As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our daily lives, stress, worry and fear can seriously impact our mental health. The “new normal” of unemployment or working from home, virtual learning, isolation from family and friends, and other uncertainties make prioritizing mental health even more challenging. The added financial and emotional stress of the holiday season can also exacerbate an already difficult time for many, especially those living with depression or anxiety.
The Town of Darien Department of Human Services, in partnership with The Community Fund of Darien, is confronting these issues by providing resources and information for residents who are experiencing a mental health challenge or know someone who is. In addition to information and links to mental health and crisis resources featured on its Department of Human Services website (www.darienct.gov/humanservices), an informational postcard will be mailed directly to Darien residences this week. The Department of Human Services also provides a wide variety of other services, including confidential crisis intervention, assistance with mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence issues. Assessment for benefits and program eligibility, as well as emergency financial assistance, is available for any Darien resident. Please call 203-656-7328 to schedule an appointment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The COVID-19 virus has had significant and lasting impacts on all of us,” added Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson. “We are afraid for our health and that of our loved ones. We’ve been isolated from family, friends and our faith communities and many have lost jobs. I’m deeply grateful for the work of the Darien Human Services Department in partnership with The Community Fund of Darien to support the mental well-being of our residents by connecting our community to life-saving mental health resources. Don’t wait...get help if you are struggling and share this information with others. We are here for you!”
Two New Investments Established by The Community Fund of Darien:The Norwalk Fund and The Stamford Fund
Local residents may not be aware that despite its name, only a small percentage of donations raised by The Community Fund of Darien (TCF) actually remain in Darien. Approximately 95% of the nonprofit organization’s funding in 2019-2020 served agencies in Norwalk and Stamford focused on basic needs, youth success, workforce development and community health.
To better serve its donors, The Community Fund of Darien is launching The Norwalk Fund and The Stamford Fund, which restrict contributions to investments in nonprofits serving their respective towns. Donations to each fund benefit from TCF’s 70-years of experience, knowledge, relationships, due diligence and the collective impact of donor gifts to nonprofit agencies in Norwalk or Stamford.
Each organization funded by The Community Fund of Darien is thoroughly vetted by its small staff and more than 60 trained community volunteers to ensure that donor contributions are allocated effectively with targeted impact, and recipient organizations are reviewed throughout the year for progress. By investing in effective programs and organizations that promote equity and provide long-term support for all local residents, TCF strengthens the entire community.
The Community Fund of Darien’s numerous, impactful program investments last year in Norwalk and Stamford agencies include:
“For 70 years, The Community Fund of Darien has partnered with our donors to improve the lives of residents in Norwalk, Stamford and Darien,” noted Janet King, executive director of TCF. “Establishing The Norwalk Fund and The Stamford Fund gives donors the added benefit of designating their gifts to a specific town, making a difference in their very own neighborhood.”
Just one gift to The Community Fund of Darien’s Norwalk Fund or Stamford Fund benefits multiple nonprofit organizations, including STAR, Lighting the Way, the Carver Foundation, Liberation Programs, Norwalk Grassroots Tennis and Education, Family & Children’s Agency and Kids in Crisis in Norwalk and Abilis, Building One Community, Americares, Inspirica, Laurel House and Future Five in Stamford.
Written by YCF student Margaret Williams
Stay active during the holiday season and support a great cause at the same time with the Darien Youth Community Fund’s first-ever Jingle Jog fundraiser! Run or walk as much as you can between Sunday, December 13 and Thursday, December 24 and track your mileage for sponsor pledges. The funds raised will be directed towards the Youth Community Fund (YCF) grant pool, which will ultimately be allocated towards nonprofits working to combat homelessness and hunger in lower Fairfield County.
Participants will sign up through The Community Fund of Darien’s website at www.communityfunddarien.org as either a student ($5 for youth - 18 years) or an adult ($10 for 19 years and older.) Participants will also have the option of creating a team to compete with, and will be able raise money for the YCF grant pool through sponsorships (either individual or team-wide.). Support a Jingle Jog participant over the “12 Days of Cheer” with a one time donation, or a donation per mile -- it’s up to you!
Through the course of the event, there will be a daily prize drawing (for which all registrants are eligible) including gift certificates to stores and eateries around town. At the end of the twelve days, additional prizes will be awarded to the team and the individual who has raised the most money.
The Youth Community Fund (YCF), one of The Community Fund of Darien’s four youth groups, is composed of approximately 50 high school students from Darien High School and local private schools who learn about philanthropy, local human service needs, and the role of nonprofits in our community. Members participate in a variety of volunteer projects at different local nonprofit organizations. YCF students also help to fundraise to add money to their grant pool. Students select a group of local nonprofit organizations to apply for funding and decide how to allocate approximately $12,000 in grants to the local nonprofits.
The Community Fund of Darien is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Your donations are tax deductible under EIN: 06-0737286
Your donations are tax deductible under EIN: 06-0737286
© The Community Fund of Darien. All rights reserved.