Chamber Foundation Announces 35 Grant Recipients for 2016

Chamber Foundation Provides $103,987 to 35 Nonprofits That Benefit Local Children and Families  
Eastern CT  – The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation has announced the distribution of $103,987 to 35 eastern CT nonprofits that will improve the quality of life for thousands of children in the region.

The Foundation raised funds throughout 2015 with fundraisers including the 4th Annual Bowl-a-Thon at High Rollers Luxury Lanes at Foxwoods Resort Casino in April and the 32nd Annual Holiday Gala held at Mohegan Sun in December.

“I would like to thank the community for its continued support of the Foundation,” said Louis Ziegler, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Once again, you have come through in a time of need showing generosity to those less fortunate. A special thanks goes to the Mohegan Tribe and Mohegan Sun, not only for providing a first-class venue for the Holiday Gala, but for going above and beyond to make sure the event was successful.”

“Thank you to all our sponsors, committee members, volunteers, Foundation board members, and staff at the Chamber. Putting these events together is a team effort, and everyone involved played a critical role in our success,” said Ziegler.
Since 2002, the Chamber Foundation has donated more than $1 million to numerous local organizations that serve the needs of children. The Foundation’s goal is to support projects and programs that enhance and enrich education and economic opportunities for children and families in the Chamber’s service area.

This year’s recipients will be able to use funding to provide clothing and food for infants, toys and books for children, school supplies, summer camp experiences, music lessons, intervention for at-risk children, and food pantry items, among many others.
The 2016 Chamber Foundation grant recipients are:

  • Lighthouse Voc-Ed Center: $1,000 to provide funding for a 5-week summer program at New England Science & Sailing Foundation for 10 special-education students.
  • New London Community Orchestra: $1,000 to provide a free summer program of violin and cello lessons at the New London Public Library for low-income children.
  • The Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center: $1,000 to purchase supplies for its “Keeping Babies Warm & Well” program.
  • Best Behavior Services: $1,200 to fund its “House of Dreams” summer music pilot program for at-risk New London-area youth.
  • New London Main Street: $1,200 to fund the annual Fish Tales, Tugs and Sails festival in New London.
  • Catholic Charities, Diocese of Norwich: $1,500 to support the Emergency Basic Needs program with diapers, formula, cereal, and baby food.
  • Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center: $1,500 to reestablish a scholarship fund for the Nature Summer Camp for children in low-income areas.
  • New England Science & Sailing Foundation: $1,500 to fund k-12 ocean adventure STEM education year-round at New London Public Schools and Mitchell College.
  • Norwich Community Backpack Program: $1,500 to provide backpacks and school supplies for children in Norwich from low-income families.
  • Norwich Human Services: $1,500 to provide school uniforms to children of low-income families in Norwich.
  • Norwich Rotary Club: $1,500 to support the Rotary Mahan Coat Fund which provides winter coats to children of low-income families in the greater Norwich area.
  • Read to Ride: $2,000 to encourage reading in Norwich and Montville by providing an incentive program to win a new bike or a gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods.
  • The Arc New London County: $2,000 to purchase project materials and fund community experiences for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities through the SPARCs program.
  • The Riverfront Children’s Center: $2,000 to purchase curriculum materials for the 12 classrooms at the Center.
  • United Community & Family Services: $2,200 to purchase materials for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Center at UCFS.
  • Southeastern Regional Action Council: $2,300 to fund the Adolescent Learning and Leadership Institute for high school students in New London County.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern CT: $2,500 to provide funding for the BGCSECT Enrichment Program for youth in New London and Groton.
  • CareNet Pregnancy Resource Center of Southeastern CT: $2,500 to fund its Crisis Pregnancy Program.
  • Center for Hospice Care Southeast CT: $2,500 to provide individual and group Expressive Arts sessions to children and tends who have lost loved ones.
  • FRESH New London: $2,500 to develop and pilot the “Certified FRESH” program, a new community outreach component of the Youth Leadership in Food Justice program.
  • Shiloh Development Corporation: $2,829 to purchase preschool classroom furniture for the Child Works Preschool in New London.
  • Waterford Country School: $3,000 to support the Project Connecticut Child's Program, which assists families with adoption services and finds homes for children who have a hard time being placed.
  • High Hopes Therapeutic Riding: $3,000 to increase the recreational and therapeutic opportunities available to vulnerable youth and individuals by providing activities at Camp Harkness in summer 2016.
  • Higher Edge: $3,300 to continue the College Access Program for low-income and first-generation students.
  • Madonna Place: $3,500 to support the Family School Connection program which intervenes in chronically absent students at risk of failure.
  • Thames River Family Program: $4,000 to cover the costs of tuition, transportation, clothing, and supplies for 12 children whose mothers cannot afford to send them to camp this summer.
  • Safe Futures: $4,458 to renovate the Genesis House Emergency Shelter.
  • Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board: $5,000 to support its summer youth employment program to give low-income youth employment experience.
  • Mystic Aquarium: $5,000 to develop the Friendship of the Sea program which provides nature-based educational opportunities for children in eastern CT.
  • Mystic Area Shelter & Hospitality: $5,000 to provide support for families with children at imminent risk of homelessness.
  • St. Vincent de Paul Place: $5,000 to provide peanut butter and hot and cold cereal to families that come to its food pantry.
  • Thames Valley Council for Community Action: $5,000 to support the annual winter boot project operated by the Council’s RSVP program, purchasing 167 pairs of boots.
  • United Cerebral Palsy of Eastern CT: $5,000 to assist in funding UCP’s Disability Support Program for underserved and low-income children with disabilities.
  • United Way of Southeastern CT: $5,000 to purchase food for the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center to be distributed throughout New London County.
  • Tommy Toy Fund: $10,000 to purchase toys for children in southeastern CT.
The Chamber Foundation will continue to raise funds through events in 2016 including the 5th Annual Bowl-a-Thon on April 27 and the 33rd Annual Holiday Gala on December 9. Lanes for the Bowl-a-Thon are sold out, but donations are accepted through PayPal. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are available for the Holiday Gala. Contact the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT at or call (860) 701-9113 with inquiries.  

Louis Ziegler was recently recognized by the Chamber as Volunteer of the Year at its Annual Meeting on March 22, 2016 for his significant efforts in expanding the Foundation’s fundraising opportunities for disadvantaged children and families in eastern CT.

Learn more about the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation at or call the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT office at (860) 701-9113.
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About the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut Foundation:
Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut Foundation, a business community-based 501(c)(3) foundation affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, is dedicated to promoting initiatives that enhance and enrich education and economic opportunities for children and families in the Chamber service area.
About the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut:
The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut is a collaborative of business and community leaders dedicated to securing and enhancing the economic vitality of eastern Connecticut. The Chamber works to create value for its members and the region by providing forums for business networking, leadership and discussions of issues that affect the region; providing opportunities for members to showcase their products, services and accomplishments; helping small businesses succeed through educational programs; and working to reduce the costs of doing business in Connecticut.  For more information, visit