The Albert Wadsworth and Helen Clark Meserve Memorial Fund

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Mission

To support public, charitable, and educational projects and organizations that have an impact on the Greater Danbury area in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Application deadlines

October 15

Program areas

Arts, culture, and humanities
Education
Environment
Health
Human Services
Public/society benefit

Program limitations

There are no absolute program area restrictions, but there are a few restrictions on the types of proposals considered.

States served

Connecticut

Geographic limitations

Projects and organizations in the Greater Danbury area, Fairfield County, Connecticut only (towns of Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, and Sherman).

Trustees

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Committee members

Karl H. Epple, Chair
Gary W. Hawley
Mary Ann D. Frede
Harold C. Wibling
Andrea M. Ryan

The Distribution Committee of the Fund, a five-member board of distinguished area residents, meets annually in December to review grant requests. After a screening to ensure compliance with eligibility requirements and application guidelines, each proposal is reviewed by the Distribution Committee. Decisions are reached based upon the quality and nature of each proposal, as well as the availability of funds during that period.

Requirements

  • To be eligible, organizations must qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Applications must be submitted through the online grant application form or alternative accessible application designed for assistive technology users.
  • Requests must support projects or organizations serving the Greater Danbury area of Fairfield County, Connecticut, although the organization itself may be located outside this region.

Limitations

The following requests will generally not be considered:

  • Grants to individuals
  • Grants supporting endowment or general fund drives
  • Operating budgets of United Way agencies
  • Operational deficits
  • Projects of religious or sectarian organizations principally benefiting their own membership
  • Projects that relate to influencing elections or promoting political activities

Grantmaking priorities

Preference is given to:

  • Projects for which it can be shown that benefits will be measurable, recipients identifiable, and future support available.
  • Projects that strengthen an organization’s capacity to provide services.
  • Projects for which it can be shown that benefits will be measurable, recipients identifiable, and future support available.

Lower priorty is given to:

  • Projects would more appropriately be supported through broad grassroots community support.
  • Projects that clearly would be implemented without a grant from this foundation.
  • Building fund drives and general operating support.

The foundation may also award scholarships to suitable students from the Greater Danbury area. For further information regarding the foundation's separate scholarship program or to apply for a scholarship, please visit www.csascholars.org.

Application period and deadlines

Applications are accepted year-round, but must be submitted by October 15 to be reviewed at the annual grant meeting that takes place in December.

Communications

Applicants will receive an automated email confirmation when an application is submitted and will be contacted regarding the outcome of their application once the request has been reviewed.

Required agreements and reports

Progress reports are due six months after grant funds are received (except if otherwise noted prior to distribution).

About the Foundation

Established in 1983, the Albert Wadsworth and Helen Clark Meserve Memorial Fund is a private foundation that supports a range of public, charitable, and educational projects and organizations that have an impact on the Greater Danbury area in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

A nationally recognized arborist during his lifetime, Albert Wadsworth Meserve was known locally in and around Danbury, Connecticut as a prominent businessman and an active volunteer in civic and charitable activities throughout the Greater Danbury area. Al Meserve was born in Framingham, Massachusetts on January 14, 1898, graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1920, and pursued a career in landscaping, horticulture, and arboriculture for the following 50 years. During his career, he served as president of the Connecticut Tree Protective Association, the National Arborists Association, and the International Shade Tree Conference. He was a visiting lecturer on arborial subjects at colleges and forums nationwide.

In 1932, he married Helen Clark of New Milford, who was a secretary at the Lee Hat Company and a volunteer at the Danbury Hospital for many years.

Al Meserve was active on Danbury’s Recreation Committee and served as chairman of its Board of Commissioners. He also served as president of the Community Chest and the Danbury Chapter of the American Red Cross, and was commander of the American Legion Post No. 60. He was president of the Danbury Museum & Historical Society and of the Scott-Fanton Museum.

Al Meserve was the major developer of Camp Mauwehu on Candlewood Lake. He was also former president of the Mauwehu Council of the Boy Scouts. In recognition of this community service, he was the recipient of the Exchange Club’s “Book of Golden Deeds Award” in 1968.

Following retirement from his own tree business in 1971, Al Meserve raised purebred Polled Hereford cattle at his farm in New Milford, Connecticut. He died in September of 1978, and Helen died the following month. Their Wills jointly established the Albert Wadsworth Meserve and Helen Clark Memorial Fund to serve as a legacy and perpetuate their interest in charitable programs of the Greater Danbury region.