“The staff at VCF gives us ideas and, as a family, we talk about what our parents would have wanted to support,” Julie said. “For our most recent grant, and given the circumstances of the pandemic, we decided to support the Valley Community COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund so we can help at a local level.”
She also fondly recalled a thank you note she recently received from a graduating student who benefited from a scholarship. Julie is hopeful that the next generation of her family and the ones that follow will continue to be involved.
The siblings all feel strongly about the lasting impact the fund will have. “We realize we’re only making small gifts to support a community that’s close to our heart,” Peter noted. “But it’s very rewarding as a family to see the power of that philanthropy in the lives of Valley residents and through the schools and community organizations we’ve been fortunate to assist.”
“We’re amazed that we have been able to do this for more than 12 years,” Amy added. “It’s easier than many people think to start a fund at VCF. The return on investment hasn’t just been about the fund growing over time, but rather how great it feels to help others and be involved in the Valley. It’s wonderful to think of this as continuing our parents’ legacy.”
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