$215k re­ceived for Wil­ton Li­brary

The Norwalk Hour - - TOWN NEWS - By Pat Tom­lin­son

WIL­TON — Char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions to the Wil­ton Li­brary have been on the de­cline for years, but a boost from an un­ex­pected donor has some of­fi­cials op­ti­mistic.

In Septem­ber, the Wil­ton Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion re­ceived $215,000 from the Daniel Ed­ward Of­futt III Pri­vate Foun­da­tion Trust. The trust, which be­longs to a former We­ston res­i­dent, was cre­ated in the wake of Of­fut’s death in Novem­ber 2016, with the in­tent to buoy lo­cal ed­u­ca­tional and art in­sti­tu­tions.

The li­brary, which re­ceives about a quar­ter of its fund­ing from pri­vate do­na­tions, wel­comed the funds.

Elaine Tai-Lau­ria, the li­brary’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said there are no plans as of yet to spend the siz­able be­quest. The money will be put into the li­brary’s Corner­stone En­dow­ment Fund, which was cre­ated nearly 15 years ago in the hopes of cre­at­ing a strong, sta­ble foun­da­tion to fund the li­brary’s var­i­ous pro­grams.

“This money that came in was so needed to sup­port our en­dow­ment fund, be­cause we have not been able to build that fund over the

last few years,” Tai-Lau­ria said. “This gift was such a wel­come re­source for us. Gifts like this pave the way to the li­brary’s fu­ture and help main­tain the level of pro­gram­ming we need to main­tain what’s ex­pected of us.”

Wil­ton was among three li­braries and sev­eral art­sand com­mu­nity-ori­ented or­ga­ni­za­tions in Fair­field County that re­ceived sim­i­lar $215,000 do­na­tions. Ac­cord­ing to Richard Oren­stein, the foun­da­tion’s trustee, the money do­nated to Wil­ton Li­brary may be used how­ever

the re­cip­i­ents wish.

Li­braries in West­port and We­ston also re­ceived grants, as did Beech­wood Arts and In­no­va­tion, the Le­vitt Pav­il­ion, Fair­field Uni­ver­sity’s Regina A. Quick Cen­ter for the Arts, the Cul­tural Al­liance of Fair­field County, the West­port His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, the Sil­ver­mine Guild of Artists, the Suzuki Mu­sic School, Mu­sic for Youth, Inc., the West­port-We­ston YMCA, Beech­wood Arts for the Heida Her­manns In­ter­na­tional Mu­sic com­pe­ti­tion and Neigh­bor­hood Stu­dios of Fair­field County.

Of­fut, who lived in We­ston for more than 30 years, worked as a stock trader in New York City. Ac­cord­ing to his obit­u­ary, Of­fut con­sid­ered him­self a sim­ple “farmer,” though his friends re­mem­bered him as much more.

“Those who knew him would re­mem­ber him (in no par­tic­u­lar or­der) as a ten­nis player, trav­eler, sailor, me­tal sculp­tor, wood worker, fixer of any­thing, col­lec­tor of ev­ery­thing, lover of projects, stock mar­ket in­vestor, and a good friend,” read the obit­u­ary.

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