John “Jack” Staver of Watertown, passed away at the age of 80 in January 2018, and bequeathed more than $5 million to establish a permanent charitable fund at Connecticut Community Foundation. Staver designated the fund to benefit the performing arts in the Greater Waterbury region, the maintenance and improvement of the Town of Watertown’s recreational facilities, and the general operations of the Greater Waterbury YMCA.

This year, the Waterbury YMCA used $10,000 of the $18,000 grant from The Staver Fund to help with the installation of its playground at the YMCA Camp Mataucha in Watertown. The rest of the grant provided important support for the YMCA’s operations during the pandemic. “The incredible support from The Staver Fund enabled our YMCA to continue our mission during the shutdown due to COVID-19 and bolstered our fundraising efforts for the playground installation at the YMCA Camp Mataucha this summer,” said Jim O’Rourke, Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA. “This ongoing gift will support many future projects at the YMCA for generations to come.”

“We are so grateful to people like John Staver who trust that we will apply the gifts they make through their estates to fulfill their charitable visions for the community. A legacy gift like John’s bequest is profoundly meaningful and deeply personal, and yields lasting benefits for generations to come,” said Julie Loughran, President and CEO of Connecticut Community Foundation. “The Staver Fund is an example of how one person’s generosity and desire to invest in the community can touch thousands of lives.” Watertown’s Parks and Recreation Commission is also committed to fulfilling Staver’s legacy through improvements to the town’s recreational facilities.

Recently, the Commission approved naming the Crestbrook Park Tennis Courts the Jack Staver Tennis Courts in his honor. The public tennis courts—where Staver played daily during his lifetime—began rehabilitation the week of June 7, 2021 with a grant from The Staver Fund. The Commission requested the tennis courts be named in conjunction with their reopening.

The Parks and Recreation Department is applying an additional $37,000 from The Staver Fund to complete the Watertown Dog Park. The appropriation will fund fencing, signage, benches, parking and site preparation.

Since 1923, when a small group of local leaders formed Connecticut Community Foundation and pooled their financial resources in order to improve the quality of life for Greater Waterbury residents, more than 500 individuals, businesses and organizations have created charitable funds at the Foundation. By thoughtfully investing the funds over the years and always honoring donors’ wishes, the Foundation turns the donations into annual grants to benefit nonprofit organizations serving 21 towns across Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. The Staver Fund is being stewarded similarly by the Foundation.