Community Soundings: Ring’s End sponsors museum exhibit, Grant gives P2P mobility...

By Darien News

A family-owned lumber, building supply and home improvement company is sponsoring a museum exhibit, which gives children the opportunity to use real tools and real materials to create.

Thanks in part to a generous donation by Darien-based Ring’s End Inc., children are tinkering, creating and making at Norwalk’s Stepping Stones Museum for Children. The wildly-popular Mega Making exhibit returned to the museum in September, blending learning and play in a unique, hands-on manner that celebrates the creativity in children.

Featured at Stepping Stones during the summer months in 2015 and 2016, the expanded, new-and-improved Mega Making experience is being hosted until Labor Day during this stint at the museum to allow school groups to put their students’ building and making skills to the test during school visits.

The Mega Making experience is organized into a four main areas: art, textile, construction and woodworking, and book nook and future ideas

In addition to the support provided by the primary sponsor, Ring’s End, the Mega Making exhibition was also made possible by the generosity of supporting sponsor First County Bank.

Students who receive a term grade-point average of 3.3 or higher while completing at least three courses earn the fall Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence at Colgate University

Darien High School graduates Colleen Heaney, Thomas Kreuch and Molly Klein earned this honor, as did Darien natives Grant Morro and William Halloran, a graduate of Rye Country Day School.

Heaney, a member of the class of 2018, is majoring in religion; Kreuch, a member of the class of 2021, is majoring in humanities; Klein, a member of the class of 2020, is majoring in environmental studies; Morro, a member of the class of 2018, is majoring in music; and Halloran, a member of the class of 2019, is majoring in mathematical economics.

Person-to-Person (P2P) received a $400,000 grant from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation to support the new P2P Mobile Food Pantry in Stamford.

The Cohen Foundation has been a longstanding and generous supporter of P2P, providing funding for the agency’s 2013 expansion into Norwalk, underwriting the purchase of a new box truck in 2016 and now making this grant for the Mobile Food Pantry.

There is a high rate of food insecurity in Stamford and “P2P on Wheels” will give residents the opportunity to select free grocery items, including fresh produce, dairy items, meat and poultry, and canned goods.

P2P will be able to serve more residents of the city than they can currently accommodate in their Darien office, up to 40 additional families daily, with casework counseling and emergency financial assistance. This also increase their collaboration with partner agencies in Stamford, at which the Mobile Food Pantry will be stationed during the week.

Established in 1968 to provide low-income individuals and families living in Lower Fairfield County with basic emergency services, P2P’s service area includes Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton.

Gather your Easter baskets and come out for an Easter egg hunt on the front lawn of the Darien Community AssociationMarch 30.

This annual event starts at 10 a.m. and takes only a few minutes. The Easter Bunny is expected to make a special appearance.

Parking at the DCA is limited, so carpooling is encouraged. In the event of inclement weather, a cancellation of the egg hunt will be announced on the DCA website, through an e-blast, and in a voicemail greeting that morning.

Special price of $20 cash per car; reservations are not required. The hunt will be held at the DCA, at 274 Middlesex Road in Darien, weather permitting.

For more information, contact the DCA at or 203-655-9050, ext. 10.

The Darien Arts Center is seeking funding through The Impact Vine, an initiative founded by the Community Fund of Darien, for its spring production of “Cabaret.”

The Impact Vine is an online giving platform that allows donors to support projects they are passionate about, and local nonprofits to raise funds for socially-impactful projects in the community.

DAC Stage — the DAC’s community theater group — in collaboration with The Lipstick Project — an all-female acting troupe from Darien and surrounding towns — is producing the first all-female cast of Kander and Ebb’s musical. The show will open April 27 and run three weekends at the Darien Arts Center’s Weatherstone Studio.

The DAC is a unique visual and performing arts school with a community theater program that must rely on fundraising, as tuition and ticket sales do not cover yearly operating expenses. In striving to keep members of the community engaged and entertained, this production of “Cabaret” will employ six musicians, a sound technician and a choreographer, while engaging a cast and crew of over 40 volunteers. Potential audience numbers may reach upwards of 800 people.

Donations will help pay for musical direction, musicians and costuming required for the production. DAC Stage is hoping the town of Darien will support this initiative and attend the show and is seeking $3,100 in funding.

All supporters investing $150 or more will be given a complimentary ticket to their performance of choice and will be acknowledged on the DAC website. Donators investing $250 or more will be given two complimentary tickets and will be acknowledged both on the website and in the show program. Donators investing $500 or more will be given four tickets, will be acknowledged on the website and in the show program, and will be serenaded by a cast member at their VIP prepared table.

To support the DAC’s all-female production of “Cabaret,” please visit, For tickets to the show, go to

The Darien Arts Center is located at 2 Renshaw Road, behind the Darien town Hall. For questions, call 203-655-8683.

Darien Arts Center is accepting applications for the Ginny Wright Scholarship, given in memory of Virginia Wright to a Darien High School senior who plans to continue his or her study of art in college.

Applications and portfolios are due April 5.

Founded in 1975, the Darien Arts Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing visual and performing arts programs and events for the community.

For application forms and information, visit or call the DAC office at 203-655-8683.

Dance shoes in closets around Fairfield County are being brought out for polishing as leaders of the local business community begin the demanding process necessary to compete in ElderHouse Adult Day Center’s annual “Dancing with the Stars.”

The fifth annual gala benefit is March 24 from 6 to 11 p.m. at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton.

