Publication The Steward

Vol. 16

July 02, 2024

Northwest Corner Gives 2024 Launches July 8th

On July 8th Northwest Corner Gives 2024 launches, a crowdfunding opportunity made possible by the combined support of 13 NCCF funds. Browse nonprofit campaigns featuring written descriptions, photos, and videos detailing their unique programs, and help local nonprofits earn dollar-for-dollar gift matches.

NCCF created Northwest Corner Gives to help local nonprofits harness the power of digital engagement by building awareness, collecting gifts for their causes, and securing critical matching dollar-for-dollar gifts. Since its inception in 2020, Northwest Corner Gives has raised $1,071,100 for local nonprofits. "Northwest Corner Gives enables Food Rescue - Northwest CT to fundraise at a higher level," said Stacey Smith, 2022 Northwest Corner Gives participant.

NCCF matches every donation dollar-for-dollar until each campaign reaches its goal. Matches are made possible by the Northwest CT Community Foundation: Draper Foundation Fund, Douglas and Janet Roberts Fund, Marion Wm. & Alice Edwards Fund, Carlton D. Fyler and Jenny R. Fyler Fund, Khurshed Bhumgara Fund, Eva M. Coty Fund, 1421 Opportunity Fund, Karen M. O'Connor Fund, Northwest CT Philanthropy Fund, Edwin M. Stone and Edith H. Stone Fund, and an anonymous donor family.

American Mural Project: $30,000 for general operating expenses for American Mural Project programs, field trips, and summer camp for children and young adults.

Bantam Cinema & Arts Center: $14,750 to pave the Bantam Cinema & Arts Center parking lot.

Bantam Civic Association: $5,200 for playground equipment for Alain White Memorial Park.

Bethlehem Ambulance Association: $2,950 for two portable Laerdal suction devices.

Caring for Bethlehem: $6,000 for personal care items: laundry detergent, dental care products, toilet paper, infant and toddler diapers and wipes, period products, and incontinence materials.

Charlotte Hungerford Hospital: $15,000 to support the Food4Health Program.

Chime In! Music With a Mission: $3,000 for printed music and supplies for handbell programming.

FISH/Friends In Service to Humanity of Northwestern Connecticut: $40,000 for flexible support of the food pantry and homeless shelter.

Friends of Topsmead State Forest: $1,000 for flexible support, including upgraded software, planting materials for gardens, docent training, ecology trail maps, and educational programming.

Goshen Community Care: $3,000 for senior outreach efforts: home-delivered bags of snacks and supplies, balance classes, and grocery gift cards for the holidays.

Goshen Players: $8,000 for theater arts educational programming.

Greenwoods Counseling & Referrals: $40,000 to support a rural mental health and substance use outreach worker to provide support and connection-to-care for high-risk LGBTQIA+ residents.

Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children's Theatre: $10,000 for flexible support for programming.

Healing Hoofbeats of CT: $1,000 for an electronic healthcare record and billing program.

Housatonic Child Care Center: $4,000 to upgrade classroom materials to meet NAEYC standards.

Housatonic Youth Service Bureau: $5,000 for office and counseling room supplies and minor renovations.

The Housing Collective: $40,000 to support the work of the Litchfield County Center for Housing Opportunities to address the affordable housing gap for low and moderate-income households.

KidsPlay Children's Museum: $50,000 to replace the roof at 61 Main Street.

Little Britches Therapeutic Riding: $6,000 for the Fall 2024 program at Shepaug High School's Agriscience Academy.

Little Guild: $30,000 to support the Animal Behavior Education and Development program for dogs and the Feline Health Clinic & Spay/Neuter Voucher program.

Maria Seymour Brooker Memorial: $6,000 for a new Pediatric Dental Clinic chair.

McCall Behavioral Health Network: $30,000 to support the cost of Outpatient Services.

NWCT Arts: $10,000 for flexible support in response to state budget cuts.

Northwest CT YMCA: $40,000 to provide financial aid for local children to participate in the YMCA Strong Kids programming.

Northwest Connecticut Food Hub: $15,000 to support a part-time warehouse manager for the Northwest CT Regional Food Hub.

Prime Time House: $10,000 for the creation of an on-campus art studio with year-round art therapy classes.

Sharon Hospital: $25,000 for the Sharon Hospital Senior Meal Program.

SOAR Educational Enrichment: $5,400 to bring African American history to life through the musical storytelling program "The Blues and Beyond."

Summit Adaptive Sports: $12,500 for an off-road motorized wheelchair, outriggers, a snow slider, step-in snowboard bindings, and other adaptive tools.

Susan B. Anthony Project: $15,000 for the Outreach Prevention and Education program.

Torrington Area Families for Autism: $20,000 for flexible support for the TAFA Common-Unity Center.

NCCF Funds and Adaptive Sports Inspire Local Athletes

The scenic hiking trails at Norbrook Farm Brewery in Colebrook take hikers, mountain bikers and runners through cool winding wooded paths and vast open spaces to a scenic tower and beyond. Summit Adaptive Sports of New Hartford is helping increase access to these trails to individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. sports programs for health, wellness and lifestyle enhancement," said Karen Cook, Summit Adaptive Sports executive director.

