Did You Hear … ?

1994 New Canaan High School graduate David Burns is participating this coming Sunday in a special fund- and awareness-raising walk for a very personal reason. Burns, a tennis standout here in town who is now a 40-year-old father of two, was diagnosed last Novemeber with a life-threatening liver disease, and received a transplant in January at UCLA hospital. He’s participating in Liver Life Walk Los Angeles 2015. Together with sisters Mollie and Eliza, their team—the Healthy Hedgehogs—has raised more than $10,000 for the 5K walk, an important fundraiser for the American Liver Foundation. And he’s doing this within months of his surgery.

New Canaan Nonprofits Participating in ‘Giving Day’

On Thursday, some 18 New Canaan nonprofit organizations will participate in a 24-hour fundraising blitz known as Giving Day. Hosted by the Fairfield County Community Foundation under the slogan “Give Where You Live” and with a goal of raising $1 million on a single day, Giving Day invites donors to give at least $10 to as many charities as they can. The organization that has the most individual donations will win an extra $25,000, while the organization that raises the most money will get another $20,000 (more information on prizes is available here). We asked participating local nonprofits to send us a single sentence communicating to NewCanaanite.com readers why they’re a great candidate for a donation on this day. Here are the New Canaan nonprofits, according to the Giving Day website, with their responses (those agencies that have not yet responded can email me directly at editor@newcanaanite.com and I will update this story):

A Better Chance of New Canaan: “The mission of the ABC of New Canaan is to offer capable minority youth the opportunity to learn in a superior educational program while also preparing them to assume positions of responsibility and leadership in American society.”
Carriage Barn Arts Center/New Canaan Society for the Arts: “Please support the New Canaan Society for the Arts/Carriage Barn Arts Center on this Fairfield County Giving Day and help us fulfill our goal of providing exceptional art exhibitions, accessible children’s art education, and cultural programs.”
Filling in the Blanks: “Your support will allow FILLING IN THE BLANKS to provide over 300 hungry children with meals on the weekend.”
Future 5: “Now with over 100 active members, Future 5 is helping motivated, low income high school students stay on track and connect to their full potential.”
Hungry Kidzz: “We provide weekend bags of food during the summer, a 4th of July ‘Freedom (barbecue) Box’ and 1000s of holiday stockings in December.”

All Hands on Deck: ‘Filling In The Blanks’ Wraps Up a Successful Inaugural Summer

As director of character education for St. Luke’s School, Kate Parker-Burgard coordinates community service and leadership opportunities for the student body. About one year ago, one St. Luke’s parent—New Canaan’s Tina Kramer—began sharing with Parker-Burgard what she and fellow town resident Shawnee Knight had been doing with the national Blessings in a Backpack program: The pair had operated the model to purchase and deliver food to 100 kids through a nonprofit that St. Luke’s already works with, Stamford’s Domus—kids on free or reduced lunch at a school—with an eye on expanding the model (through a new organization now in full effect, Filling in the Blanks) to operate through the summer.

New Canaan Women Launch, Expand Weekend Food Program for Kids

New Canaan’s Shawnee Knight and Tina Kramer had been packing food for needy Stamford kids for some six months before they had a chance to meet, in person, the children and teens they’d been helping. The moment came during a special Christmas delivery. Knight and Kramer the summer prior had developed their model of giving under the national Blessings in a Backpack program. At Christmas, the pair arranged to deliver, themselves, special holiday backpacks for the 100 kids they served at Stamford’s Domus—kids on free or reduced lunch at a school that serves some of the city’s most at-risk youth. In those backpacks—themselves new and donated—the kids found not just food but also socks, ear buds, candy, nail polish and shampoo for the girls, Skittles, shampoo and conditioner, pancake mix and syrup.