$215k received for Wilton Library
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.