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    Tuesday, March 05, 2024

    The Buzz: Stonington Garden Club names officers for coming year

    2023-2024 Executive Board of the Stonington Garden Club at a recent membership meeting, from left, Vivie von Walstrom, Jill Corr, Kirby Williams, Pamela Wright, Susan Alston, Dodie Bump, Laura Metzger. Photo courtesy of the Stonington Garden Club
    From left, representatives of Jewett City Savings Bank: Diana Rose, Chief Administrative Officer; Michael Alberts, President and CEO; Cindy Alberts, and Sarah Wallace, Plainfield Branch Manager, with Tim Kettle, Executive Director of Project Pin Food Pantry. Photo submitted
    Maria Miranda of Miranda Creative Inc. presents “2024 – Destination: Authenticity” a new, free live webinar on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Sponsored by Guilford Savings Bank.

    Kirby Williams and Laura Metzger (membership chair) have been named as co-presidents of the Stonington Garden Club for the 2023-2024 cycle.

    Other executive board members will be Jill Corr, first vice president, Vivie von Walstrom, second vice president/programs; Pamela Wright, recording secretary; Dodie Bump, communications secretary; and Susan Alston, treasurer. All are residents of Stonington, Mystic, or Pawcatuck.

    Established in 1926, the Stonington Garden Club is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization whose purpose is to educate and encourage interest in the environment and conservation, support community projects, and stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening. For information, visit www.stoningtongardenclub.org.

    People & Places

    The Liberty Bank Foundation has announced that 39 Connecticut Rotary Clubs and one Lions Club, along with the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, helped raise over $740,000 for its 20th annual Thanksgiving Drive.

    This drive was promoted individually by each Rotary Club and in Liberty Bank branches. Beginning in 2004, the Middletown Rotary Club and Liberty Bank teamed up to expand this fundraiser throughout Liberty’s entire service area.

    Rotary Clubs in Groton, Ledyard, Mystic/Stonington, New London, Niantic, Norwich, Old Saybrook, Plainville, and Waterford were among those contributing.

    The business advisory SCORE Eastern CT will host a new webinar, “2024 – Destination: Authenticity,” with local marketing guru Maria Miranda, sponsored by Guilford Savings Bank, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, via Zoom.

    To register, visit https://www.score.org/easternct.

    Maria Miranda is founder and creative director of Norwich-based Miranda Creative Inc. Miranda will provide tangible media insights as well as a bit of future-sight perspective on the new need for authenticity in today’s media-soaked world.

    Friedman Found at 33 Boston Post Road in Waterford is hosting a Holiday Fair from 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, including a vintage fashion show, style contest, model search and a vintage playing card sale, plus a Hannukkah candle lighting at 4:15 p.m. and dance party from 7-9. Vendors can apply at https://forms.gle/VQg97XiLuXR9U3zL8.

    For event details, visit www.friedmanfound.com or check out @FriedmanFound on Facebook and Instagram. Email and phone contacts are friedmanfound@gmail.com or 860-440-8726.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Connecticut District Office achieved historic volume through 894 approved SBA loans totaling over $363 million to small businesses during FY23 (October 2022-September 2023). The approvals in FY23 represents an increase of 13% over the previous year.

    M&T Bank is the top SBA 7(a) lender in Connecticut with 126 loans, totaling $18.1 million and an average loan size of $144,000. Webster Bank ranked second with 117 loans, and TD Bank was third with 111 loans. For more information, visit www.sba.gov.

    Grants & Awards

    The Chelsea Groton Foundation has awarded $244,000 to 37 non-profit organizations from Connecticut and Rhode Island. In addition, the foundation made its second $50,000 installment of its $250,000 Founding Partner commitment to the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Innovation Center.

    The foundation has provided over $590,000 to the community this year, and over $6.2 million in total grants since 1998.

    The health and human services category received 39% of funds distributed, including grants to the Furniture Bank of SECT ($15,000), New London Homeless Hospitality Center, Inc. ($12,500), and Connecticut Foodshare ($10,000).

    Arts and culture organizations received 27% of giving, including $50,000 to the Garde Arts Center for Backstage Expansion, and also supported first-time recipients Friends of Harkness ($3,500) and Westminster Youth String Ensemble mentorship program ($2,000).

    Educational projects accounted for 12% of giving; economic development received 10% of funding, including $25,000 to the Women’s Business Development Council for their matching grant program; and housing-specific causes received 9%.

    A list of all fall grant recipients is available at chelseagroton.com/CGFoundation. Online applications for the 2024 spring cycle will be available in January.

    The Jewett City Savings Bank Foundation has awarded grants totaling $22,373 to nine local food pantries.

    Grants of $3,000 were awarded to Interfaith Human Services of Putnam to help support their Daily Bread Food Pantry and Diaper Bank of NECT and Saint Mary Food Pantry in Jewett City to purchase fresh food for their patrons.

