Publication The Steward

Vol. 7 Issue 1

March 03, 2024

Originally Published Winter 2014

Tim Considine Memorial Scholarship Fund – a Gift of Faith, Family, and Friends

Tim Considine, or “T. Cons” as many of his hundreds of friends called him, was a funny man known for his quick wit and endless one-liners. He could take a bad day, a moment of anxiety or fear, and lighten the mood with a comment that elicited laughter from everyone in the room. A father of two boys, Timmy and Brian, he never stopped trying to make his children smile. “Top of the morning, Lads,” he’d say to them as they stumbled downstairs in the morning for his famous egg breakfasts. Every night on their way to bed, the three would share in a two-part exchange with Tim saying, “God willing,” and the boys responding, “and the creek don’t rise,” completing together the folk saying, “God willing and the creek don’t rise,” meaning the speaker will complete a task if all goes well.

An accomplished college athlete and Yankees fan, Tim coached Torrington Little League, Torrington Babe Ruth, Pal/Elks Basketball, and basketball at his alma mater, St. Francis School, later renamed St. Peter/St. Francis School. He found time to help paint the school cafeteria, prune trees in the schoolyard, and chair golf tournaments. “Whatever he could do, he would try to help out,” said his wife, Cheryl Considine. “He was everyone’s friend. Everyone knew him, and everyone who knew him considered him a friend.”

Tim was known for making people laugh, often so hard that it hurt their stomachs. And, his faith was as big as his funny bone. He grew up attending church with his parents, and he never stopped, always sitting in his favorite pew. “His faith was very important to him,” said Cheryl. “It carried him through his illness and connected him to his community.”

In November 2011, Tim developed a limp; three months later, he was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. “Thank goodness it isn’t named after a Red Sox player,” Tim quipped. While Tim joked to once again make a stressful situation easier for everyone else, he knew he didn’t have much longer to support his family, be there for his children, and share his time with his community. The community of Torrington reached out to the Considines with food, prayer, goodwill, and countless visits. “The whole town wanted to see him; and he wanted to see them,” said Cheryl. “He wanted them in his life, and they wanted to be there for him.” For months the Considine house was full of support from his faith, family, friends, and most of all full of laughter.

During one of several memorable conversations with his sons, as Tim discussed with them the extent of his illness, he told them: “There are three things that are really important in life: Faith, Family and Friends.” Later that night, his son Brian designed wristbands with his father’s advice printed on them. The bands were ordered and quickly could be seen everywhere in the community. Starting out as solid green for family members, Brian decided to order more in green and white to sell to friends and the community, with all proceeds going to the ALS Association of CT.

On July 28, 2012, dubbed, “Tim Considine Appreciation Day,” and recognized by Governor Malloy as ALS Awareness Day in the State of CT, an estimated 1,500 people gathered in the rain at Action Wildlife in Goshen to raise money for the Considine boys’ education and to show their support for the Considine family. Tim greeted each and everyone with a smile from his wheelchair.

With Tim’s passing, Cheryl Considine wanted to give back. “I wanted to show the town how much I appreciated everything they did for Tim, me and my children,” said Cheryl. “Tim always wanted to help the youth in his community, and that’s where he was really involved. I wanted to give back to them the way Tim would have.”

Established in October 2012, the Tim Considine Memorial Scholarship Fund awards two $1,000 scholarships to students who, like Tim, have a love of athletics, a strong academic background, a connection to community, and a strong faith. In Tim’s spirit, the Tim Considine Memorial Scholarship Fund will continue to help local youth in perpetuity, “God willing and (whether or not) the creek don’t rise.”

The Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut Has a New Look

Your Community Foundation website has been redesigned. Visit to view the newly designed foundation website. The website’s new navigation tabs include: About Us, Giving Your Way, Providing for Good, Grants, Scholarships, and Advisor Resources.

