Marna & Eric Borgstrom receive United Way’s highest accolade


NEW HAVEN — Yale New Haven Health System President and CEO Marna Borgstrom and her husband Eric last month received the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Herbert H. Pearce Award, honoring their support of the community through United Way of Greater New Haven contributions. The Tocqueville Society honors United Way donors who give more than $10,000 annually.

Not only are the Borgstroms personally generous but Marna Borgstrom has “created an environment of philanthropy” at Yale New Haven Health System, said Thomas Sansone, chairman of United Way’s Tocqueville Society, in presenting the award November 13.

Borgstrom is also CEO of Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she says she has witnessed the symbiotic relationship between the hospital and its host community.

“Yale-New Haven Hospital is not going to do well if New Haven doesn’t do well,” she said in accepting the award. “We are inextricably linked in so many ways.” The Borgstroms share the award, she added, with the hospital's leadership and employees who take an active interest in the community.

The couple was drawn to United Way, she said, because while they have the resources to give, they rely on United Way’s expertise about the need in the community and “due diligence” in determining where donor money can have the greatest impact.

“I can’t imagine a better or easier way to give,” Marna said of donating to United Way.

In addition to the Borgstroms’ personal philanthropy, YNHH sponsors a vigorous United Way donor campaign among its employees, and workers have collected and donated thousands of supplies to area schools.

As United Way’s New Haven chapter works to tackle some of the region’s most pressing problems, such as public education and income disparities, members of the Tocqueville Society play an increasingly vital role, according to United Way President and CEO Jack Healy.

“It has become a huge part of the United Way campaign,” he said of the support of the roughly 60 Tocqueville donors, and with the help of generous donors “we’re making progress” on crucial issues.

United Way has been recognizing donors with a Tocqueville Society award since 1998. In 2009, the award was renamed in honor of the late Herbert H. Pearce, a long-time United Way supporter and founder of H. Pearce Real Estate. 

 Youth violence, immigration seen as areas of need


NEW HAVEN — The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the region’s permanent charitable endowment and largest grant-maker, has announced that $2,461,350 in multi-year grants has been awarded by its board of directors to nonprofits serving greater New Haven.

Among the more than 50 nonprofits receiving funding, grants have been awarded to programs that provide street outreach to reduce youth violence in the city of New Haven, that engage a number of religious communities working to tackle immigration issues, that provide legal assistance for veterans and behavioral support services to children. 

“With these grants, the Community Foundation is providing operating support to many of the most important nonprofit organizations in our region and is also supporting many important new projects and initiatives,” said William W. Ginsberg, the foundation’s president and CEO. “This has long been one of our central roles, as we are carrying out the wishes of three generations of generous donors who have provided the funds that make these grants possible."

“We saw a greater number of requests for education and youth-focused programs, which is not surprising given that 2012 is the year for education reform in our state,” said Priscilla F. Canny, the foundation’s senior vice president of grant-making and strategy. “As well, there were significant clusters in the areas of supporting vulnerable children, mental health and family economic security.”

The responsive grants process represents just one element of the Community Foundation’s grant-making. Including non-competitive grants from designated, donor advised and organization funds, competitive grants under other processes and foundation leadership activities, foundation officials say they expect to award $19 million in grants overall in 2012, including grants awarded by its affiliate the Valley Community Foundation. 

The Community Foundation will hold its annual meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. November 28 at the Omni New Haven Hotel in New Haven. Featured guest speaker is state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor. Prospective attendees may phone 203-777-7069 or visit

Since 1928, donors to the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven have built an endowment currently valued at more than $340 million. In 2011, the group distributed more than $19 million in grants from over 900 different named charitable funds supporting a wide range of programs and projects. The foundation’s service area includes 20 communities in south-central Connecticut.


 Major gift to fund chair in entrepreneurship



HAMDEN — The vice chairman of Quinnipiac University’s Board of Trustees has donated $1 million to advance the School of Business’ innovations in entrepreneurship.

Quinnipiac announced May 29 that it had established the Carlton Highsmith Chair in Entrepreneurship. The Hamden school will match Highsmith’s gift, creating a $2 million fund in perpetuity.

“The Carlton Highsmith Chair in Entrepreneurship will provide the School of Business with sustainable leadership and ensure the long-term success of our entrepreneurship program,” said Matthew O’Connor, dean of QU’s School of Business. “This is a remarkable gift for the School of Business that instantly raises our program to a new level.”

Highsmith is the retired vice chairman of PaperWorks Industries of Philadelphia. Highsmith was the founder, president and chief executive officer of the Specialized Packaging Group Inc., which merged into PaperWorks in 2009. PaperWorks is the third-largest integrated recycled paperboard company in North America.

In 2005 Highsmith was named Business New Haven’s Businessperson of the Year.

Quinnipiac also announced that it will partner with the Connecticut Center for Arts & Technology (ConnCAT), to establish the ConnCAT Entrepreneurial Academy, where inner-city youths may learn how to launch their own businesses.

“Helping to spread the word about free enterprise to young, aspiring students at ConnCAT will help an entire generation of inner-city youth gain an appreciation for entrepreneurship,” Highsmith said. “Students will learn what it takes to build a business — from that first great idea to the birth of a successful company — from business leaders in the greater New Haven area and Quinnipiac faculty. Quinnipiac students will serve as mentors, sharing their knowledge of finance, management, marketing and advertising while also serving as role models that are essential to youth at ConnCAT.”