In this installment of our Q&A series on New Canaan’s fabulous service organizations, we learn more about the Exchange Club—already known to scores of local families who purchase their Christmas trees at Kiwanis Park from the local group. Jeff Platt is the president-elect of the Exchange Club of New Canaan.
New Canaanite: Is the Exchange Club of New Canaan part of a national or international organization? If so, please provide details of that organization, such as the year it started, its size and scope.
The National Exchange Club is the oldest service organization in the country. More than 650 local clubs throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico provide individuals with opportunities to use their time and talents to benefit their local communities and the country as a whole.
Through the Programs of Service: Americanism, Community Service and Youth Programs – members support activities that benefit youth, promote pride in our country, and honor military and public service providers, to name a few. The prevention of child abuse is Exchange’s National Project. Exchange was founded in 1911 in Detroit, Michigan by a group of business executives who wanted simply to exchange ideas. Those ideas grew and were shared, and have resulted in innumerable benefits to the nation. Currently, Exchange has over 20,000 members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Please tell us a little about the Exchange Club of New Canaan itself. When was it founded, how many members does it have and how often do those members meet? Also, please let us know how members may inquire about joining.
The Exchange Club of New Canaan was chartered in 1952. Our 100+ members’ represent a wide range of professions, most of whom remain active in their careers while others have retired. Members of the Exchange Club of New Canaan are drawn together by shared basic attitudes: our love for our families and our country and our respect for human dignity and for one another. We strive to make our community a better place to live through selected service projects, learning more about our community from our semi-monthly dinner meetings (1st & 3rd Tuesdays) with guest speakers and the camaraderie in the spirit of service that forms the basis of Exchange. If you are interested in joining the Exchange Club of New Canaan, please contact us at: email@example.com
Talk to us about local impact. What project or projects can you highlight to give our readers an idea of what theExchange Club has accomplished here in town?
In 2017 we granted $140,000 to local charities and community organizations. A recent project was partnering with the VFW and town government to refurbish and install the plaques honoring New Canaan veterans in the lobby of the new town hall. Residents may also notice members of the Exchange Club volunteering at community events including passing out thousands of American flags at the start of the Memorial Day parade every year.
How does the Exchange Club raise funds?
We primarily raise funds annually by selling over 1,300 Christmas trees and other holiday merchandise including wreaths in Kiwanis Park in December and through our Golf Outing in early October. All of the monies generated by these events are distributed via our Grants & Donations Committee each spring.
What does the organization support?
The Exchange Club of New Canaan serves the community in many ways. We distribute grants to local non-profit charities, support local organizations with their fund-raising activities, and participate in community events. We have four main pillars: the prevention of child abuse (our primary focus), community service, youth projects and Americanism. In particular, we provide financial and volunteer support to the Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center in Stamford. The full list of grant recipients is at www.newcanaanexchangeclub.com
Now tell us something about what you all do that might surprise the average New Canaanite.
- Over the last 13 years, the Exchange Club has granted over $1.5 million to local charities and community organizations
- The Exchange Club has been selling Christmas tree and wreaths benefiting local charities for 50 years in New Canaan.