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:
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.
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.
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 www.valleyfoundation.org.
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 (http://www.valleyfoundation.org/GrantsScholarships/Scholarships/tabid/180/Default.aspx) 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.
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.
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.
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)..
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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 Community Foundation. Financial information is input by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation requires three years of financial information from the nonprofit organization; however, this requirement may not be available for some organizations due to their more recent incorporation or formation. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year.
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