The Community Fund of Darien donated more than $67,000 to two Stamford nonprofits and another $19,000 to a Greenwich one.

They gave a $29,000 grant to Pacific House, which operates an emergency men’s shelter and develops and manages affordable supportive housing for the homeless. Formerly named Shelter for the Homeless, Pacific House is the only regional men’s emergency shelter, serving Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien and the rest of Fairfield County.

The money will go toward general operating costs associated with the shelter, case management and supported housing services. The grant, which was awarded at The Community Fund of Darien’s 2016 Grants Award Open House, supports the provision of basic human needs - emergency food and shelter - for nearly 500 homeless individuals, and the multiple programs that help find housing and develop self-sufficiency and self-reliance for Pacific House clients.

The Community Fund of Darien also awarded a $38,500 grant to the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut in support of their Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services program.

The guidance center is the state’s designated EMPS provider to children and teens in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan, offering mobile services seven days a week, 365 days a year to stabilize crises. Children referred to the EMPS program often struggle with suicidal thoughts or attempts, self-harm, depression, extreme anxiety or trauma. By dialing 211, children, families, school personnel and other community organizations can request support in an emergency, and a CGC clinician will be onsite to provide immediate mental health services.

Abilis, a human services organization that provides supports for individuals with special needs and their families in Fairfield County, received a $19,000 grant award from The Community Fund of Darien. The money will go toward the hiring and training of an additional job coach to increase competitive employment opportunities for its clients.

Abilis serves over 700 individuals a year, including 200 adults with developmental disabilities in its day services program. In keeping with its desire to help all participants lead productive and meaningful lives, Abilis works diligently to provide competitive employment opportunities. Abilis has a growing roster of over 40 business partners that includes retail stores such as CVS, Marshall’s, Pet Pantry, Stop & Shop, Target, Walgreen’s and Whole Foods, as well as local libraries, restaurants, and community organizations.

The Community Fund of Darien has supported Abilis over the past nine years. Its grant panel commended Abilis for its work in the area of promoting self-sufficiency, one of its four funding priorities.

For over 65 years, The Community Fund of Darien has helped those in need, working to make Darien the best it can be. Their grants to local nonprofits are targeted toward the most critical needs in Darien, Stamford and Norwalk. The Community Fund is located at 30 Old Kings Hwy South in Darien. For more information, go to or call 203-655-8775.

Among the graduates

Brooke Davis, a graduate of Darien High School, graduated from Colorado College on May 16 with a bachelor's degree in biology. Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs, Colo. in 1874.

On May 21, two Darien natives graduated from Saint Anselm College, a four-year liberal arts college in Manchester, N.H. Alexandra M. Ashburne majored in English and secondary education, while Olivia K. Ashburne studied communications.

At the Darien Arts Center

Samantha Keller, who has a Masters of Fine Arts degree, is teaching the Adult Creative Writing Workshop this fall at the Darien Arts Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing visual and performing arts programs and events for the community.

Beginner to intermediate students can strengthen their writing skills in six sessions in the new fiction workshop. In addition to sharing and critiquing a 10- to 15-page sample of writing or work in progress by each student, the group will focus on the elements of the craft of writing, and share a “common read” for discussion. A local published author will be invited to discuss the business of being a writer and how to get published.

The Creative Writing Workshop will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, from October 5 through November 9. The workshop costs $240 plus a $35 registration fee. Registration for this and all fall adult and children's programs at the DAC opened on August 1. For more information, visit or call (203) 655-8683.