Scott and Laura near their home in Putnam. Photo by Sara Gustavesen.

When Laura and Scott Moorehead made their home “in the middle of the woods” in Putnam eight years ago, the retired couple embraced rural tranquility. But community service still fills their calendars — and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You dive in with both feet and hands and make it happen,” Scott said of his volunteer involvement with a local social service agency.

From empowering women to promoting the arts to protecting open space, the Mooreheads are a dynamic duo in their community. They even co-chair the big “Tastes of the Valley” fundraiser. (“We’re foodies,” Laura explained, laughing. “And it benefits the environment!”)

For years, both Laura and Scott enjoyed fundraising for the Community Foundation’s Northeast Women & Girls Fund. In 2021, they took another step.

Upon establishing the Make Your Mark Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation, they encouraged young people “from artists to engineers and everyone in between, to go out and grab the world.” And they directed fund scholarships to be awarded to female and non-binary/third gender residents who reside in any of 11 northeast Connecticut towns.

“We wanted to make a statement,” Laura said, “or maybe just normalize the fact that roles are changing and we need to think differently about them.”

Laura and Scott’s life experiences shaped the scholarship’s purpose. While in the Navy, Laura witnessed “a lot of discrimination and problems that women face all the time.” Later, as an artist, she saw firsthand how difficult it was for artists to get scholarships.

Scott, a civil engineer who built affordable housing for nonprofits, is deeply troubled by injustice of any kind. For him, creating the scholarship was a way to counteract that.

“If you’re a white male, opportunities for scholarships are easier. But for women, not as much. And, certainly, ‘non-traditional’ gendered people have difficulty. So, we thought, ‘Let’s help them out.’”

For the Mooreheads, extending a helping hand has its rewards. Laura said, “Working in the community — that’s what brings happiness.”