Volunteers have been providing adaptive alpine skiing and"Our goal is to provide opportunities for athletes with disabilities to participate in outdoor snowboarding at Ski Sundown for years and are now expanding mountain programming in disc golf, hiking, mountain biking and trail riding.

In 2023, Summit Adaptive Sports staff reached out to NCCF to support their new hiking program. A grant from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Edwin M. Stone and Edith H. Stone Fund enabled the nonprofit organization to purchase two GRIT Freedom Chair 3.0s, manual all-terrain wheelchairs with mountain bike tires and suspension and gears that allow athletes to use levers to push themselves forward. The chairs feature handles that enable volunteers to push or pull the chair as needed.

"I loved hiking with all of the Summit coaches because it was so nice to be outside," said Kyle, a Summit Adaptive Sports athlete. "I hope to do more kayaking and hiking soon."

"Without the generous grant from Northwest CT Community Foundation Edwin M. Stone and Edith H. Stone Fund, we would not have been able to start our hiking program last year," said Karen.

Ann Gensch Leaves a Legacy of Caring for Local Children

When Ann Gensch was in the room, everyone knew it. Her bright, friendly personality, often described as "booming," made everyone feel welcome and at ease. Ann taught at Torrington Middle School and its predecessor Vogel Wetmore for more than 30 years.

A skilled and thoughtful writer, Ann crafted countless letters and cards for special occasions or to reconnect with a friend. She spent hours at Burr Pond in Torrington, observing the smallest of creatures: insects, dragonflies, and birds. She wrote stories about their lives. She often visited the Lourdes Shrine in Litchfield to pray for friends and to write. She wrote about faith, courage, peace, and forgiveness.

Ann wove her love of nature and its connection to all of us into her lesson plans. Every assignment she crafted helped students connect to each other and to a broader humanity. A popular project she called "All of the Good Things" had students writing positive things about each other. She taught historical fiction and literature, always connecting the characters to their struggles and compassion, often around themes of equality and family.

"Ann made us feel like a family," said Angelo Calabrese, long-time friend of Ann's and current Torrington Middle School educator. "Her students were her children; she felt like a parent to everyone."

Ann was uniquely tuned in to the people in her life. She was the first to console a friend or colleague. She was especially thoughtful of children she suspected had struggles in their lives­ensuring they had plenty of attention, bringing in extra food
if she suspected they were hungry.

"Ann really felt it when she saw a student in need," said Angelo. She had a way of seeing when people were struggling, people of any age, but especially children."

Ann passed away in May of 2021, after spending her final days observing a nest of baby birds just outside of her window. Through her estate planning, she established the Northwest CT Community Foundation Ann Gensch Fund. The field of interest fund awards grants to nonprofits that assist homeless children in the greater Torrington area.

Oneglia Siblings Honor Family, Provide for Neighbors in Need

Three-family houses lined the streets of downtown Torrington, sheltering multi-generational families, young couples with children, as well as aunts and uncles, and grandparents. Many residents worked at the Torrington Company, crafting needle bearings, or at Fitzgerald Manufacturing Company, building electric ranges, toasters, percolators, and clothes irons. In the early evenings after dinner, families walked and chatted, holding their children's hands as they made their way toward the Carvel stand on South Main St. to enjoy an after-dinner soft-serve ice-cream cone. This was the Torrington that Raymond and Gloria Oneglia knew, a factory community where they built O&G Industries and raised their children: Cynthia, David, and Raymond, Jr.

Raymond had recently returned from an enrollment in the Army and was working as a concrete laborer when he and Gloria married and started their family. He and his brothers, Francis and George, worked together to build upon the construction business that their father, Andrew, had co-founded with his wife, Virginia, as bookkeeper. Each of the brothers focused on a different division. They built what is now O&G Industries.

Gloria crafted a warm home filled with the scents of nutritious, made-from-scratch soups—bean, vegetable, simmering chicken stock. Music was ever-present, cascading throughout the house—the upbeat tempos of Billy Vaughn, and the soothing and playful periodicity of Annunzio Paolo Mantovani and his orchestra.

"They didn't have much starting out, and my father worked long hours," said Raymond, Jr., "but they built a nice life for us."

Gloria cared for her community the way she cared for her family. She delivered homemade noodles and soup to ill friends and family members, and she volunteered to drive community members to their medical appointments.

"She had a giving spirit," said Cynthia. "She gave in small ways that made a big difference. She knew instinctively that nutrition is essential to health, and she crafted every meal with that in mind."

Raymond and Gloria instilled the value of hard work in t

heir children. David and Raymond, Jr. spent their summers at O&G Industries working with concrete—laboring, and even driving machinery—with much supervision. Cynthia worked summers in the main office in Torrington.

On weekends, Raymond and Cynthia went on long walks together. They discussed philosophy and played at outwitting each other. Later, as the business allowed, Raymond took the children flying in his small personal airplane—encouraging them to be adventurous and to travel.