The event showcases seven Fairfield County business representatives, each paired with an award-winning dance professional from Norwalk’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, who donate their time to practice routines, hone them to perfection and compete in the event.

The notable lineup of 2018 dancers representing Fairfield County includes:

Carolyn Donohue-Ulman, assistant to the president and director of Trademark Anti-Counterfeit, Dooney & Bourke in Norwalk;

Hank Fatigate, general manager of the Little Pub in Wilton;

Eric Ferraris, chief operating officer at Toohner-Ferraris Insurance Group in Wilton;

Nathan Gottlieb, co-owner of All Seasons Marine Works in Norwalk and Westport;

Karen Kelly, senior vice-president at First County Bank in Stamford;

Andrea Kostanecki, a Realtor at William Pitt Sotheby’s in Norwalk;

Kristin McClutchy, owner of Pure Barre Darien.

The “Dancing with the Stars” gala benefit is ElderHouse’s largest annual fundraising event and helps the Norwalk nonprofit sustain its program of adult care, socialization, and recreational activities to a senior population living with aging diseases.

Funds will be raised through ticket sales, pledges, onsite voting, live auction and a paddle raise.

For information on how to donate, make a pledge to a favorite dancer or for event tickets, contact ElderHouse at 203-847-1998 or

Moffly Media's 10th Annual Women In Business Conference May 16

The "Women, Wealth & Wisdom Conference" will be held at the Greenwich Country Club.

From Moffly Media: Moffly Media is proud to announce their 10th Annual Women In Business-Women, Wealth & Wisdom Conference featuring an all new full day program. This year's event will be heldWednesday, May 16th at the Greenwich Country Club from 8:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. This exciting upcoming spring event will feature an all-day forum for professional women and women business owners to gain knowledge and skills relevant to their business, mingle and network, share expertise and explore best practices and new opportunities. Over 300 women are expected to attend this exclusive event which will feature a welcome breakfast, interactive sponsor sessions covering a variety of topics, a networking lunch, keynote speaker and Women of Influence awards ceremony.

This year's presenting sponsors include: First County Bank, Nichols MD of Greenwich, Pullman & Comley, LLC, Darby Fox and Atria Senior Living. First County Bank's Sara Tucker and Sandra Greer with Special Guest Suzanne Stillwell, Jade Marketing Solutions, present "Spotlighting Your Brand with Authentic Messaging". Nichols MD of Greenwich's Dr. Kim Nichols presents "Looking Your Best at Any Age". Pullman & Comley Attorneys: Nancy A.D. Hancock, Karen Jeffers and Megan Carannante present "Legal Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs". Darby Fox, Child and Adult Family Therapist, presents "Bringing Your Family Into Balance". This year's signature sponsors include: Cadillac of Greenwich, Exhale Barre and Yoga Studio and Greenwich Property Management.

Directly following our featured speaker seminars will be a luncheon and keynote presentation by Emilie Rubinfeld, President of Carolina Herrera. The event will conclude with an awards presentation hosted by former News 12 Connecticut's Emmy Award-winning anchor Rebecca Surran. This year's Women of Influence honorees include:Corporate Leader: Alisa H Bahl, Senior Vice President, Clinical Solutions; Women's Business Advocate: Tracy Chadwell, Founding Partner, 1843 Capital and Entrepreneurs of the Year: Flavia Cattan-Naslausky and Camilla Gazal, Co-owners of Zaniac Greenwich and Co-CEOs, Summit 7 Holdings, LLC. These four honorees have been nominated and chosen by their peers as women business leaders who innovate and succeed in their area of expertise.

Moffly Media will donate a portion of the event ticket's proceeds to Breast Cancer Alliance whose core mission is to improve survival rates and quality of life for those impacted by breast cancer through better prevention, early detection, treatment and cure. Additional sponsors for the conference include: Whispering Angel and Mountain Valley Spring Water.

Full Day conference tickets are available for $140 (which includes continental breakfast and lunch) or the Luncheon, Keynote & Awards ceremony tickets for $80. Tickets can be purchased directly here.

Moffly Media publishes six titles: Greenwich Magazine, Stamford Magazine, New Canaan-Darien Magazine, Westport Magazine, Fairfield Living Magazine and At Home in Fairfield County. Their titles span Fairfield County and are a trusted authority on the area and its citizens. Moffly Media's publications highlight the excellence, integrity, grace, and altruism of these extraordinary communities. Moffly Media takes their commitment to personal and civic responsibility seriously and consistently meets the high standards of the communities they serve. For more information, please visit their website at:

Ring’s End Sponsorship Helps Stepping Stones Museum for Children Build Excitement for the Maker Movement

By Stepping Stones Museum for Children,

Norwalk, CT - Thanks in part to a generous donation by Darien-based Ring’s End Inc, children are tinkering, creating and making all school year long at Norwalk’s Stepping Stones Museum for Children. The wildly-popular Mega Making exhibit returned to the museum in September, blending learning and play in a unique, hands-on manner that celebrates the creativity in our children. Featured at Stepping Stones during the summer months in 2015 and 2016, the expanded, new-and-improved Mega Making experience is being hosted until Labor Day during this stint at the museum to allow school groups to put their students’ building and making skills to the test during school visits. In addition to the important support provided by Primary Sponsor Ring’s End, the Mega Making exhibition was also made possible by the generosity of Supporting Sponsor First County Bank.

“Stepping Stones Museum is a wonderful asset to the community that we are proud to support,” said David Campbell, President and Chief Executive Officer at Ring’s End, Inc. “It’s great to see children using real materials and tools and taking a hands-on approach to learning in the Mega Making exhibit."

