Each year, Connecticut Community Foundation’s Trustee Fund—a giving circle made up of current and former members of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees—honors organization or individuals who exemplify the value and promise of collaboration. Explains fund founder Jack Baker, former chair of the Board of Trustees, Trustee Fund Award recipients offer “models of community partnership and collaboration that unite and connect people, resources, talents and expertise to serve our city’s residents in innovative ways.”

This year’s two awardees are clear examples of that sentiment. The Connecticut Land Conservation Council provides training and education, technical assistance, opportunities for collaboration, grant funding and advocacy for about 137 land trusts in Connecticut. The Naugatuck Partnership for Children improves the health, safety and educational success of Naugatuck children and young adults by bringing together parents, childcare and family service providers, educators, seniors, community groups and faith-based organizations, giving every stakeholder a voice and creating a vehicle for shared decision-making.

The Connecticut Land Conservation Council was recognized for its 2017 Land Trust Advancement Initiative, which was funded by the Foundation. The initiative has brought together land trusts in Bethlehem, Litchfield and Watertown to explore opportunities for stronger collaborative relationships with two larger organizations that work in the region: Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust and the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative.

“Through this initiative, we were able to tap into existing relationships to strengthen collaborations among these groups,” said Amy Blaymore Paterson, executive director. Weantinoge has conducted an assessment of the three land trusts to determine their needs and help identify projects that could benefit all organizations. The next step is to bring all of the partners together to select projects and develop implementation plans that rely heavily on existing resources.

“Making connections to strengthen land conservation is what we do. We are so grateful for the recognition of this work,” said Paterson.

“It is phenomenal to share this award with all of our partners,” said Jill Mahoney, executive director of the Naugatuck Partnership for Children. “We wouldn’t exist without them.”

Health fairs, diaper banks, facilitating shared information between public and private preschools and the Naugatuck Board of Education, and joint professional development for teachers and parents are just a few of the ways the Partnership involves the entire community to ensure that Naugatuck’s children succeed in all facets of their growth and development.

Baker said, “Supporting Naugatuck’s children and the land we all enjoy here in the Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills region are worthwhile causes that benefit our entire community. The Naugatuck Partnership for Children and the Connecticut Land Conservation Council accomplish these things by expertly harnessing the power of collaboration and partnerships. Members of our Trustee Fund are thrilled to further the work of these fine organizations.”

Both organizations were recognized in an award presentation at the Foundation’s annual meeting at South Farms in Morris, and each will receive a $3,500 cash award to support its work.

Pictured are: Front row (left to right):  Dick Lau, Trustee Fund member; Connie Manes of Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative; Amy Blaymore Paterson of Connecticut Land Conservation Council and Day Palmer of Watertown Land Trust

Back row (left to right): Jack Baker, Trustee Fund member; Richard Heys of Litchfield Land Trust; Tina Reardon, Trustee Fund member; Paul Elconin of Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust and David Geiger of Litchfield Land Trust

For more information about starting or contributing to a fund at Connecticut Community Foundation, visit https://conncf.org/donors/