Published in The Day

By Erica Moser

Old Lyme ― The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut recognized instrumental early supporters of the organization, its donors and board members, and its successes from the past year at its annual celebration Wednesday, held at the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., presented past trustees Bob Marrion and Millie Devine with honorary certificates. Marrion was unanimously voted in as the first chairman of the Community Foundation’s board of trustees in 1982 and Devine was a founding member of the Southeast Women & Girls Fund.

This year, Board Chair Lynn Malerba stepped down due to her appointment as 45th treasurer of the United States, and Ed Higgins became chairman. He is rotating off the board at the end of this year, as are trustees Mary Broderick, Patrick Green and John Pritchard.

The incoming officers are chair Peg O’Shea, vice chair Nick Fortson, secretary Carol Williams and treasurer Lee-Ann Gomes.

“We are so lucky to have a board that is really forward-thinking and totally appreciates the role we need to play, and are playing, in doing advocacy around work that is critical,” President and CEO Maryam Elahi said.

Over the past year, the Community Foundation has worked to advance its three priorities for federal American Rescue Plan Act spending: early childhood care and education, mental health, and affordable housing.

Also this year, the foundation distributed more than $200,000 in inaugural grants from the Fund for Racial Justice and awarded a record $1 million in scholarships.

The organization joined with six other nonprofits to create the Center for Housing Equity and Opportunities, slated to officially launch in early 2023.