Mega Making was designed by Stepping Stones to celebrate creativity in all children. These children will be the future engineers, designers, inventors, artists, teachers, scientists and the ones shaping the world. The Mega Making experience is organized into a four main areas:
Book Nook/Future Ideas

Helpful staff members will be there to lend a hand, whether it’s working a needle and thread for the first time, practicing using wrenches and screwdrivers, taking a part a used computer keyboard, tinkering with batteries and buzzers or picking out the perfect artist medium. There’s something for all ages as, time and again, we saw children and their caregivers enjoying this unique experience together during its first two runs at the museum.

“We want to lay the foundation for lifelong curiosity and innovation,” said Kim Kuta Dring, Director of Learning and Experience. “Making is a learning process. When children and families create something using real materials and tools, they gain a huge sense of accomplishment and confidence. They also learn that mistakes are part of the creative process.”

Making, at its core, is the act of creating something. The current "Maker Movement" in the United States is working to inspire students to become creators of learning rather than passive consumers of learning. Mega Making takes a constructivist approach to learning by giving adults, children and students the freedom, materials, tools, and support to build 21st Century skills including Flexibility and Adaptability; Initiative and Self-Direction; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; and Creativity and Innovation.

The Mega Making exhibit is made possible through the generosity of Primary Sponsor Rings End and Supporting Sponsor First County Bank. For more information on Mega Making, visit

Pacific House Thanks Supporters

By HAN Network, Darien Times

To the Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and New Canaan communities:

On behalf of the Pacific House organization, I extend my heartfelt appreciation to every student, music teacher, local business and volunteer for creating a tremendously successful 10th Annual Close To Home Dessert Tasting and Youth Concert.

On February 23 hundreds attended this event to sample delicious bites from restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers, and to enjoy performances by talented student musicians from local high schools. We thank our special guest artist, Javier Colon, winner of The Voice, who provided exclusive performances. The event raised over $160,000 for Pacific House’s Young Adult Program, which helps homeless youth ages 18-24. We are indebted to all the schools that shared their gifted students, including: Brunswick School, Darien High School, Greenwich Country Day, Greenwich High School, King School, Sacred Heart Greenwich and Stamford High School.

Pacific House is grateful to the evening’s generous corporate sponsors. Concert Sponsor: Olympus Partners; VIP reception sponsor: Webster Bank; Coach Sponsors: First County Bank, Harbor Point, Purdue Pharma, and Stamford Hospital Foundation; Guide Sponsors: Renewal by Anderson, Pitney Bowes, Sympl Co., Shoprite and Creative Video Corporation; as well as First Congregational Church of Greenwich and individual sponsors: Cliff Berger, Debby & Mark Blackman, Francis J. Connor Family, Andrew M. Reid, and the Fred & Joan Weisman Fund. We extend our thanks to our media partners, Fairfield County Look, 95.9 the FOX, CTbites and Hey Stamford and to all the restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers that participated in the evening, including: Acuario Restaurant, A Chef’s Choice, Bad Louie’s Fudge, Bella Nonna, BonJo Coffee Roasters, Bull’s Head Diner, Chocolate Works Darien, Dimare’s Pastry, Filicori Zecchini, Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery, Le Rouge, Little Pub, Longford’s Ice Cream, Pasta Vera, ShopRite, Tea-riffic Ice Cream, The Granola Bar and Tomatillo.

For 35 years Pacific House has served Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and the rest of Fairfield County, providing food, temporary shelter and an array of support services to homeless men and young adults. To learn more, visit

Stamford Museum to Host Benefit Dinner, March 15

By Susan Klein, Fairfield's HamletHub
Stamford, CT -- The Board of Directors of the Stamford Museum & Nature Center and the Benefit Dinner Committee will host their 2nd Annual Benefit Dinner on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at Woodway Country Club in Darien.

The dinner is an opportunity to gratefully thank supporters, and celebrate the impact their generosity has on the important role the SM&NC plays in our community each year. The evening will feature an update on construction of the first major addition to the SM&NC’s campus in 50 years – the museum’s new Environmental Education Farmhouse. Co-Chairpersons for this event are Lynn Villency Cohen and Stephen Corman.

“We’re delighted to celebrate the Stamford Museum and Nature Center’s exceptional educational services.” says Melissa H. Mulrooney, Executive Director and CEO. “With this 2nd Annual Benefit Dinner, we will unveil our progress on The Environmental Education Farmhouse. The new Farmhouse will be an unrivaled community hub for experiential learning through nature and agricultural sciences. It will enable us to more than double our programmatic services while generating considerable regional economic activity and local jobs. We’re thrilled to share our excitement about this project which is well underway – the first of many in our institution’s Master Plan.”

The Benefit Dinner Committee members include Mr. and Mrs. William M. Aaron, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen A. Cohen, Ms. Rebecca D. Colin, Mr. Harry D. Day, Thomas and Kathleen DeCruze, The Honorable and Mrs. Michael Fedele, Mr. and Mrs. William R. Knobloch, Mr. and Mrs. Larry Kravetz, Mr. and Mrs. Morton A. Lowenthal, Mr. and Mrs. Von M. Narcisse, Frank Savage and Lolita Valerrama Savage, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur H. Selkowitz, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Rizzuto, and Ms. Marsha J. Shendell. The SM&NC is also grateful for the sponsorship of our annual fundraising events by First County Bank, Day Pitney LLP, Reckson/ SL Green Realty, Donald Brownstein and Lisa Tannebaum ,The Rich Foundation, and Eastern Land Management.

