Creativity Connects Stamford: Meet Diane Knetzger, Director of Development at Future 5

Creativity Connects Stamford

What fuels a vibrant, connected, and creative community? What makes people feel good about living in Stamford?

When locals share the creativity that they uncover in the nooks and crannies of their community it brings about connectivity and makes us all feel good. Believe it or not, you discover creativity every day as you walk, shop, work, and play in Stamford. 

Creativity connects us.

Meet Diane Knetzger, Marketing & Communications, Future 5.

Is there a person or organization using creativity to provoke change in Stamford and how does creativity connect you to Stamford?

Future 5 is thriving on Atlantic Street and spreading creativity all over town! Our unique approach to working with inner-city students through networking and ingenuity teaches our motivated members the importance of the “Power of Connection.”  We connect our members to the Community, Coaches, Colleges, Careers and Character through a model of Creativity!

With the mission of helping students achieve their full potential, through a focus on higher education and careers, Future 5 provides students with one-on-one college coaches, job prep workshops, tutoring, enrichment, community service and more — but the Future 5 team believes it’s the connection to a network of people and resources that can make the most impact in our students’ lives. 

Whether it’s a challenge of a “Shark Tank” game at Willis Towers Watson or Stock Market learning session with FactSet or collaborating on a project like the Pollinator Garden with Stamford’s Downtown District, it’s the vibrancy and energy of the Stamford community that provides the groundwork for the creative inspiration and opportunities at Future 5.

Here are a few examples of the “creative edge” we use to encourage our members to succeed:

Spreading creativity all over town, Future 5 teamed up with Stamford Downtown. Special Services and artist Liz Squillace of the Stamford-based public art company Paradox Ink, to  create the “Atlantic Street Grill Art Installation, a unique public art installation consisting of a multitude of colorfully painted tree grates along Atlantic Street.  

Future 5 partnered with Stamford Downtown and the City of Stamford to help create a “Pollinator Garden” at Heritage Park, located just behind Old Town Hall on Main Street.  Future 5 students took charge of planting, watering and maintaining the garden to ensure it would last through the fall. This was the first public garden in Stamford intended to curb the sharp reduction in the state’s bee population, as well as other pollinating species like butterflies and hummingbirds.

And Covid-19 didn’t stand in the way of this year’s Future 5 “Poetry Slam” in May when students shared their favorite poems before a panel of judges as part of a Future 5 virtual event hosted by longtime Stamford teacher, Dr. Sondra Melzer.  At the same time, an art contest among the students resulted in a number of impressive illustrations of which one became this year’s “Poetry Slam” book cover (see “Thriving” artwork).

Future 5 uses ingenuity and creativity to network our students and to connect them to the Stamford community as well as to themselves. We are continually planting the seeds of self-confidence, persistence and determination and our end goal is to ensure that our members graduate from high school, attend college, trade school or the military and then “Land with a Plan” for living independent and productive lives in our community!  It’s a creative endeavor with great results!

How does creativity connect you to Stamford?
We are inspired by the creativity of Fairgate Farm, where our students also volunteer. It's amazing to see this community effort, right in the middle of Stamford, where volunteers come together to help grow and maintain organic fruits and vegetables to the benefit of many local residents, including local hunger relief agencies.  Not only does the Farm provide educational opportunities and boost awareness about the importance of eating healthily, but it also brings the community together in a special way and provides a firsthand connection to nature.

Creativity Connects Stamford is made possible by LIFEWTR.

If you have local creativity to share and would like to be featured in this series, feel free to email     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HamletHub or LIFEWTR.