Raymond and Gloria enjoyed family get-togethers and golf outings. And they supported the community that enabled them to build a successful life and business. Raymond served on the Torrington Board of Finance. Through O&G Industries, Raymond and Gloria supported the 2002 Warner Theatre restoration. The newly opened theatre was named the Virginia and Andrew Oneglia Theatre, after Raymond's parents.

In 2009 Raymond passed away. Gloria followed him ten years later. As Cynthia, David, and Raymond, Jr. settled Gloria's estate, they knew how best to honor their parents. In 2020, they established the Northwest CT Community Foundation Raymond A. and Gloria B. Oneglia Family Fund. The endowed donor-advised fund honors their parents and enables them to give back to the community they love.

The first grants from the fund supported a cause close to Gloria's heart—healing her neighbors with nutritious food and providing a warm loving home—through FISH of Northwestern CT, Community Kitchen of Torrington, and Friendly Hands Food Bank.

"Every homeless person is an individual facing tough, economic times; and every hungry family has their own unique story," said Deirdre DiCara, FISH of Northwestern Connecticut executive director.

"Our parents provided a great life for us," said Raymond, Jr. "By establishing a fund with NCCF, we have been able to honor their lives and to support a number of different organizations giving us a broad way to give back to the community we love."

Nonprofit Education Sessions Inspire and Educate

In the fall of 2023, NCCF held Improving Our Region Through Nonprofit Excellence, a one-day conference for nonprofit staff and volunteers. Keynote speaker Dave Sternberg, founding partner of Loring, Sternberg & Associates, presented a thoughtful and motivating presentation that set the stage for four breakout sessions. Sharon Danosky of Danosky & Associates, discussed developing and maintaining a purpose-driven board. Gina Marcantonio of G. Marc & Associates discussed organizing and building a successful development program. John Brooks discussed building a donor-centric major gifts program. Anne Ruwet presented Strength for the Journey for nonprofit CEOs. "I learned so much to take back to the office with me. I am filled with energy to work on the problems of fundraising and creating a real board as a result of the conference. I really did not want it to end," said an anonymous nonprofit conference attendee.

Also Online ... Local Nonprofits Awarded $328,800 NCCF awards grants from community catalyst funds three times a year. These funds support local nonprofits where and when it's needed the most. In the winter and spring grant cycles, NCCF awarded $328,800 in grants to local nonprofits, enhancing our communities with arts and culture, and civic and education, protecting our natural resources, and supporting vulnerable families with food and shelter. learn more at yournccf.orglgrants

Nonprofits Providing for Basic Needs Awarded $80,050 Each fall, NCCF awards critical needs grants to local organizations serving the areas most distressed residents. In the fall of 2023, 34 nonprofits were awarded $80,050 for the most basic of necessities-food, warm clothing and shelter. learn more at yournccf.orglgrants

Women & Girls Fund Hosts Annual Reception, Honors Grantees On May 9th, the Northwest CT Community Foundation Women & Girls Fund welcomed donors, friends, and grantees to its annual reception at the Woodridge Lake Clubhouse in Goshen. learn more at yournccf.orglwomenandgirls

NCCF Receives Quality of Life Award NCCF was honored to receive the 2024 Northwest CT Chamber of Commerce Quality of Life Award. Each year, the Chamber recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the region's business environment, community involvement, and overall quality of life. learn more at

Foundation Focus NCCF Welcomes New Board Members

Anthea Disney Anthea's extensive career includes leadership positions at Gemstar-TV Guide International, TV Guide, Inc., News America Publishing Group, HarperCollins Publishers, and her role as president and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers. She also has served on the boards of numerous public companies and nonprofit organizations, showcasing her commitment to diversity and community engagement. Read more at yournccf.orglboard

Sandra (Sandy) Edelman Renowned for her distinguished career as a law firm partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP from 1995 to 2022, Sandra specializes in trademark, copyright, advertising, and social media marketing. Besides her legal prowess, she has played a pivotal role in shaping the firm's direction and values. She is the Board Chair of the Kent Memorial Library. Read more at yournccf.orglboard

Michael V. McGill A visionary leader in education, Michael served as the superintendent of the Scarsdale (NY) public schools from 1998 to 2014 and was named New York State Superintendent of the Year in 2007. He holds an EdD in Education Leadership and an MAT in English Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as an AB in English from Williams College. Read more at yournccf.orglboard

33 East Main Street, Torrington, CT 06790 I T 860.626.1245 I E


Adrian Selby, Chairperson

Donald K. Mayland, First Vice Chairperson

Anne Ruwet, Secretary

Liz Brayboy, Treasurer

David Antoniazzi
Anthea Disney
Sandra Edelman
Patrique Fearon
Anne Sutherland Fuchs
Jason Giordano
Vincent lnconiglios
Michael V. McGill
Rod Pleasants
Barbara Spiegel, Esq.

Serving Barkhamsted, Bethlehem, Canaan (Falls Village), Colebrook, Cornwall, Goshen, Hartland, Harwinton, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, New Hartford, Norfolk, North Canaan, Salisbury, Torrington, Warren, Washingon, and Winsted.

Questions or comments? Contact theSteward editor Nicole Carlson Easley at or 860.262.1245. Ext. 103