Individual Benefit Dinner Tickets are $300 per person. To reserve seats at the 2nd Annual Benefit Dinner on March 15, please visit, or call 203-977-6536

Please note, “Two for One” Leadership Support and Sponsorship opportunities are still available, and include both the 2nd Annual Benefit Dinner on March 15, 2018 and the 21st Annual Food & Wine Celebration on June 1, 2018. “Two for One” Benefit Committee membership is $2,500 and “Two for One” Benefit Supporter tickets are $1,000, which includes two tickets to both events. Corporate “Two for One” Sponsorship opportunities are available at several levels. For more information, please contact Karen L. Meizels at 203-977-6546 or

More than $1.4 million raised for Fairfield County nonprofits on Giving Day

By HAN Network, Stratford

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation announced today that Fairfield County’s Giving Day 2018 raised $1,400,887 from 13,137 donors. Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and businesses from Fairfield County and beyond rallied together to give where they live and work. Fairfield County’s Community Foundation with champion sponsor Bank of America were Giving Day’s driving force for the fifth year in a row. Since Giving Day’s inception in 2014 nearly $6 million dollars has been raised for more than 746 nonprofits.

For the Community Foundation, the community-building aspect of Giving Day is as critical as the dollars raised. As Fairfield County’s biggest philanthropic event, Giving Day encouraged the community to come together and make a difference in the lives of their neighbors. Nonprofits from a wide variety of interests were represented including the arts; education; animals; human services; housing and more. 415 nonprofits participated to raise much-needed funds and to increase awareness about the work they do throughout the region.

Giving Day began on March 1 at the stroke of midnight. In the first two minutes, more than $20,000 was raised online. People went and made donations of $10 or more to the nonprofit or cause close to their heart. In actuality, 16,593 individual donations in total were made. Then at the stroke of 11:59 p.m. Giving Day 2018 was over. The totals were tallied, and the prize winners were determined. More than $100,000 in prizes were distributed to several nonprofits.

“We are overjoyed! When you can raise over $1 million in 24 hours for area nonprofits, it is a very good day! Members of our community, nonprofit organizations and businesses united, and together, we achieved a significant impact for our nonprofits. For the fifth year, we have witnessed an outpouring of support for the people and places that are served so admirably by our nonprofit sector,” said Juanita James, CEO and president, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. “At Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, we live by our motto — Together, we thrive. And thrive is exactly what we did today as a community. The support for our nonprofits during Giving Day 2018 was rewarding and deeply gratifying. Great work can now be achieved throughout our community because of the generosity of the individuals and businesses in Fairfield County and beyond.”

The top organizations, representing different sectors in the nonprofit community, were as follows: Curtain Call raised $87,368.50 from 1,250 gifts and prizes, followed by Wildlife in Crisis at $71,106 from 185 gifts and prizes and Kids Helping Kids at $51,960.09 from 1,580 gifts and prizes and LifeBridge Community Services that raised $38,260 from 1,099 gifts and prizes. Details of the top nonprofit fundraisers, donors and much more may be found at

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation originally initiated Giving Day to empower the community at large and encourage local philanthropy across the many avenues of need in the region. To date, more than 71,000 donations have been made through Giving Day — raising nearly $6million to date to help more than 746 Fairfield County nonprofits. “We’re thrilled that we were able to be part of Fairfield County’s Giving Day alongside so many of our partners, neighbors and co-workers,” said Bill Tommins, Southern Connecticut market president, Bank of America. “The success from this year’s fundraising will have a powerful, lasting impact on the participating nonprofit organizations and the greater Fairfield County community.”

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation acknowledges that gifts — whatever the size — helped its nonprofit community. In addition to Bank of America, Giving Day is supported by the generosity of Media Partner, Hearst Media Group Connecticut; Moffly Media; Star 99.9 and 95.9 Fox; Barrett Outdoor Communications; News12 Connecticut; Whole Foods; Sacred Heart University Master of Public Administration; Neuberger Berman; Webster Private Bank; BlumShapiro; Cummings & Lockwood LLC; Day Pitney; First County Bank; RZH Advisors; Brewport; Nikki Glekas Events and Chelsea Piers Connecticut.

Norwalk Residents To Compete In Dancing With The Stars Event

By News Desk, News Partner, Norwalk Patch

Norwalk will be well represented on the dance floor at ElderHouse's annual benefit being held this month in Wilton.

From ElderHouse: Seven Fairfield County business community leaders are moving their feet to the beat, practicing several days a week as their competitive dance floor time approaches. They will be competing in ElderHouse Adult Day Center's Dancing with the Stars – 5 th Annual Gala Benefit, being held March 24, 2018 at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton, CT. Four local residents will be representing Norwalk and Rowayton.


For the past 38 years, Carolyn Donohue-Ulman has worked for Norwalk-based Dooney & Bourke, a fashion icon in quality leather goods including designer handbags and accessories. She is administrative assistant to the president and director of D&B's Trademark Anti-Counterfeit Program. On March 24th , Carolyn will be
taking that style to the dance floor. A lifelong Norwalk resident (born in New Bern, NC), Carolyn attended
Norwalk schools and graduated from Norwalk High. She has always been an active member of her community. Most notably, she was one of the founders of the Norwalk Athletic Association Girls Basketball and Softball Program. She has been recognized for that outstanding contribution with a plaque bearing her name, which hangs in Norwalk City Hall. Carolyn believes fervently in 'paying it forward' and contributes greatly to supporting local schools and favorite charities, including Norwalk's ElderHouse.