The new website enables your Foundation staff to share stories about donors and their goals through our main-page donor story carousel. Sections to the left of the carousel highlight grants that are making an enormous impact in our communities. News events, such as the availability of scholarship applications for the 2014-2015 academic year, the launch of The Plan to End Homelessness, grant opportunities for local non-profits, and grant award announcements for cycle grants, donor-advised funds and supporting organizations are displayed in the News section.

The About Us dropdown menu includes information about foundation staff, key policies and specific investment information. Giving Your Way provides information about gift types and fund options as well as information about how the foundation works with private foundations, corporate partners and giving circles. Providing for Good explains how your Community Foundation works with nonprofits and highlights key initiatives. An interactive map enables visitors to scroll over towns in Northwest Connecticut to view information about population, poverty rates, education, and unemployment, as well as grants and scholarships that have been awarded in that area. Grants provides all of the information nonprofits need to review grant opportunities and submit applications as well as nonprofit education opportunities and additional resources. Scholarships is the information hub for scholarship applicants, including information about specific scholarships, guidelines and applications. Advisor Resources provides financial advisors with specific information about the benefits of charitable giving as well as useful tools, such as sample bequest language.

Additionally, your new Community Foundation website offers a Donor Resources page with easy access to the Gift Planner and Options for Charitable Giving guides as well as stock delivery and grant recommendation instructions.

Your Foundation’s Nonprofit Resource page offers nonprofits a collection of valuable tools, including grant applications and guidelines for multiple grants opportunities, information about using the Foundation office for meeting space, and how to access the Foundation Center, an online directory that includes more than 100,000 U.S. grant makers, as well as print directories and guides to proposal writing, fund-raising and nonprofit management. Additionally, The Nonprofit Resource Center provides all of the materials nonprofits require after they are awarded grants, such as payment request and post grant report forms.

Your new offers weekly news updates, donor stories, electronic versions of publications and links to the Community Foundation’s Facebook page. New features are coming soon. Please visit your new

Community Foundation Scholarships Provide for the Future

In January, your Community Foundation will began the process of reaching out to high school students across Northwest Connecticut to help match students experiencing financial need with the scholarships that donors have established to help them achieve their dreams. Students will learn about scholarships available to them through their high school guidance officers, local news papers, and packets available in their high school guidance offices, with information about specific scholarships that they may qualify for and application instructions. During the months of January-March, students will apply online. They will receive notice of their awards for the Fall 2014/Spring 2015 semesters in May. There currently are 81 scholarship funds at the Foundation. In 2013, 98 students received $108,225 toward their academic goals.

Your Community Foundation, New Beginnings of Northwest Hills Litchfield County, and more than ten other nonprofits have developed The Plan to End Homelessness in Northwest Connecticut. The Plan concept is based on years of research and work by a host of communities around the country that embody best practices and proven results in homelessness prevention, housing, employment, and clinical and life-skill services. The Plan:

  • dispels misconceptions and myths surrounding homelessness
  • educates the public about all of the consequences of homelessness
  • works to optimize the potential for funding, particularly at the federal and state level
  • creates a roadmap for an integrated and strategic approach to ending homelessness systematically by creating a series of goals and objectives that address prevention, housing, services and employment The Plan to End Homelessness in Northwest CT has been distributed to area libraries and is available on the Foundation website,

Susan Strand – Inspired by Family, Connected to Community

One of three children of a homemaker and a factory worker in a close-knit community, Susan Strand always felt a strong impulse to participate in her church, local non-profits and politics.

“My parents were always helping someone,” said Susan. “It was the example set by my parents that told me, not just verbally, but by example, that I was supposed to be out there in the community.”

Susan Strand holds pictures of her parents, Polly and Wesley Strand, namesakes of the Polly and Wesley Strand and James L Holmes Fund for Programs Women and Children.

The Strands rented a home in Torrington for much of Susan’s childhood, Susan’s parents, Polly and Wesley, lived in the downstairs, while Wesley’s sister “Aunt Agusta” and her husband “Uncle Jim” lived upstairs.

