The Community Fund of Darien presented its 2012-13 Grant Awards totaling $675,000 to 35 agencies serving Darien, Norwalk and Stamford at its annual grant awards ceremony on May 31.

Speaking before an audience of agency directors, community leaders, and TCF board members and volunteers, President Christie Stone welcomed people to the ceremony and spoke about the role of the Community Fund in meeting health and human service needs in the community. First Selectman Jayme Stevenson then proclaimed May 31 as "The Community Fund of Darien Day," congratulating TCF for its many contributions to helping people in need for more than 60 years.

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The Community Fund awarded grants to the following agencies: Abilis, AmeriCares Free Clinics, Carver Center, Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, the Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County, Darien YMCA Special Needs Programs, the Depot, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Domus, ElderHouse, Family & Children's Agency, Family Centers, Family ReEntry, Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, Housing Development Fund, Inspirica, Kids in Crisis, Laurel House, Liberation Programs, LISC/Fairfield County Collaborative Fund for Affordable Housing, Literacy Volunteers, Open Door Shelter, Person-to-Person, Shelter for the Homeless and STAR Lighting the Way.

The grants are the culmination of two months of work by more than 50 allocations volunteers from Darien who reviewed applications and made site visits with agency staff and board members. After thorough analysis, discussion and deliberation, they determined where donors' dollars would be most wisely and responsibly spent to provide critical services. Their recommendations were discussed with the Allocations Executive Committee in a weeklong series of meetings, and TCF's board of directors voted unanimously to support the final recommendations at its annual meeting last week.

The Youth Community Fund of TCF presented its annual grants at the ceremony to the following agencies: ARI of Connecticut, Boys & Girls Club of Stamford, Carver Center, Inspirica and Kids in Crisis. The Youth Community Fund was established four years ago to teach high school students about philanthropy, human service issues and the agencies that work to meet them. Each year, TCF gives $5,000 to this group of students to distribute based on their own analysis of local needs and agencies. This year, after members volunteered at several of the agencies and conducting their own due diligence, they awarded the five grants listed above.

Other agencies receiving grants were recognized as well: Child FIRST, The Connecticut Collegiate Awareness and Preparation Program at Norwalk Community College, Christian Community Action, the Human Services Council of Mid-Fairfield, Neighbors Link Stamford, the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education, Shelter for the Homeless, Stamford Family Y and the YWCA of Darien/Norwalk.

The Community Fund also provides emergency grants through its Touch a Life Fund to help Darien residents through difficult times. This year, TCF provided nearly $6,000 in financial assistance for identified clients of Darien's Department of Social Services to pay for such needs as heating oil, children's shoes and boots and back-to-school backpacks.

The Community Fund of Darien is working with all of these agencies to assure the availability of critical health and human services to neighbors in need in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford. Through funding, collaboration and cooperation, TCF donors and volunteers invest time and money to improve lives.

The Community Fund of Darien thanks the 800 individual and local business donors and 100 volunteers who contribute to make a difference in the community. For more information, contact the fund at 203-655-8775 or visit