When she is not attending a fundraiser, you're likely to find Carolyn listening to country music or to one of her favorite songs — Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" — tending to her garden, or motoring in and around Long Island Sound on her boat "Sea La Vie." She also has a passion for food and loves to eat out, trying new restaurants and frequenting her favorites. Carolyn has been married to husband, Bob, for 22 years. They have six children, 19 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. For Carolyn, spending time with family and friends is her greatest joy.


Karen M. Kelly is senior vice president and chief digital banking officer at First County Bank, a 1.5 billion dollar mutual community bank headquartered in Fairfield County, Conn. As a member of First County Bank's senior management team, Karen is responsible for leading the bank's digital strategy and roadmap. In her previous role as chief marketing officer, Karen managed the bank's marketing communications and public relations programs. Under her leadership, First County Bank has been awarded numerous New England Financial Marketing Awards (NEFMA) and Service Industry Advertising Awards (SIAA) for creative excellence in branding, advertising, and direct marketing. Karen holds a bachelor's degree in political science from New York University. In 2016 she graduated from the Stonier ABA Graduate School of Banking and Wharton Leadership Program at University of Pennsylvania.

Karen is also proud of her work as vice president of the First County Bank Foundation, where she meets regularly with local nonprofit leaders to assess community needs. She oversees the Foundation's grants and scholarships programs and is responsible for implementing marketing and public relations programs to increase awareness of the Foundation and its work. Karen is a member and officer of the Stamford Museum & Nature Center Board of Directors, a standing member of their executive committee, and chairperson of the Museum's Strategic Development and Marketing Committee. She is immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees and current board member of SilverSource, a leading resource for older adults in Stamford. In 2015, Karen was named a BRAVA award honoree by the YWCA of Greenwich. She was named a 2013 Women of FIRE, which honors leaders in the finance, insurance, and real estate industry.


Rowayton / Westport Rowayton's Nathan Gottlieb is co-owner of All Seasons Marine Works with locations in Westport and Norwalk. All Seasons Marine Works is an industry leader in selling, servicing, and storing boats from 13 to 45 feet in length. All Seasons Marine participates annually in the New York, Norwalk, and Greenwich Boat Shows. If you are a boater in Fairfield County or have attended one of the boat shows, the chances are fairly good that you have met Nathan or one of his staff. Having lived in Rowayton his entire life, Nathan has a lifelong love of the water and of the community. Whether at work or during his off time, Nathan is rarely far from the water. He is a member of the South Norwalk Boat Club and was the superintendent of Five Mile River Harbor. In addition, he is a former member of the Rowayton Volunteer Fire Department. Nathan received his bachelor's degree from UConn in English and anthropology. He is a certified outboard mechanic and Coast Guard certified captain.
Nathan spends as much time as possible with his wife Andrea and two children, Delia (7) and Hugh (5). Summer weekends are nearly all spent cruising Long Island Sound and beyond. In the off season, Nate and his family like to spend time in Rincon, Puerto Rico enjoying the beaches, sailing, boating, fishing, diving, and mingling with the wonderful locals. On March 24th , Nathan will come off the water and take his well-honed talent to the dance floor.

ANDREA KOSTANECKI: Rowayton / Darien

Andrea is a dedicated and highly regarded real estate professional with an impressive, proven track record. Having entered the business in 2003 with a competitor, she quickly rose from "rookie of the year" to become their #1 producing agent in the Darien/Rowayton marketplace in 2010 and in the top two percent nationally. Her boundless energy and enthusiasm, market knowledge, and commitment to customer service are her hallmark and familiar to all who know her. Andrea attributes her success to a combination of professional experiences — her career has spanned entrepreneurial to traditional financial services, sales, and marketing. As a 30–year resident of the Rowayton area, she is well positioned to handle all listing or buying needs, from condos to waterfront residences and first–time buyers to empty nesters. Her expertise includes the sales of lots and land, new construction properties, and charming antiques. She covers coastal Connecticut, including Darien, Rowayton, New Canaan, Norwalk, Westport, Southport, Fairfield, and Greenwich with her niche revolving around waterfront properties. Andrea enjoys sailing and is a Noroton Yacht Club member, skiing, biking, kayaking (she built her own!), cooking, traveling around the world, reading, and photography.

Dancing with the Stars Gala Benefit is ElderHouse's largest annual fundraising event, and brings in significant and vital support, which helps to sustain its award-winning program of adult care, socialization, and recreational activities to a senior population living with aging diseases. Funds will be raised through ticket sales, pledges, onsite voting, live auction, and a paddle raise. For more information on how you can donate, make a pledge to your favorite dancer, or for event tickets, please contact ElderHouse at 203-847-1998 or visit:

Image Via ElderHouse

Area banks’ Expansions Counter Wider Trends

In a digital age, area banks still rely on brick-and-mortar operations.

Patriot Bank, First County Bank and Bankwell are all expanding their branch networks in response to growing business. While customers increasingly bank online, they still want to visit establishments for a range of services. Reflecting that demand, the new branches operate with full staffs and a growing number of interactive features.

“There needs to be a balance between how electronic banking interacts with physical banking,” Patriot Bank President Rick Muskus Jr., said in an interview Wednesday at the bank’s new flagship branch at 999 Bedford St., in Stamford. “We wanted to maintain visibility here, and this building becomes a very important part of that. Overall, our branch network is important to our strategy.”

