By Elizabeth J. Normen
I was raised in a philanthropic family. That doesn’t mean I was raised with wealth. Like many others, my parents shared their time, talent, and treasure, as they were able, with their church and community. They did it quietly; I understood they were taking part in a long tradition, one that crossed lines of religion, ethnicity, and class, of doing what you can to make the world a better place both for yourself and for those less fortunate.
The beauty of philanthropy is that anyone can do it: from Andrew Carnegie’s contribution of cash that found its way to Connecticut, to laundress Hannah Gray’s bequest of her home, to the Hebrew Ladies of the Handkerchief Brigade canvassing their friends and neighbors (all stories covered in this issue). Though robber barons such as Pittsburgh’s Carnegie can fund all kinds of initiatives that strike their fancy, for the rest of us, at the heart of our philanthropic impulse is “to find a way”—a way to fix a part of society that is broken, to breach barriers and gain access to the things we or our families need, such as an education or health care. And finding a way often requires joining forces with others, as you’ll read about in this issue.
The contributions of time, talent, and treasure by many people made Connecticut Explored possible, too. Of course it’s been my dream to win the lottery and bestow upon Connecticut Explored a singular Carnegie-sized endowment. But then would Connecticut Explored have as much heart? Would it inspire the devotion of readers, especially our Friends of Connecticut Explored, who love the magazine so much they contribute money above and beyond the cost of receiving the magazine? I doubt it. Our Friends gifts support and encourage our editorial team, whose members contribute hours of their time and intellectual capital, as do our authors, some of whom receive a small honorarium and some of whom waive that honorarium, all for the love of Connecticut history. It’s the power of time, talent, treasure—together—that makes every issue possible. Plus one more ingredient: heart. (If only it started with a T!)
As you read the Fall 2015 issue’s stories about Connecticut’s tradition of philanthropy, please make a gift to the 2015 Friends of Connecticut Explored. Gifts of $100 or more received by December 31, 2015 will be listed in the spring issue and on our website. On behalf of all of us who lovingly put each issue together, thank you!
Elizabeth J. Normen