Gift will fund renovation, endowment of downtown landmark


NEW HAVEN — The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven has awarded $250,000 to the Connecticut Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) for the renovation of New Haven’s 99-year-old Shubert Theater. The grant will be distributed from unrestricted funds over five years and provide support for the Shubert Centennial Plan, which includes a new orchestra shell and the addition of “The Little Shubert,” a flexible performance venue intended to transform the “Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits” into a multi-functional performing-arts center for the community. The plan also addresses significant deferred maintenance and upgrades to the 1914 building.

“Since re-opening in the 1980s, the Shubert Theater has been a consistent force in creating downtown vibrancy,” said William W. Ginsberg, the Community Foundation’s president & CEO. “The Shubert Centennial Plan is the right strategy for the theater’s future, with its continuation of capital improvements, new endowment and transfer of the theater to CAPA. The plan requires city and state support and we are hopeful that this public support will soon materialize.”

CAPA’s request for Community Foundation funding is part of the Shubert’s Centennial Plan, which seeks to raise $7.1 million in public and private support for capital improvements and $4 million in private support to create a permanent endowment.

The Shubert has been managed by CAPA since July 2001. CAPA’s parent organization, Columbus (O.) Association for the Performing Arts, has experience renovating and restoring historic theaters. It will partner with CAPA New Haven throughout the local process, the group says. CAPA has succeeded in building the Shubert’s endowment over the last decade, which resulted in the establishment of a new organization fund at the Community Foundation in 2012 with a transfer of $2.5 million. 

“CAPA and the Shubert Theater are delighted to receive this generous grant from the Community Foundation,” said Shubert Executive Director John Fisher. The grant “creates a firm foundation to build the Shubert’s Centennial Plan and ensure the bright future for this legendary theater for generations to come.”

The Shubert is New Haven’s only year-round venue presenting music, theater and dance. Since it reopened in 1984, the Shubert has provided an economic impact of over $300 million, with a direct annual impact of approximately $15 million, according to Quinnipiac University studies of the theater’s 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons.

 BRIDGEPORT — People’s United Community Foundation (PUCF) has awarded a $100,000 grant to, an online charity that helps public school teachers obtain classroom resources. The PUCF grant is providing 50-percent funding for projects throughout the bank’s footprint that meet the foundation’s criteria.

In Connecticut, there are currently 90 eligible projects from schools in Ansonia, Bridgeport, Derby, Middletown, Milford, New Haven, West Haven, Wallingford and Waterbury, as well as other communities, which received 50 percent of project costs through the PUCF grant.

During Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6-10), People’s United was to recognize and celebrate teachers by featuring teacher projects on the People’s United Bank Facebook page, and invite the public to honor teachers by helping to bring worthy educational initiatives to life. To do so they can log on to the People’s United Campaign Page on the website, or look for the People’s United Community Foundation logo when they search the site using their ZIP code or other search criteria.

 ESSEX — Results of recent voting by Essex Savings Bank customers who participated in the bank’s Community Investment Program were announced April 17.

The top ten winners in attendance received special recognition.

Each year Essex Bank customers are asked to select from a list of qualified non-profit organizations that applied to the bank for funding. This year 71 organizations applied.

Each year Essex Bank donates ten-percent of its net after-tax income to non-profit organizations within the bank’s service area, which includes Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

According to Thomas Lindner, the bank’s vice president and community-relations officer, 7,180 votes were cast during this year balloting period in February and March. Lindner said that $77,400 was to have been disbursed during the month of April based on ballot results. The remaining $180,591 will be distributed over the year by directors, senior management and branch managers. By year end 2013, $257,991 will have been allocated to more than 200 organizations, bringing the total distribution since the inception of the program in 1996 to $3,673,544.

Said Essex Savings President and CEO Gregory R. Shook, “Our Community Investment Program is designed to provide vital financial support and visibility to these dedicated organizations and their people who enhance the quality of life in our communities.”