Opening branches

Patriot’s new 11,00-square-foot branch includes two “live banking” consoles — one in the building and another in a drive-through terminal — that allow customers to video-conference with bankers.

Operating 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, the video ATMs offer many of the services, such as account openings and check cashings, that patrons would find at teller desks. Patriot still employs tellers at the new branch and other locations, but the live-banking terminals offer another option when lines are long or customers are in a rush.

By the middle of the year, Patriot aims to have installed the video ATMs in all of its branches, and also one in its headquarters at 900 Bedford St., across the street from the flagship branch.

“Our goal is to have fewer transactions in the branch and more transactions with the interactive teller machines,” said Patriot Executive Vice President Fred Staudmyer. “But we’ve got to make sure we have plenty of people in the branches because people want to bank the way they want to bank.”

The new branch — which brings Patriot’s total to nine — cost about $3.5 million to acquire and build on a site formerly occupied by Key Bank. It employs 23, including five who service the live-banking consoles.

Patriot is not the only bank expanding its branch system.

First County Bank is set to open Monday a 2,400-square-foot establishment at 1312 Post Road in Fairfield. Taking over a building formerly used as a Fairfield County Bank branch, the downtown location will mark the Stamford-based First County’s 16th branch.

The establishment will employ a team of seven to eight bankers whose specialties include business banking and residential lending. It will also house investment and trust services run by by First County Advisors, First County’s wealth-management division.

“Fairfield is a market we’ve been wanting to get into for quite a long time, but we were never able to find the ideal location until this opportunity popped up,” said First County CEO and Chairman Reyno Giallongo Jr. “We like the town in terms of its demographics and it being contiguous to our existing markets in Westport and Norwalk. We thought it was a logical expansion area for us.”

New Canaan-based Bankwell is also growing its branch network. Between late April and early May, it plans to open branches at 100 Post Road E., in downtown Westport; 1063 Post Road in downtown Darien; and 1145 High Ridge Road in Stamford. With those new locations, Bankwell will have 12 branches.

“We continuously look at where we want to be, and a lot is driven by where our customers are and where we’re getting business,” said David Dineen, Bankwell’s executive vice president of community banking. “Westport and Darien have always been on our radar, and we feel Stamford is a major city and a major area of business.”

Among other notable openings in the area, First Bank of Greenwich expanded last March to Stamford, with a downtown branch at 900 Summer St.

Statewide, the number of bank buildings has declined in recent years. A total of 1,182 bank offices operated as of June 30, 2017, an 8 percent decrease from 2007.

More growth

Patriot, Bankwell and First County are all considering additional branch locations. Customers’ increased online banking does not impede those plans.

“When we look at how customers choose a bank, typically even though a lot of customers don’t necessarily want to go into a bank as often as they used to, they still want to know there’s a bank that is nearby and convenient when they want to have an in-depth conversation with a banker,” said Willard Miley, First County’s senior vice president and director of retail banking.

Customer growth underpins the bullish approach. First County, Patriot and Bankwell are all seeing their assets under management rise by at least several percentage points on an annual basis.

“As Patriot grows, the assertion is our branch network will grow, as well,” Muskus said.

Calidore String Quartet to Play WAC March 2

By Leslie LaSala

Westport, CT - The Westport Arts Center is thrilled to present the Calidore String Quartet, one of the most exciting of the younger string quartets, on Friday, March 2 at 7:30pm at the Arts Center.

The concert is generously sponsored by Howard Aibel.

The Calidore String Quartet’s “deep reserves of virtuosity and irrepressible dramatic instinct” (New York Times) and “balance of intellect and expression” (Los Angeles Times) has won them accolades across the globe and firmly established them as one of the finest chamber music ensembles performing today.

The Quartet is comprised of Jeffrey Myers and Ryan Meehan on violin, Jeremy Berry on viola and Estelle Choi on cello.

For this performance, the Calidore String Quartet will perform a program including Mozart’s Divertimento in F Major, K. 138, Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 117, Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 44 No. 1 and Caroline Shaw’s First Essay, “Nimrod” (2016).

Alexander Platt, the curator for the Westport Arts Center’s 2017-18 Concert Series, will serve as a guide for concert attendees, and will share his perspective and insights at the performance.

Platt stated, "We were so honored last month to welcome back to Westport the world-renowned Juilliard String Quartet, in a large-scale, canonical program that featured one of Beethoven's late quartets, and we are thrilled to present the young and brilliant Calidores, in their Arts Center debut -- here in a fresh, eclectic program.”

“The concert will feature the beloved works of Mozart and Mendelssohn with a bracing new piece by the gifted young American Caroline Shaw, and with one of Dmitri Shostakovich's arresting quartets from the 1960's, full of his uniquely Russian language of wit and anxiety, it will be a fabulous night," Platt added.

The concert will take place in the context of the visually stunning What Keeps Mankind Alive and The Last Library exhibition at the Westport Arts Center, featuring the works of Ward Shelley and his collaboration partner Douglas Paulson, on view through March 2.

To learn more about the Calidore String Quartet concert or the 2017-18 Concert Series, please visit or call 203/222-7070. The Westport Arts Center thanks WSHU for their generous support.

More About The Calidore String Quartet

Using an amalgamation of “California” and “doré” (French for “golden”), the ensemble’s name represents a reverence for the diversity of culture and the strong support it received from its home of origin, Los Angeles, California, in the “Golden State.” The Calidore String Quartet aims to present performances that share the passion and joy of the string quartet chamber music repertoire.

