Six years ago, the Kiwanis Club of New Canaan—a nonprofit organization whose mission is “serving the children of the world”—doled out $1,800 to seven local recipient groups in line with its cause, with monies coming from established, though limited, events such as the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner.
On Friday—thanks mostly to the more recent, very popular Zerbini Family Circus, which Kiwanis presents in conjunction with the New Canaan YMCA—Kiwanis was able to give nearly $16,000 to 25 organizations.
According to 6-year Kiwanian David Hoyle, an attorney in town who helped host a gathering at the Y to mark the handing out of those funds, the circus “has really changed what we’re able to do.”
“We work really well with them and they do stuff that we can’t do and vice versa,” Hoyle said. “[YMCA Marketing Director] Kristina Barrett and [Kiwanian] Kathy Holland just do yeoman’s work.”
Local organizations receiving allocations include ABC House, CERT, Future 5, New Canaan Historical Society, Pesticide-Free New Canaan and Summer Theatre of New Canaan.
Kiwanian Beth Jones, chairman of the organization’s allocations committee, said the recipients very often are organizations whose leaders have come to speak to the club at its regular gatherings.
“It’s a great, symbiotic relationship with most of them because we find out what they are doing, they find out what we’re doing and we help each other,” Jones said.
One organization that received funding, Future 5, was founded by New Canaan’s Clif McFeely. The nonprofit, whose staff, volunteers and board are overwhelmingly New Canaanites, serves highly motivated public high school kids in Stamford by connecting them with volunteer coaches for practical college application and job training skills.
“Kiwanis is rooted into New Canaan and in a lot of ways, even though we’re serving kids in Stamford, we’re really rooted into New Canaan,” McFeely said.
On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Pop-Up Park downtown (at South and Elm) will host a warmup to the circus with mini-golf, snow cones, jugglers and balloons, according to the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce.