Valley Community Foundation
253-A Elizabeth St.
Derby CT 06418
Contact Information
Address 253-A Elizabeth St.
Derby, CT 06418-
Telephone (203) 751-9162 x
Fax 203-751-9352
Web and Social Media
Valley Community Foundation's New Office on Elizabeth Street in Derby

Our mission is to make the Valley a better place to live and work, both now and in the future, by connecting private philanthropy to the long-term public good of the Valley.

At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 2004
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Charity Type III Supporting Organization-functionally integrated
CEO/Executive Director Sharon L. Closius
Board Chair Mr. Alan Tyma Esq
Board Chair Company Affiliation Ryan & Tyma, LLP
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years

Our mission is to make the Valley a better place to live and work, both now and in the future, by connecting private philanthropy to the long-term public good of the Valley.


The creation of the Valley Community Foundation (VCF) is the story of how the two Gates brothers continue to improve life in the Valley more than 60 years after their passing. In 1938, the brothers created trusts in the family name benefitting The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (TCF). Ross and Frank passed in 1952 and 1954, respectively, and their legacies became known as the Gates Fund.

The Gates brothers left broad directions for how their donation was to be used – “to support broad charitable purposes with consideration that a portion of the income benefit Derby and vicinity.” In the 1990’s challenges that this funding was not reaching its intended Valley recipients ensued. As a result, TCF formed the Valley Advisory Committee (VAC) to help oversee its grantmaking process in the Valley.

In the early 2000s, after years of very good work by the VAC, visionary and generous Valley community leaders and TCF joined together to create VCF, insuring the Valley would continue to benefit from the Gates’ generous intention. In 2004 The Gates Fund seeded the formation of VCF and now TCF undertakes its Valley philanthropy through VCF. Annually, VCF receives a substantial unrestricted appropriation from TCF to allocate and fulfill its mission to the Valley communities.

The Board of Directors and staff of VCF in partnership with the Board and staff of TCF have steadily built VCF from the ground up, including tremendous impact from VCF donors, as well as Valley nonprofits, community leaders, residents, and the business sector. “Can we do this?” has turned into an emphatic “Yes we can!” A team effort from the very beginning, VCF continues to remain true to its mission, “to make the Valley a better place to live and work, both now and in the future, by connecting private philanthropy to the long-term public good of the Valley.”

We have dedicated ourselves to our mission by:

  • increasing philanthropy; which lifts our entire region
  • encouraging and engaging people to play a role in improving the Valley's quality of life
  • attracting and making grants from permanent endowed funds
  • providing leadership on critical community issues
  • connecting donors with vital non-profit organizations
  • managing and growing the endowments of non-profit organizations

And, most importantly, by providing a means for individuals to continue their philanthropy in perpetuity.


In 2015, VCF received nearly $1.7M in gifts from individuals and organizations to build our philanthropic pool, established 11 new funds and awarded more than $1.5M in grants to nonprofit organizations making a difference in the Valley. VCF has 156 funds with assets totaling $19.9M dedicated to the needs of the Valley. More than $229K was raised during among the five Valley towns The Great Give 2015.

Community foundations help build and strengthen a region by connecting people and organizations who want to make a difference through their funds and donations. We do not do it on our own; we work with others who are passionate about what they do. We reach out to donors who want to make a difference through their funds and donations. We support nonprofits whose very mission is to implement change in our communities. Together, we effect positive change in our Valley.

With our donors, we strive to ensure the Valley’s nonprofits are strong and stable. We go beyond grantmaking, whether it is helping nonprofits build their technical expertise through workshops that strengthen their staff and boards, providing them with the opportunity to invest in a diversified professionally managed investment pool, or by sponsoring an online giving event – The Great Give. Our goal is to help our nonprofits become more sustainable so they can better fulfill their mission for the people in the Valley.

We also work cooperatively to build an informed community about issues that matter. We are in discussions with key Valley stakeholders about the value of having a community indicators report which will have long term impact on the Valley community.

There is truly no other place like the Valley! We have made tremendous strides in our young history and look forward to a bright future.


1.) Connecting private philanthropy to the long term public good;

2.) Raising the level of permanent philanthropy in the Valley, which lifts our entire region;

3.) Addressing our community's most pressing needs;

4.) Providing local non profits with financial support and technical assistance to help them become more sustainable so they can better fulfill their missions.

CEO Statement

The Valley is a true testament of community spirit. One of the core missions of community foundations is to support and encourage local pride and civic engagement. It is critical to the health of the region to have people from different walks of life, different ages, and different ethnicities work together to help ensure the collective wellbeing of our beloved Valley. 

It’s those who came before us who built the Valley’s reputation of being home to hard-working, faith-filled, family-centered citizens. There is a history of people who put others ahead of self, who work together for the greater good. As your community foundation, we hope to inspire you, your friends, family, and colleagues, to keep these enduring qualities alive.

Each fund at the Foundation has a story of a donor wanting to give back and make a permanent impact. Whether it’s helping a student pursue higher education, aiding a key nonprofit sustain its critical work, or supporting the purchase of books at the local library, our funds are making a difference in the Valley today and will do so for years to come.

In 2014, Valley Community Foundation (VCF) established 10 new funds and awarded just over $1.3 million in grants to those making a difference in our region! In addition, we received $1.8 million in gifts from individuals and organizations, which together with a great investment return, our assets grew from $17.7 to nearly $19.5 million.