Polly Strand was a trained nurse who stopped treating patients when she married but never stopped caring for those around her. Polly made meals for the Spooner House, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen. She volunteered at My Sister’s Place, an organization that provided shelter and life transition support for homeless women and children, many of whom had experienced domestic violence. She drove cancer patients to their treatment appointments. And during election season, and regardless of their politics, she drove those without transportation to the voting polls.

“My mother was always out there helping other women and women’s organizations,” said Susan.

Wesley worked in a local factory and served as a volunteer firefighter. He often left the dinner table after a long day’s work to fight a fire to help save a neighbor’s home. With no staff of firefighters, men in the community would listen for the warning horn from the fire box, a system that announced by the number of horn blows where a fire was located.

“The horn would blow, and we would stop whatever we were doing and count the number of blows,” said Susan. “If the fire was in our district, dad would run off to help.”

After he retired, Wesley often helped members of the church and the community. Almost every day he clipped hedges, mowed lawns and helped with minor home repairs for others.

“Every day, I remember him going out to somebody’s house to help them with something,” said Susan.

When Agusta Holmes became ill with dementia, Polly cared for her, so James could continue to provide financially. And in turn, in his will, James left Polly and Wesley an inheritance that provided for them, enabling them to purchase a home, and when Polly was ready, the financial resources needed to move into an assisted-living facility.

“My family set a really good example of caring about, not just your family because they were very supportive of family, but also their community,” said Susan. “They instilled in me a strong feeling of connection to community.”

A successful business woman and community leader, Susan Strand was a founding member of the National Organization of Women Torrington Chapter, a founding mother of the Litchfield County Women’s Network, served as Planning and Zoning Commissioner and has been, and continues to be, involved in countless non-profit community-based organizations, including Operation Overflow at the homeless shelter and her local soup kitchen.

Polly and Wesley Strand and Uncle Jim have long since passed, but the spirit of their generosity and love for family and community live on as an inspiration to Susan. When Susan received an inheritance from her mother, she knew exactly how she wanted to spend it.

“I wanted to do something that would honor my parents and Uncle Jim for a long period of time,” said Susan.

In December 2006, with a single gift, Susan Strand established The Polly and Wesley Strand and James L. Holmes Fund for Programs for Women and Children. Since then, in the spirit of Polly and Wesley Strand and James L. Holmes, the fund has supported educational events in Northwest Connecticut that work to build a sense of inclusiveness and community.

“While I feel like I’m not giving a huge amount of money, it does have an effect on the community, especially the children who attend the program or even the parents, and the effect is wonderful.”

New Hartford Beekley Library Program Explores Multiple Cultures in our Northwest Corner with Grants from the Polly and Wesley Strand and James L. Holmes Fund for Programs for Women and Children

With grants made possible through the Polly and Wesley Strand and James L. Holmes Fund, The Licia & Mason Beekley Community Library of New Hartford presented several multi-cultural events during 2013 school holidays.

An attendee of Celebrate Earth’s Gifts demonstrates how Native American women and girls would use the fringe on their clothing to swat away flying insects

In October, Author Leslie Bulion presented “A Taste of East Africa,” a lively presentation full of the sounds, tastes, smells and sights of East Africa. The author presented photographs and experiences from East Africa that helped shape the story book of “Fatuma’s New Cloth.” Participants tried on kanga cloth, learned kiswahili greeting words, and a song, and made an East African chai.

Author Leslie Bulion shares the sounds, tastes, and sights of East Africa.

In November, Parents’ Choice Award-winning storyteller Motoko, presented “Sumo Mice and Power Rice: Tales and Games from Japan.” Attendees were enchanted by folktales, music and humor. All attendees received Motoko’s original paper sumo game.

Attendees of Celebrate Earth’s Gifts learn about the musical instruments that Native Americans played during their many celebrations of the gifts of the earth: water, animals, fruits and vegetables.