    The Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group, Inc. received $2,500 to support the stand-alone food markets in Thompson, Pomfret, and Woodstock. Also receiving a $2,500 grant was the Jonnycake Center of Westerly, which will be used to stock the shelves of the food pantry.

    The Friends of Assisi Food Pantry in Danielson and Project PIN Food Pantry in Moosup received grants of $2,500, as well as additional $1,000 grants, awarded in recognition of Jewett City Savings Bank’s former director, Phillip Tetreault.

    The Foundation awarded Preston City Congregational Church $1,500, which will help purchase basic food items and provide items for the holiday season. The United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc. received $1,000 to support the mobile food pantry distribution at Griswold High School.

    Chamber News

    The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut held two grand openings last month, at the new location of Brown & Brown Insurance Agency at 248 Flanders Road in East Lyme on Nov. 29, and at the Denari Esthetics, LLC, skin care business at 1 New London Road, Suite 18, Salem, on Nov. 30.

    Denari Esthetics offers skin care services and body contouring treatments. Brown & Brown is a longstanding local insurance broker offering personalized service.

    The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut Foundation is holding its 38th Annual Holiday Gala at Mohegan Sun’s Uncas Ballroom from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday Dec. 15.

    The event includes a champagne reception, dinner and dessert buffets. Over 30 local charities will benefit at this black-tie optional affair.

    For information, email foundation@chamberect.com or call 860-701-9113.

    The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT will hold a Business at Breakfast Networking event from 8 to 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 15, at Centreville Bank, Gales Ferry.

    Non-perishable food donations will be collected to support local families in need.

    Health & Wellness

    Lawrence + Memorial Hospital has been re-designated with the international Baby-Friendly recognition that certifies the hospital protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding.

    To achieve the Baby-Friendly USA designation hospitals must incorporate 10 steps to successful breastfeeding. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative works to improve the care of pregnant women, mothers and infants.

    Higher Collective has launched the state’s first two drive-through cannabis retail locations in Killingly and Willington.

    In partnership with Green Coach Delivery, the brand “aims to provide unmatched accessibility for adult-use cannabis customers in Connecticut,” according to a release. Home delivery was made available for customers at both locations as of Dec. 1, initially extending to Ashford, Brooklyn, Canterbury, Danielson, Dayville, Eastford, Griswold, Killingly, Lisbon, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Sterling, Thompson, Voluntown and Woodstock.

    Operating hours for both locations are from Monday to Saturday from 9-8, and Sunday from 10-5. The Killingly location is at 1078 North Main St. in Dayville.

    For more information, visit www.highercollective.com.

    Education & Learning

    Chelsea Groton Bank is facilitating a free First Generation Home Buyer class on Thursday, Dec. 7, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Goodwin University in East Hartford. An option to join on Zoom is also available, and registration information is available at www.ChelseaGroton.com/Events.

    The class will cover the basics of obtaining a mortgage and available down-payment and mortgage assistance programs, along with other topics. Visit www.chelseagroton.com/ChelseaUniversity for information on other financial education classes, or to use home buying calculators, visit www.chelseagroton.com/home-loans.

    The Connecticut Department of Education has launched the School Is Better with You campaign, which is designed to inform parents, grandparents, caregivers, and students about the importance of attending school, every day, while raising awareness about chronic absenteeism.

    According to a survey conducted by the School Is Better with You campaign, more than 5,400 parents and caregivers revealed various factors affecting attendance, including uncertainty about when to keep children home due to illness, mental health issues, chronic illnesses, and shifting social norms following the pandemic.

    For more information about the School Is Better with You campaign, visit https://portal.ct.gov/betterwithyou.

    Minority students applying to Eastern Connecticut State University in 2024 who plan to major in the sciences or mathematics will be recruited for a new STEM mentoring program funded by a National Science Foundation grant.

    The Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program at Eastern is designed to recruit and retain minority students in science, technology and mathematics. It will start this summer with 15 students selected from the incoming first-year class.

    Charitable Giving

    Tis the season of giving, but if you do, give wisely. That’s the word from the Better Business Bureau and its website, Give.org, which reports the portion of American households donating to charity has declined steadily over the past few years.

    In a recent survey, 59% of people with a household income above $70,000 who stopped giving to charities over the past five years agreed with the statement “there are people out there with significantly more money who should give to charity instead of me.” Other highlights from the Special Donor Trust Report: Donor Participation survey of more than 2,000 adults show that 71.6% of older Americans report maintaining or increasing their contributions, as compared to 42.2% of Gen Zers.

    But Gen Zers are most likely to say they continue to give because they “want to be part of something bigger” (47%), while Boomers are most likely to say “everyone should contribute what they can” (34.2%) and those over age 76 (Matures) are most likely to say their faith or religion calls for it (27.5%).

    Visit Give.org to verify if a charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.

    Get in The Buzz by emailing releases to businessbriefs@theday.com. Business editor Lee Howard compiles briefs on a weekly basis. Go online to access links to each of the websites and emails mentioned.

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