Providing financial support to college students pursuing health-related careers.

Bernard and Alice Chalecki were longtime residents of Southeastern Connecticut who, during their lifetimes, had established a charitable fund with an area investment firm. While the fund had grown in value over the years, it had not distributed any grants to beneficiaries.

After Bernard passed away, Alice worked with attorney David Zuckerbraun – then a vice president for the Washington Trust Company – to transfer stewardship of the fund to our foundation and enable her and Bernard’s vision to become a reality.

Their fund now provides scholarships – in perpetuity - for undergraduate and graduate students from any of our 42 communities who are actively pursuing careers in health-related fields. In the future, the fund may also issue direct grants to accredited educational institutions to enable them to offer financial aid to students pursuing health-care studies.

In establishing the fund, Alice acknowledged her reasons for its medical focus. “Unlike the time when I grew up – when doctors still made house calls, there now are a variety of different trained medical professionals who can provide help when a patient needs assistance,” she said. “According to the media, there is a serious shortage of such people, and I would like to help them.”

Alice noted she was inspired by the hard work and dedication of young people such as Heather Buck, a former Stonington High School basketball star, who went on to play for the National Champion University of Connecticut team, while pursuing her dream of becoming a registered nurse.

“We are all aware of the fact that advanced education is expensive,” Alice said, “but if that education ends up in service to others, it is well worth assisting.”