In December, The Institute for American Indian Studies presented “Celebrate Earth’s Gifts.” The program explored Native American Thanksgiving celebrations that honored the earth. Participants learned about such traditional celebrations as the Maple Sugaring Festival, the Strawberry Festival, and the Green Corn Festival, and played authentic Native American instruments while learning a simple social dance.


Bradford Hoar Vice President of Philanthropic Services

Brad joined the Foundation in August 2013. Brad cultivates new philanthropic relationships, supports fundholders, and provides philanthropic services to donors and professional advisors. Having grown up in Kent, he draws upon his knowledge of the area to assist donors in making a positive impact in the lives of people of Northwest Connecticut.

For nearly six years, Brad was Development Manager at a leading Czech civil society organization in Prague, Nadace Via, at which he led the Czech Republic's most successful independent endowment-building campaign. Prior to his service in Prague, Brad taught English in Akita, Japan, where he met his wife, Satomi.

Brad has provided philanthropic services for several private schools in Pennsylvania, most recently The Kiski School outside of Pittsburgh. Brad is a graduate of Colby College in Waterville, Maine. He currently resides in Warren with Satomi and their two sons.

Sylvia Demichiel Program Associate

Sylvia joined the Foundation in October 2013. Sylvia supports grant-related administrative requirements for the Wiederhold Foundation Trustees, The Draper Foundation Fund Advisors, The Community Foundation’s Board, The Women and Girl’s Fund, Foundation fundholders, and the Foundation’s Grant Committee in all fund focus areas.

She supports the design and implementation of strategic grantmaking initiatives, including requests for proposals. She also supports team projects related to Foundation database development and data entry, gift administration, and communication protocols.

Spotlight on Progress: The Women and Girls Fund Supports Working and Student Mothers

In late October, local residents gathered at the Litchfield home of Dr. Frank Vanoni for a reception to recognize grant recipients of the Women and Girls Fund and to show their continued support for the welfare of women and girls in Connecticut’s Northwest Corner.

During the event, two grants were awarded to the Winsted Area Child Care Center. The Child Care Center was awarded $750 for the purchase of a clothes washer and dryer for the purpose of washing children’s bibs, blankets, sheets, clothes, and swing covers to keep children clean and comfortable. The Child Care Center also was awarded $3,000 to provide childcare tuition assistance to working mothers.

The Women & Girls Fund, initiated by your Community Foundation in 1999, provides a unique philanthropic opportunity for community-minded women in Northwest Connecticut who are committed to improving the lives of area women and girls by raising awareness and pooling resources.

By supporting the Fund, women help to advance the welfare of local women and girls; network with women who share similar interests and values; help women and girls make strategic and informed decisions about their philanthropy; and join a dynamic group that empowers other women.

For the fourth year in a row, The State Auto Foundation of the State Auto Insurance Companies made a $5,000 contribution to the Women & Girls Fund to support marketing communication efforts that further the Fund’s mission. To date, State Auto has provided $20,000 to support the Fund.

On the Board: The Foundation welcomed two new Board members in October.

Chris Wall

A Harwinton resident, Mr. Wall graduated summa cum laude from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is a managing partner with Wall, Wall & Frauenhofer, LLP. Mr. Wall is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association and the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Wall is a tireless advocate for the underserved, often representing individuals and families in our community who suffer social and economic injustice.

Ronald Rosenstein

A private attorney and community leader in Winsted for 37 years, Mr. Rosenstein serves as Vice Chairman of the Board for Northwest Community Bank. He is a co-founder and past president of the Winsted Area Child Care Center and a past president of the United Way of Northwest Connecticut. Mr. Rosenstein served as a chairman on the Winchester Ethics Commission and director of Connecticut Mutual Holding Co. and Greenwoods Scholarship Foundation. He is a past president of the Rotary Club of Winsted

The Steward

Download The Steward (PDF)