The Quartet made international headlines as the winner of the $100,000 Grand-Prize of the 2016 inaugural M-Prize International Chamber Music Competition, the largest prize for chamber music in the world. Most recently in 2017 the Calidore was honored with the Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award. The 2017-18 season continues the Calidore’s three year residency with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program.

Ticket Information

The Westport Arts Center encourages advance registration. Tickets for the Juilliard String Quartet concert are $40 for WAC members and $50 for non-members if purchased in advance. All tickets purchased at door are $60/ticket.

Free Companion Tickets are also available for Seniors ages 65+; each ticket purchase of $50 includes a free companion ticket (a two-for-one!).

About the Westport Arts Center

The Westport Arts Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting our community through the arts, reaches more than 11,000 people annually through outstanding programs in visual arts, arts education, and the performance arts of Chamber music and jazz.

The Westport Arts Center receives philanthropic support from the Katherine and Howard Aibel Foundation; Anthropologie & Co.; Artur and Heida Hermanns Holde Foundation, Inc.; Bernstein Private Wealth Management; Cohen and Wolf, P.C.; Critical Mix; Delamar Southport; Design Within Reach; Dragone Motor Cars; Fairfield County Bank; Fairfield County's Community Foundation; Fairfield County Hunt Club; 4th Row Films; First County Bank Foundation; GWAY Print Solutions; Hal Prince Music; the Hall Art Foundation; The Hofstetter Baron Group; Hotel Zero Degrees; J.P. Morgan; Land Rover/Jaguar of Fairfield; Moffly Media; Newman’s Own Foundation; Northeast Tent; Serena & Lily; Shack Sackler Foundation; Sontag Advisory LLC; Steven Mancini Salon; Success Printing & Mailing; Teich Gardens; Tito's Handmade Vodka; Verde Energy USA, Inc.; Wells Fargo Advisors; Westport Now; Westport Resources, a division of United Capital; WPKN and WSHU Public Radio Group. The Westport Arts Center operates with the support of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

For more information, contact the Westport Arts Center at (203) 222-7070 or The Westport Arts Center gallery is open Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 51 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT.

Fairfield County's Giving Day is Just A Few Days Away - On March 1st, Over 430 Nonprofits Will Appeal To Your Generosity

By Fairfield County's Community Foundation

(Norwalk, Conn.) In just a few days, Fairfield County’s Giving Day, the region’s biggest and most exciting philanthropic event that unites the community while making a difference in the lives of our neighbors will take place. At midnight on March 1st, more than 430 nonprofits will be reaching out throughout the region seeking to boost their funds, create awareness about the amazing work they do and compete for over $100,000 in cash prizes ranging from $1,000 to $20,000.

Giving Day, celebrating its fifth year, has become the annual opportunity when a donation of as little as $10 can benefit nonprofits across the region. Fairfield County nonprofits provide a safety net for our most vulnerable residents, increase access to housing and educational opportunities for youth and adults, enrich Fairfield County with arts and culture and much more.

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, with champion supporter Bank of America and a host of partners and sponsors are Giving Day’sdriving forces. “We’re proud of our ongoing partnership with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation and are thrilled to help bring Fairfield County Giving Day to life for a fifth time,” said Bill Tommins, Southern Connecticut market president, Bank of America. “This 24-hour giving marathon has evolved into a remarkable annual effort, in which we come together as a community to celebrate and support the nonprofits that make Fairfield County a great place to live and work.”

The excitement of Giving Day begins on March 1st at midnight. Individuals can go to and make a donation of $10 or more to the nonprofit or cause close to their heart. What’s truly amazing about Giving Day is that it’s an opportunity for every one of us to do something good for our community and our neighbors.

As a result of the community’s enthusiasm and generosity over the past four years, Fairfield County Giving Day has raised over $4.5 million for more than 600 nonprofits “We are set to make a terrific impact on March 1st for the people and places served by our important nonprofit sector and we hope you join us!” states Juanita James, CEO and President, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. She continues, “Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is committed to providing opportunities for every resident to thrive. Giving Day is one special day when we all unite for a greater good. We are honored to partner with community members, nonprofit organizations and businesses that are philanthropic, socially conscious champions. Remember, together we thrive!”

Bank of America’s commitment and the dedication of Giving Day’s partners helps to power the success of Giving Day. Champion sponsors include Media Partners– Hearst Connecticut Media Group, Moffly Media, Star 99.9 and 95.9 Fox, Barrett Outdoor Communications, News12 Connecticut; Whole Foods; Sacred Heart University Master of Public Administration; Neuberger Berman; Webster Private Bank; BlumShapiro; Cummings & Lockwood LLC; Day Pitney; First County Bank; RZH Advisors; Brewport; Nikki Glekas Events and Chelsea Piers Connecticut.

With over $100,000 in prizes at stake, everyone is encouraged to visit again and again to help his or her favorite nonprofit win and win BIG. Starting at midnight on March 1st go to

Fairfield County, get ready to “give where you live”! Your gift – whatever the size – will help nonprofits.

# # #

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation promotes philanthropy as a means to create change in Fairfield County, focusing on innovative and collaborative solutions to critical issues impacting the community. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Community Foundation is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards and has awarded over $212 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. As a trusted nonprofit partner and thought leader, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation brings together community organizers, business experts and philanthropists to solve our region’s challenges. Our goal is to create a vital and inclusive community, where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.

