CFInfo February 2015

CFinfo provides quick updates on initiatives and grants, reminds you of upcoming events as well as news about philanthropy at its best in the region.  We hope you find this issue informative and welcome any feedback you would like to share with us.

A Legacy of Promoting Education
edwardclarkEdward M. Clark never sought recognition or praise for all that he contributed to make his community better, but his philanthropy and volunteer work was too significant to go unnoticed. A successful Springfield businessman, Ed Clark is perhaps best known for having distributed about 12,000 dictionaries to young students during his lifetime.

Ed Clark came from modest beginnings and made it his mission to get an education against long odds. The value he placed on education was one of the driving forces behind his own philanthropic work. He gave his time to a range of worthwhile causes, including the Food Bank, Stage West, the Springfield YMCA, and Baystate Health. He also took it upon himself to negotiate with Merriam Webster to produce a pocket sized dictionary, which he then got into the hands of local school kids.

About a decade ago Ed made the decision to leave the Community Foundation in his estate plans, and now that he is gone, his Edward M. Clark Dictionary Fund will carry on his legacy, and see to it that kids continue to benefit from his devotion to his community.

Son Andrew Clark said of his father, “He was so principled, a force to be reckoned with when he had a cause. His assistant had clipped and kept articles of all his work in the community – it was two or three books worth – not many people serve the community in as many ways as he did and yet he never looked for glory. I share his story now in the hopes that it fuels others to do community service work in the same way that he has inspired me.”

Time to Apply for Scholarships

It is another busy scholarship application season at the Community Foundation with applications coming in every day. The application went live on the website on January 1st and the final deadline for all materials is March 31. This year more than 100 funds will award scholarships, and roughly $2 million will be available. To apply, students complete one online application, and Foundation volunteers and staff manage the process of determining eligibility, matching students with funds, taking into account financial need, academic merit and the individual fund criteria. The online application can be found at www.communityfoundation.org/scholarships/application.

Two new funds are awarding for the first time this year:  the Helen Hamilton Scholarship and the Karen Panaccione and Kristine Johnson Memorial Scholarship. The Helen Hamilton Scholarship fund is designed to support Residents of Franklin, Hampshire, or Hampden counties, pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in Social Services, Housing Studies, Urban Design, and other related fields, with a preference for students who have demonstrated a commitment to community service. lissamar

The Karen Panaccione and Kristine Johnson Memorial Scholarship fund will support residents of Hampden, Hampshire or Franklin counties pursuing nursing studying beyond their first year of college with a commitment to community service and a 3.0 GPA. With the addition of these two funds, the Foundation is able to provide additional access to opportunities for deserving students.

We encourage applicants to start the process early. If you would like to contribute to a scholarship fund or start a new one, contact the Foundation at giving@communityfoundation.org.

Business Leaders in Philanthropy: Paragus IT

Hadley-based Paragus IT, a full-service outsource information technology firm serving customers from Brattleboro, VT to Windsor Locks, CT was one of Valley Gives earliest corporate sponsors and has been a great supporter of the Community Foundation and the nonprofits of the region.

Delcie-Bean-medParagus president and founder Delcie Bean built his business in the Pioneer Valley and feels strongly that businesses have an important role to play in supporting their communities.

“In order to be successful, you have got to have a strong community. I personally think that businesses need to invest in their community just as you would invest in your people or your infrastructure. This region has tremendous potential and a lot of synergistic assets, with the right support we can all do even better in the future.”

Each year Paragus sets aside 1% of revenues for its corporate philanthropy program, which provides free or discounted services as well as grants to nonprofits, and also encourages its employees to be generous through matching funds and volunteer time.

Delcie liked the idea of supporting Valley Gives because of the capacity building component and the opportunity to bring the community together. The transparency, collaboration, and convenience of online giving were all reasons that the partnership was a good fit for Paragus.

This November, Paragus donated a laptop and a technician’s time to one lucky nonprofit who registered for Valley Gives ahead of the deadline. The winning nonprofit was Greene Room Productions in Monson.

Executive Director Erin Greene said of the prize, “The computer has been very useful so far. As a theater company with an extensive Ed Outreach program we have utilized the computer with our interns, for out of office presentations, and during rehearsals for fast and easy online access. It has helped us create a fluid program that has expanded in the past month. We are very thankful to Paragus IT for providing us with this much needed tool!”

This was a unique way to make a contribution with a significant impact, providing the technology and technical expertise that has made Paragus such a fast growing and successful business here in the Valley.

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What Would you like your Legacy to Be?
The Foundation’s Legacy Society is comprised of generous families and individuals who have made the decision to have a named fund at the Community Foundation as a beneficiary of their estate plans. There are currently 81 members of the Legacy Society. These donors have made any of the following arrangements:

  • Bequest provision in a will
  • Charitable remainder trust
  • Charitable lead trust
  • Charitable gift annuity
  • Designation as beneficiary of qualified retirement plan assets
  • Gift of life insurance policy

If you have made similar arrangements and would like to be recognized as a member of the Legacy Society, or would like to learn more, please contact our Philanthropic Services team.

Kristin Leutz, VP Philanthropic Services

Jenny Papageorge, Director of Development

Thank you for your interest in the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. If you would like to learn more please join our mailing list.