Valley Community Foundation Grants Boost Area Nonprofits and Programs

Latest round of grants include key funding for “Jaws of Life."

Derby, Conn. (Aug. 17, 2023) – The Valley Community Foundation (VCF) and its Board of Directors recently allocated more than $297,000 in grants to 25 area nonprofits, including a multiyear grant to help local first responders purchase life-saving equipment.

The grants will fund organizations that serve the Valley in various vital sectors including food assistance, youth services/sports, education, healthcare, sexual assault services, arts and culture, public safety, and more.

The only multiyear grant this year, a $60,000 two-year grant to Storm Engine Company Ambulance & Rescue Corps in Derby, will help purchase new “Jaws of Life.” The Jaws of Life is a life-saving hydraulic rescue tool used to extract car-crash victims from vehicles.

It will be a vital addition to the Storm Engine Company’s emergency response capabilities, said Assistant Chief Brendan Canty.

"Receiving the only multiyear grant from VCF is both an honor and a responsibility and this significant grant from VCF will be a game-changer for our rescue operations,” Canty said. “The modernization of this equipment is not just an upgrade, it's a lifesaving transformation that will enable us to respond to emergencies more efficiently.”

Every year, from January to March, nonprofits and programs from Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour, and Shelton have the opportunity to apply to VCF for Responsive and Community grants. These grants are designed to support activities or projects that contribute to the Valley's improvement or assist residents in tangible ways.

"These grants are not only a reflection of VCF’s commitment to the community but a testament to the hard work and dedication of our Valley nonprofits,” said Sharon Closius, VCF’s President and CEO. “We're immensely proud of the impact these grants will have on the region and everyone who lives here."

The Responsive Grants application process is rigorous, with VCF staff and board members evaluating each application to determine if the organization qualifies for a grant and the appropriate amount it should receive.

"The nonprofits in our region are the heart and soul of our community,” Closius said. “Through our grants, we are joining in their mission and investing in the future of the Valley.”

2023 VCF Responsive Grant Recipients

VCF’s Responsive Grantmaking program is done with its partner in philanthropy, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (TCF). The program is funded by a generous annual grant from a group of TCF Valley preference funds, and other VCF field-of-interest and unrestricted funds.

  • Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley – To support programs that help Valley youth, teach civic engagement and good citizenship, and help them cope with anxiety, bullying and other post-pandemic issues in school. $35,000.
  • cARTie – To help confront inequities in education and arts classes by tailoring programs to meet the specific needs and interests of underserved Valley youth. $15,000.
  • Center Stage Theatre – To provide general operating support to increase entertainment opportunities and a community theater experience for Valley residents. $25,000.
  • Central Connecticut Coast YMCA Valley Branch – To promote health and wellbeing by increasing membership and continue to serve the needs of Valley youth and adults. $20,000.
  • Housatonic Council, Boy Scouts of America – To support the council’s ongoing mission to help scouts learn life-benefiting skills, promote healthy outdoor activities and help the scouts become a more racially diverse organization. $30,000.
  • Life Health and Wellness Center – To increase staff support to increase community outreach, awareness and help underserved populations in the Valley community. $30,000.
  • Massaro Community Farm – To support general operating expenses so it can continue to provide locally grown healthy food for Valley residents, allow for ongoing sustainable agriculture and donate at least 10-percent of its harvest to hunger relief organizations in the region. $10,000.
  • Rape Crisis Center of Milford, Inc. – To support its mission and provide victims of sexual assault with life-saving services and help with increased demand for services in the region. $6,000.
  • Shelton Historical Society – To support the society’s efforts to preserve and promote Shelton and the Valley’s history, especially to reach out to new immigrant residents so they can learn about the Valley and its rich past. $23,000.
  • St. Vincent de Paul of the Valley – To assist in its mission to help people of the Lower Naugatuck Valley with hunger and food insecurity. $32,000.
  • Storm Engine Company Ambulance & Rescue Corps – To help update and buy new life-saving equipment called “The Jaws of Life” that will allow rescuers to get victims of accidents to the hospital faster. $60,000.
  • Traveler on a Mission – To assist the program with its ongoing mission to provide basic human necessities to Valley residents in need. $10,000.

2023 VCF Community Grants

VCF’s Community grants are geared to help Valley volunteer and nonprofit organizations that have less than two full-time, or four part-time employees. These grants range from $250 to $2,500 and can be for new or recurring programs that support civic and community engagement.

  • Afrique Prospere Educatin – To support French-speaking immigrants who have recently settled in the Valley. $500.
  • All-American Valley Basketball Club – To support the club’s participation in an 11-week tournament. $2,500.
  • Annual Thanksgiving Basket Committee – To help purchase food and supplies for Thanksgiving baskets for Valley families in need. $2,500.
  • Derby Boy Scouts Troop 3 – To support the Troop’s Derby Spring through Fall planting and harvesting season. $2,500.
  • Boy Scouts Troop 25 – To support Valley scout families that need tents for camping. $2,500.
  • Boy Scouts Troop 51 – To help purchase a trailer to transport equipment for trips. $2,500.
  • Cub Scout Pack 51 – To support pack/troop recruitment and retention. $2,500.
  • Heaven’s Harvest – To help recover 6,000-lbs of food and redirect to Valley families in need. $2,500.
  • Oxford High School Make a Difference Club – To support crocheting blankets for local animal shelters and help students and seniors collaborate and learn. $2,500.
  • Shelton History Center – To support the rehabilitation of the teaching garden at the Shelton History Center. $2,000.
  • Southford Falls Quilting Club – To support and promote the legacy of quilting in the Valley. $2,000.
  • Traveler on a Mission – To support expanding the Wellness Wagon program to add literature encouraging personal care routines to products distributed through Valley food pantries. $2,500.
  • Valley Refugee Resettlement Project – To support the Valley Refugee Resettlement Project. $2,500.

About the Valley Community Foundation:

Established in 2004, each year the Valley Community Foundation (VCF) distributes approximately $2 million in grants that support local nonprofits and people they serve. In addition to grantmaking, VCF works in strong partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (TCF) to promote philanthropy in Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton and receives funding from The Gates Fund and other preference funds at TCF that benefit the Valley. For more information, visit Valley Community Foundation, 253-A Elizabeth Street, Derby CT, 06418. Office: (203) 751-9162.