Donate to nonprofits on Giving Day Thursday, March 1

By The Ridgefield Press

For many nonprofit organizations, Giving Day is their annual opportunity to raise funds to support their missions. Powered by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, the fifth annual Giving Day on March 1 will benefit a host of nonprofits. More than 280 nonprofits have registered.

Fairfield County’s Giving Day is the impetus for the 23 cities and towns in the region and beyond to unite as a community and make an impact in 24 hours. The Community Foundation initiated Giving Day in 2014 to empower the community at large and encourage local philanthropy. Last year’s Giving Day raised nearly $1.5 million in 24 hours for 414 nonprofits from a total of 13,718 total donations. A donation of as little as $10 can drive a nonprofit to reap the rewards of thousands of dollars in prizes.

Throughout Fairfield County, Giving Day has become known as the day “to give where you live” and helping causes ranging from a vast array of human services including hunger relief, mental health support services and access to housing; educational opportunities for youth and adults; animal welfare; access to arts and culture; women and girls empowerment; support for seniors; environmental initiatives and so many more. Nonprofits of all interests and sizes participate.

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation makes it easy for nonprofits to participate. By registering for Giving Day 2018 now, nonprofits will be able to take advantage of the Community Foundation’s vast resources for fundraising success offered through online courses and workshops held by the Community Foundation’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence and led by its team of experts.

All nonprofit organizations throughout the region are invited to join in this educational opportunity on how to secure donations, effectively reach new supporters and increase awareness of their mission. Participants will learn specific steps to take to create stories for their Giving Day campaign and beyond. They also receive a toolkit, instruction videos and free online resources.

The Community Foundation is partnering with lead sponsor Bank of America for the fifth year in a row. Additional champion sponsors include Media Partner – Hearst Connecticut Media Group; Moffly Media; Star 99.9 and 95.9 Fox; Barrett Outdoor Communications; News12 Connecticut; Whole Foods; Sacred Heart University Master of Public Administration; Neuberger Berman; Webster Private Bank; BlumShapiro; Cummings & Lockwood LLC; Day Pitney; First County Bank; Nikki Glekas Events and Chelsea Piers Connecticut.

“We encourage all nonprofit organizations to register now and join us on March 1, for Fairfield County’s Giving Day 2018. As a result of the community’s enthusiasm and generosity over the past four years, we made impactful contributions to our neighbors by raising over $4.5 million for more than 600 nonprofits,” said Juanita James, president and CEO, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. “We are delighted that Bank of America is joining us for the fifth year in a row as the lead sponsor. We could not offer this meaningful day of giving without its generosity and the commitment of our media partner Hearst Media Connecticut, all of our media champions and our corporate community sponsors and devotees.”

Contact Carole Schwartz, Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager at 203-750-3224 for more information.

To donate to a Fairfield County nonprofit go to

Pacific House event raises $160,000 to support homeless young adults

By HAN Network, Greenwich-Post

Hundreds of community leaders, food and music enthusiasts and community-minded area residents gathered together at the Pacific House Close To Home Dessert Tasting and Youth Concert Friday, Feb. 23 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich. The event raised $160,000 to help homeless youth and the Pacific House Young Adult Program.

darien high school student The event featured food and dessert tastes from local restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers, as well as live music performed by musicians from local high schools. A highlight of the evening were performances by Javier Colon, winner of NBC’s hit show, The Voice. Colon performed on his own and together with the students.

“This event is a tremendous example of what can be accomplished when our community comes together to support those that need it most,” said Rafael Pagan, Jr., executive director of Pacific House. “We are grateful to all the performers, vendors and attendees for makingthis event a success. Funds raised will help many homeless young adults get the servicesthey need and prevent a lifetime of homelessness.”

One year ago, Pacific House emergency shelter began a Young Adult Program in response to the significant number of young adults coming into the shelter. These young men, ages 18-24, have nowhere to live and are currently calling the shelter home. In addition to providing food and shelter, the Pacific House Young Adult Program provides an array of services that help these young people gain employment, restart their education, find housing and more. These services change the trajectory of their lives.

Pacific House is grateful to the evening’s corporate sponsors. Concert Sponsor: Olympus Partners; VIP reception sponsor: Webster Bank; Coach Sponsors: First County Bank, Harbor Point, Purdue Pharma, and Stamford Hospital Foundation; Guide Sponsors: Renewal by Anderson, Pitney Bowes, Sympl Co., Shoprite and Creative Video Corporation; as well as Media Partners: Fairfield County Look, 95.9 the FOX, CTbites and Hey Stamford. Additional thanks are extended to all the schools and students who participated in the event, those schools include: Brunswick School, Darien High School, Greenwich Country Day, Greenwich High School, King School, Sacred Heart Greenwich and Stamford High School.

Pacific House would also like to thank the restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers that participated in the evening, including: A Chef’s Choice, Bad Louie’s Fudge, Chocolate Works Darien, Dimare’s Pastry, Filicori Zecchini, Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery, Le Rouge, Little Pub, Longford’s Ice Cream, Pasta Vera, The Granola Bar and Tomatillo.

Pacific House is the only regional men’s emergency shelter, serving the towns of Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien and beyond. Since 1985 the organization has served the area by providing food, temporary shelter and an array of support services to homeless men and young adults, including workforce development, recovery programming, and job readiness training. Shelter case managers work with each individual, helping them obtain housing and becoming more self-sufficient. Visit to learn more, or to make a donation.