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2023 News & Events

2023 Stocking Stuffing Project

Mission accomplished!! Representatives from Westbrook, Old Saybrook, and Tri-Town youth and family services agencies received their allocation of stockings on Thursday, Dec. 14th.


As you see by the smiles on their faces, they were delighted when they saw the stockings and asked me to thank all of you for the amazing act of generosity you did for children in need. They loved the buffalo plaid and burlap and seemed to be genuinely impressed with our work. 


So, Kudos to all of you who gave of your time, energy, personal donations on top of your challenging shopping spree purchases . . . you made it happen. The party was fun too. 


Kaye Griffin

Committee Chairperson
River Valley Fund for Families

Thank You Graphic-MC.png
Thank You to Our Shoppers, Donors, and Stocking Stuffers!

Mary Boone & Tom Pinkowish

Dawn & Pierre Boulanger

Eileen Browne

Mary B. Butler

Merry Coleman

Connie Connors

Mary Ellen Cozzolino

Ann Dixon

Joan Falcignio

Sharon Fleming

Brenda & Chadwich Floyd

Kaye Griffin

Barbara Haines

Richard & Victoria Hetzel

Melissa Jacobsen
Bo Jacaruso
Joanne Kennedy

Lousia Ketron

Melinda Kingsbury

Reninca LaBella

Bette & Terrance Lomme

Sandy Meister

Beebe & Len Miller

Coral & Jim Rawn

Lucy & Tom Rutherford

Betsy Sandberg

Theresa Sistare

Barbara Smith

Carl Thompson

Lois & Ken Thomsen
Jan Taigen

Barbara & Ben Turley

Nancy & Jim Vineburgh

Sara Walker
Lannie White

. . . and to all the others who supported this project.

Stocking Stuffing Party Highlights

RVFF Quarterly Business Meeting – September 12, 2023

The River Valley Fund for Families has awarded a total of $15,900 in grant funding to eight local nonprofits. RVFF participated in the CFMC Spring Competitive Grant Award Cycle and selected five local nonprofits for grant funding. Most recently on August 30th, RVFF hosted a major fundraiser at the Ivoryton Playhouse for the purpose of raising funds to support the work of local youth and family services agencies.

An awards ceremony occurred at the RVFF Quarterly Business Meeting held at the Essex Public Library. Representatives of the following nonprofits were in attendance to receive the grants: Tri-Town Youth Services, Westbrook Youth & Family Services ,Inc., Old Saybrook Youth & Family Services Commission, A Little Compassion, American Red Cross, Traveling Toys, SARAH, Inc., and the Ivoryton Alliance.

The audience attending the meeting included RVFF volunteers who had served on the RVFF Grants Review Subcommittee last spring as well as the RVFF Fundraiser Subcommittee responsible for organizing and executing the successful fundraiser at the Ivoryton Playhouse. The meeting agenda provided attendees the opportunity to “meet and greet” the grantors and the grantees and to celebrate the fulfillment of the RVFF mission to support local nonprofits through grant making. Also in attendance at the meeting were Cynthia Clegg (CFMC President & CEO) and Mary Boone (Co-President of the Tri-Town Youth Services Board of Directors).

The RVFF volunteers, pictured in the photos along with the grant awardees, wish to extend a sincere “thank you” to all Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline Area citizens who have donated funds to RVFF over the past few months or have supported the RVFF fundraiser in August. Funds received through donations and the RVFF fundraiser have made it possible for RVFF to continue to support local nonprofits.

Spring grant awardees with RVFF leadership committee and Cynthia Clegg

Positive Paths awardees with RVFF leadership committee members 


Spring grant awardees with RVFF grant committee members


Positive Paths awardees with RVFF fundraiser committee members and Cynthia Clegg

Positive Paths Initiative Fundraiser – August 30, 2023

The August 30th, 2023 River Valley Fund for Families'
“Jersey Boys” Fundraiser was a rousing success!


River Valley Fund for Families would like to THANK our Sponsors and hard-working Volunteers, without whom this event would not have been possible.

Special Thanks to our Sponsors

Event Sponsors
Middlesex Health
Corporate Sponsors
Essex Savings Bank

Services & Trust

MAI Capital Management
Frontline Productions
Ivory Wealth Management
Jacaruso Family Fund
at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County
Norm Needleman & Jacqui Hubbard

Learn more here


RVFF Quarterly Business Meeting – May 16, 2023

The RVFF Committee Leadership hosted the spring quarterly business meeting on Tuesday, May 16th at the Essex Library Program Room. The meeting was well attended by RVFF volunteers and special guests who were invited to present a brief program prior to the business portion of the meeting.

The first half of the meeting focused on topics related to the upcoming RVFF Positive Paths Initiative Fundraiser on August 30th. The fundraiser will target fundraising to support grants for the youth and family services bureaus serving the towns of Essex, Chester, Deep River, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Therefore, representatives from these bureaus were invited to address our RVFF volunteers to speak about the dedicated work they do each day through existing programs and services, as well as to comment on areas in need of growth and expansion.

We were honored to hear comments from Sara Zaientz, Executive Director of the Westbrook Youth & Family Services bureau, from Heather McNeil, Director of the Old Saybrook Youth and Family Services, and from Melanie Meyer, Interim Executive Director from Tri-Town Youth & Services Bureau. Each person spoke with passion and commitment as they shared insight into the challenges they face providing services and programs for our youth, some of whom struggle to achieve and maintain mental wellness. Also in attendance were Cynthia Clegg, President & CEO of CFMC and Mary Boone, Co-President of the Tri-Town Youth and & Services Bureau located in Deep River.

A highlight of the meeting was a series of brief reports / updates from the following RVFF Subcommittees: Grants Review Subcommittee, Fundraiser Subcommittee, Communications Subcommittee, Special Events Subcommittee, and the RVFF Committee Leadership Team. These volunteers deserve a round of applause for the tasks they have completed and the projects they are working on now.

Good News of RVFF Shared in the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) Annual Report

Each year CFMC releases an annual report that features updates and “good news” about the Funds supported and managed by CFMC. This year, our own RVFF has been included in the report on page #21. We encouraged all to take time to read all about it and spend some time reading all the other good news included in the report. Thanks to CFMC for recognizing RVFF!


CFMC 2021/2022 Annual Report

March Friendraiser Event

The River Valley Fund for Families is pleased to announce two “surprise” grants to local nonprofits, Essex Garden Club (EGC) and Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP). The grants were awarded on March 28th and received by Coral Rawn a member of the Essex Garden Club and Alison Marcinek a long-time supporter of SSKP.


Coral Rawn stated, “I am honored to accept this grant on behalf of the Essex Garden Club and want to thank the River Valley Fund for Families for this generous gift that will support the EGC’s Campership Program for children.” Alison Marcinek stated, “My family and I have been longtime supporters of the Shoreline Soup Kitchen, an organization that serves our community well. I want to thank the River Valley Fund for Families for this wonderful gift that will support feeding those in need in our communities.”

The “Pop-Up Grant” awards were included in the program at RVFF’s Friendraiser event held at the Essex Yacht Club on March 28th. The gathering brought together current and prospective volunteers for RVFF and provided attendees the opportunity to learn more about the mission of RVFF which is to support children and families in need through grants to local nonprofits.

The RVFF Leadership Committee, pictured in the photo along with the grantee representatives, wish to extend a sincere “thank you” to all in the Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline areas who have donated funds to RVFF or supported its “Festival of Trees” holiday fundraiser. These funds have made it possible for RVFF kick off its first grant making initiatives in 2023.

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