Our goal of a thriv­ing county

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Opinion - VingTues­day # GiS­tam­ford res­i­dent Juanita T. James is pres­i­dent and CEO of Fair­field County’s Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion.

As non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions gear up for Giv­ing Tues­day on Nov. 27, we are re­minded of the pow­er­ful work they do to ad­dress the most press­ing so­cial needs fac­ing too many in­di­vid­u­als across the globe and right here in Fair­field County — hunger, home­less­ness, de­nial of ac­cess to a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion, un­em­ploy­ment and un­der­em­ploy­ment — to name just a few.

Just as we hope to in­spire you to be gen­er­ous not only on Giv­ing Tues­day, but through­out the year, we too have been in­spired to take a deeper look at how we can im­prove lives in the com­mu­ni­ties we serve. As the re­sult of more than a year of re­search and com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tions, we have fi­nal­ized and be­gun to im­ple­ment a new strate­gic plan, which fo­cuses our or­ga­ni­za­tion around an am­bi­tious, long- term goal: To close the op­por­tu­nity gap in Fair­field County.

Our vi­sion is a vi­tal and in­clu­sive re­gion where ev­ery in­di­vid­ual has the op­por­tu­nity to thrive. And our suc­cess de­pends on cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment in which any­one can be a phi­lan­thropist and play an ac­tive role in chang­ing their com­mu­nity for the bet­ter.

Based on val­ues that have guided the Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion for the past quar­ter cen­tury, we are com­mit­ted to fo­cus­ing on our most vul­ner­a­ble and un­der­served pop­u­la­tions to elim­i­nate dis­par­i­ties in in­come, ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment, hous­ing and health. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with our re­gion’s non­prof­its and part­ner foun­da­tions, and in­formed by our ed­u­ca­tional and com­mu­nity lead­ers, our Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion has iden­ti­fied key goals we seek to ac­com­plish in Fair­field County. First, we want to en­sure that all stu­dents grad­u­ate with a mean­ing­ful high school de­gree that pre­pares them with skills they need to be suc­cess­ful in life. That in­cludes the mo­ti­va­tion to pur­sue the train­ing, learn­ing and cre­den­tials that lead to mean­ing­ful ca­reers and to be­com­ing ac­tive, en­gaged cit­i­zens. We as­pire to com­mu­ni­ties in which women and girls are eco­nom­i­cally se­cure, healthy and safe. Fur­ther­more, we want all res­i­dents to have sta­ble, safe, and af­ford­able hous­ing.

We rec­og­nize the mag­ni­tude of this am­bi­tion, but we be­lieve there is no more im­por­tant fo­cal point for our re­gion at this time. This trans­for­ma­tive vi­sion will not be ac­com­plished by any sin­gu­lar or­ga­ni­za­tion, but re­quires all of us — in the pub­lic, pri­vate and non­profit sec­tors — to work to­gether for the well- be­ing of our com­mu­ni­ties.

We need your sup­port.

By lever­ag­ing part­ner­ships and fos­ter­ing a cul­ture of col­lab­o­ra­tion, we can ad­vance a more united county — from Bridge­port to Brook­field, Darien to Dan­bury, Nor­walk to New­town, Stam­ford to Sher­man, and ev­ery city and town in be­tween.

We en­cour­age you to start plan­ning your own giv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for this Tues­day, Nov. 27 —

— the global giv­ing move­ment built over the past seven years by in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies, or­ga­ni­za­tions, busi­nesses and com­mu­ni­ties here and abroad. Whether it’s a gift of your time, a mon­e­tary dona­tion, con­tri­bu­tions of food or cloth­ing or sim­ple acts of kind­ness, Giv­ing Tues­day har­nesses the power of hu­man­ity to trans­form how peo­ple think about, talk about, and par­tic­i­pate in phi­lan­thropy.

Mo­ments such as Giv­ing Tues­day and Fair­field County’s Giv­ing Day ( Feb. 28, 2019), in­spire peo­ple to take col­lec­tive ac­tion to im­prove their com­mu­ni­ties and give back to the char­i­ties and causes they be­lieve in. We urge you to sup­port our ex­tra­or­di­nary lo­cal non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions or con­sider a dona­tion to Fair­field County’s Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion’s Com­mu­nity Im­pact Fund at fc­c­foun­da­tion. org/ do­nate.

Guided by our strate­gic plan, we are ded­i­cated to fulfilling the phil­an­thropic in­ter­ests and pas­sions of those in­di­vid­u­als who en­trust us with their char­i­ta­ble giv­ing.

As we spread joy dur­ing this sea­son of giv­ing and look to­ward the start of a new year with re­newed spirit and en­ergy, and an eye on a brighter to­mor­row, we hope you will be as in­spired as we are by what lies ahead for Fair­field County.

Best wishes to you and yours for a mean­ing­ful and in­spir­ing hol­i­day sea­son.

Juanita T. James

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