We are the Valley’s only permanent philanthropic vehicle able to bring people together and collectively build a foundation of legacies that will forever make a difference. It is truly an honor for us to serve the Valley community as VCF’s Board Chair and CEO.

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Philanthropy,Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations / Community Foundations
Areas Served

The Valley Community Foundation (VCF) in partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, aims to make the Valley a better place to live and work, both now and in the future, by connecting private philanthropy to the long-term public good of the region.


Whether you are passionate about education, environmental concerns, animal issues or numerous other causes, you are sure to find a nonprofit serving the Valley in need of your help. Our staff and board have deep local knowledge and obtain input from the community to determine the areas of greatest need where grant funding can be most effective. For more information on how you can help VCF build a stronger Valley community, visit our website at

Population Served / /

VCF distributes more $1 million in grants annually to nonprofit organizations serving the Valley. These grants fulfill the goals of dedicated donors, while also addressing critical community initiatives.


The Valley Community Foundation also administers a wide variety of scholarship funds primarily benefitting Valley students. Through the “Scholarship” section of the website ( students can access information about applying for these valuable funds, along with additional information on other area scholarships and helpful resources on locating student aid.

Population Served / /

With a strong commitment to helping nonprofits succeed, VCF focuses on empowering Valley organizations with a wide variety of research-based information. This year VCF worked with its community partners to publish The Valley Now: A 2015 Snapshot, a single-source document that provides a baseline report of demographic, economic, health and education issues shaping the Valley communities.


This report represents the start of a multi-year process, which will culminate in 2016 with a comprehensive community index that will report on in-depth socio-economic and cultural trends within the region. The community index will be updated every three years moving forward to ensure that the data timely and accurately reflects the region.


It is the shared goal of all organizations involved in partnering to produce these publications that the data be used to convene community conversations; align current efforts and investments; and collaborate on strategic endeavors to build, sustain, and enhance the quality of life in the Valley region.

Population Served / /

VCF is committed to supporting nonprofit organizations in our region that strive towards providing the highest quality services and advance ideas, innovations and techniques that improve the quality of life for our residents. It is important that nonprofits continually improve their services and programs by applying what they learn through self-reflection, assessment, evaluation and use of data, knowledge building, risk taking, and the use of sound and prudent financial management practices. It is VCF’s belief that the best use of the community’s endowment is to invest in nonprofits that display leadership in addressing issues and seizing opportunities in the community, regularly perform evaluation of their services and practice sound programmatic and organizational management.


In 2012, VCF successfully partnered with the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, TCF to provide technical assistance programs to area nonprofits. Workshops focused on understanding the basics of grant writing and VCF’s grantmaking process, as well as supervisor training, succession planning and employee enrichment.

Population Served / /
CEO/Executive Director
Sharon L. Closius
Term Start Jan 2013

Sharon Reiss Closius has been in the community foundation field for over 20 years. She comes to VCF from the Fairfield County Community Foundation where she has served as Director of Finance and Administration, Director of Development and most recently as the Director of Philanthropic Services. Sharon’s passion for philanthropy is evident from the moment you first meet her. Sharon’s combined experience in finance, operations, and development has given her an in-depth understanding of how to successfully manage a community foundation. 

A native of Minnesota, Sharon is a graduate of the University of California in Irvine and received her Master of Science degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University. Sharon also obtained her Certified Fund Raising Executive certification in 2009. She has served on the Board of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals (AFP).. 

Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 0
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate 100%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Former CEOs and Terms
Jamie Cohen Jan 2008 -
Angela Powers June 2004 - Jan
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Connecticut Council on Philanthropy2005
Silver MedalValley Chamber of Commerce2010
Agency of the YearValley Council for Health and Human Services2010
Strong Community BuilderValley YMCA2008
Board Chair
Mr. Alan Tyma Esq
Company Affiliation Ryan & Tyma, LLP
Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2017
Board of Directors
Lynne Bassett Perry
Susan Coyle Real Estate Two
William Ginsberg CFGNH President
Mr. Robert Lesko DiMatteo Insurance
Jennifer Magri
William Nimons Retired, Naugatuck Savings Bank
James Ryan Shelton Economic Development Corporation
Donald Smith Jr.
Diane Stroman TEAM, Incorporated
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Risk Management Provisions
Blanket Personal Property
Accident and Injury Coverage
Commercial General Liability and D and O and Umbrella or Excess and Automobile and Professional
Renter's Insurance
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Program / Program Planning
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2016
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2016
Projected Revenue $1,902,982.00
Projected Expenses $1,902,982.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage (if selected) 0%
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
Other Documents
Other Documents 3
VCF January February Newsletter2016View
10th Anniversary Publication2014View
VCF Annual Report2014View
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$19,468,383$17,755,188$15,284,062
Current Assets$725,041$3,635$6,102
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$268,451$271,545$365,389
Total Net Assets$19,199,932$17,483,643$14,918,673
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address 253-A Elizabeth St.
Derby, CT 06418
Primary Phone 203 751-9162
CEO/Executive Director Sharon L. Closius
Board Chair Mr. Alan Tyma Esq
Board Chair Company Affiliation Ryan & Tyma, LLP


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