The Community Fund of Darien Gives to Local Nonprofits at Community Investment Award Celebration

The Community Fund of Darien (TCF) hosted its Community Investment Award celebration on July 14th to recognize its local nonprofit beneficiaries and to show appreciation to the many investment review volunteers who donated their time and expertise to make a real difference in our community. 

Thanks to the generous support of its donors, this year The Community Fund of Darien (TCF) is awarding $570,000 in community investment grants to 31 nonprofit organizations in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford that focus on basic needs, community health, youth success and workforce development.  In addition, TCF’s Youth Community Fund high school service group allocated $14,500 to 12 nonprofits they selected and reviewed while learning about philanthropy and the role of nonprofits in our area.  The event was held at the Darien Community Association.

TCF community investment grants were awarded to the following local agencies:  Abilis, AmeriCares Free Clinics, Boys & Girls Club of Stamford, Building One Community, Carver Community Center, Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County, Child Guidance Center of So. CT, Children’s Learning Centers,  Depot Youth Center, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Domus, Family & Children’s Agency, Family Centers, Filling in the Blanks, Food Rescue US, Future 5, Horizons at NCCS, Inspirica, Kids in Crisis, Laurel House, Liberations Programs,  New Covenant Center, Open Doors, Pacific House, Person-to-Person, Rowan Center, Senior Nutrition/Catholic Charities, SilverSource, Stamford Public Education Fund, STAR, Lighting the Way and Women’s Mentoring Network.

The TCF Youth Community Fund organized three fundraisers this year that raised nearly $4,000, and an allocation from TCF along with donations restricted to the YCF made up the balance of their $14,500 investment pool, the largest amount in YCF’s 11-year history.  YCF students prioritized the needs of food insecurity and homelessness that were heightened during the pandemic and directed funding to 12 nonprofits serving Norwalk and Stamford: Filling in the Blanks, Inspirica, Food Rescue US, New Covenant Center, Open Doors, Building One Community, Children’s Learning Centers, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Person to Person, Kids in Crisis, Liberation Programs, and the Carver Community Center.

TCF’s Community Investment process:  

In fall 2020, TCF’s Community Investment Committee implemented changes to its investment process to open it to a greater number of nonprofits and to learn more about potential new agencies that could benefit from TCF funding.  To qualify for a grant, all eligible local nonprofit organizations first submitted a letter of inquiry to TCF in the fall; likely candidates were then invited to complete a full, detailed application due in January.

Eight panels of TCF-trained community investment volunteers (58 total) enhanced the organization’s thorough due diligence by reviewing the applications, then researching and evaluating the large grant candidates before presenting their funding recommendations.  The process ensures that donors’ contributions are responsibly invested where they are most needed, for the greatest effectiveness and maximum impact, and  have a measurable impact and sustainable benefit.  By investing in effective programs and organizations that promote equity and provide long-term support for all local residents, TCF strengthens our whole community. 

The community investment review process runs from approximately March 1 through May 1st. Each group meets around six times, including 2-3 site visits, with an estimated total time commitment of 15-20 hours. The volunteers gained a better understanding of the needs of our local community; those interested in serving next year or learning more should contact Lisa Haas, TCF Community Investment Director, at

Through its Youth Community Fund, TCF empowers more than 50 high school students to learn the value of philanthropy at their meetings through discussions with local nonprofit leaders and by volunteering at various organizations.  YCF runs its own student community investment review panel, where the members select local organizations to apply for a grant. In small groups, they review the grant applications and also conduct a site visit when possible (this year, interviews were held virtually due to COVID) to learn more about their assigned agency before presenting to the other YCF students and recommending funding amounts. As a group, they vote to determine which organizations get funding and how much to allocate. 

For more information, please contact The Community Fund of Darien office at 203-655-8775 or visit the website at:

Submitted by Darien, CT

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