There are many advocates helping to lead the way to a more robust, more resilient and vibrant downtown Waterbury economy. Still, you might be hard-pressed to find any business leader who has done as much for downtown Waterbury as the owners of the John Bale Book Company, Ede Reynolds and her husband, Dan Gaeta.

Ede and Dan have always loved books, so together, they decided to invest their money and hearts into launching a bookstore in downtown Waterbury. The store has 56,000 books online, with another 100,000 waiting to be listed. Most of the sales at the bookstore are via the internet and private sales in which collectors come to town to browse their rare book inventory.

Along with their love of books, Ede and Dan have a longstanding relationship with the community. They have opened their doors both literally and figuratively to downtown residents to mobilize individuals to take action and influence positive grassroots outcomes in the region. Their generosity inspired the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce to award Reynolds and Gaeta the “Entrepreneurs of the Year” Harold Webster Smith Award.

Their special relationship with Connecticut Community Foundation is a byproduct of their devotion to improving social equity in their neighborhood. Ede is a former member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and a prior member of the Foundation’s Grants, Grassroots Leadership, and Pathways Committees. She has been instrumental as a Connecticut advocate for economic development and environmental safety. And she is passionate about providing educational opportunities to youth and encouraging artistic development in Greater Waterbury.

Their unwavering dedication to the community and long history with the Foundation led Ede and Dan to create the Reynolds-Gaeta Endowment Fund at Connecticut Community Foundation to honor Ede’s 60th birthday. Ede and Dan plan to build the fund more in the future with gifts from their estate. Their fund is unrestricted, meaning it supports grantmaking that addresses the ever-changing needs of residents of Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills, today and forever.