Community news: Tiny Miracles Foundation in Darien hosts gala, car donated

Tiny Miracles Foundation hosts gala

After nearly a three-year hiatus, The Tiny Miracles Foundation hosted its annual gala in person May 6, raising nearly $300,000 for the organization’s programs and honoring community leaders who advocate for the families of premature babies in Fairfield and New Haven counties.

Nearly 200 guests assembled at The Loading Dock in Stamford to enjoy signature cocktails by drink sponsor The Vale Fox distillery and hors d’oeuvres and an elegant sit-down dinner by Abigail Kirsch catering.

The roaring ‘20s event theme “Miracles… and All That Jazz” inspired a champagne tower and a speakeasy entertainment room. One lucky guest won a pair of earrings designed by Donna Vock of jewelry sponsor Vock and Vintage.

The event is the largest annual fundraiser for Tiny Miracles, a Darien-based nonprofit whose mission is to provide compassionate care to the families of premature babies in the region. The organization helps families whose babies will often spend weeks or months in neonatal intensive care with programs that include one-on-one mentoring, educational resources and financial aid.

Highlight of the evening was the presentation of the “Miracle Maker” Awards, which honors individuals who share the organization’s dedication to support families of premature babies in Southwestern Connecticut.

The 2022 event honored Réal and Tara Leclerc, parents of twins born at 28 weeks, and Dr. Meltem Seli, attending neonatologist, Connecticut Children’s Specialty Group, Nuvance Health at Norwalk and Danbury Hospitals.

The special event was supported by presenting sponsors: Mr. and Mrs. Michael F. Klein and the Bauer Family Foundation and individual and local corporate sponsors including The Godina Family; Réal and Tara Leclerc; Ginger, Christopher and Lilly Wilson; Twenty Four Wealth; Stamford Health; Yale New Haven Health System; Ivy Rehab/Ivy Rehab for Kids; Gwen and Tom Noto; Eileen and James Thomas; David and Kim Januszewski; Mr. and Mrs. Scott Srolis; Eila and Jeff Johnson; Cheryl and Tim Egan; Cross Private Client Insurance/Pure Insurance; Bank of America; Nuvance Health and The Harbor Lights Foundation. 

Other sponsors include The Blake Family; Jason and Brooke Gies; Laura and Blake Franchi; Mr. and Mrs. William Cunningham; Mr. and Mrs. Michael Ruehlman; Tara and Stacy Eastland; Nedder & Associates LLC; Ashley and David Dineen; Heath and Alyssa Kent; Bankwell; Mr. & Mrs. Peter Streinger; Dr. Richard Freedman; Maternal Fetal Care PC and the Darien Sport Shop.   

For more information about The Tiny Miracles Foundation visit http://www.ttmf.org, or call 203-202-9714.

The Tiny Miracles Foundation, a 501C3, was founded in 2004 by two local mothers of severely premature twins after they experienced the trauma and devastating impact of pre-term birth.

Today, Tiny Miracles provides comprehensive support and assistance to the families of pre term infants in six partner hospitals throughout Fairfield and New Haven Counties. Through its programs, The Tiny Miracles Foundation strives to improve the lives, care and outcomes of children born too early, and those who love and care for them.

Car donated to Stamford family from local groups

A Stamford mother with a disabled child was gifted a fully refurbished used car courtesy of several local groups including Tiny Miracles, the Umbrella Club and New Canaan Foreign Cars.

Matt deGarmo of Matthew L. deGarmo Ltd. in Norwalk created Operation Wheels through the nonprofit Umbrella Club to donate cars to parents of disabled children in financial straits. He reached out to Leelee Klein, emeritus president of Darien-based Tiny Miracles, to help find qualifying families.

They chose a woman with a child born 12 weeks premature who suffered significant complications at birth and requires a special wheelchair for mobility.

Matt Konspore found the used car and several donors helped purchase it; Mark and Lucia Bagg, owners of New Canaan Foreign Cars, donated the labor and the supplies needed to prepare the car for the family.

The Umbrella Club has donated several years of car insurance costs to the family as part of the gift.

For more information, visit https://degarmoltd.com or http://www.ttmf.org.

Sixth annual Shatterproof event honored Darien resident

The non-profit organization Shatterproof held its sixth annual Showdown on the Sound honoring former Darien resident Michael Taylor last Saturday.

The event was a fund-raiser for the national nonprofit organization which raises money to transform addiction treatment, end stigma and support community efforts at ending drug addiction.

Since its inception, the event has raised more than $815,000 for Shatterproof’s programs. Organizers said they hoped money raised at this year’s event will bring the total to $1 million or better.

The inaugural Showdown on the Sound was held May 20, 2017, about a year after Taylor died from an opioid overdose. With the exception of 2020 and 2021, when it went virtual, Showdown on the Sound has been a way to invite the public at the beginning of the summer to the events and sports Taylor enjoyed, according to organizers.

Taylor grew up in Darien. He was an all-state tennis player at Darien High School and played Division one varsity tennis for three years. He graduated from Villanova University and started a career in marketing. He loved traveling, adventures, and being out on the water, his family said.

He also suffered from addiction that began with opioid medications prescribed after reconstructive shoulder surgery because of a tennis injury during his junior year at Villanova, according to information from the Shatterproof non-profit organization.

Sponsors include The Yale Program in Addiction Medicine, Stamford Health, Rings End, Baywater Properties, Janney Trust Advisors, CJS Securities, BMW of Darien, Land Rover of Darien, the Liberation house, The Lighthouse and Adventure Recovery.

More information on the organization, visit shatterproof.org. For more information on the event or to donate, visit www.showdownonthesound.org.

United Way CT appoints interim president, CEO

The United Way of Coastal Fairfield County has announced the appointment of Margo Amgott as its interim President and CEO.

Amgott, who replaces Jeffery Kimball, will lead the nonprofit agency during the transition to a permanent replacement the organization announced. Her position was effective May 16.

Amgott brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in nonprofits, higher education and state and local government to the position. She currently provides transitional support and project management through her consulting company, Amgott Interim LLC.

A specialist in transitional leadership, Amgott previously re-opened the Jacob Burns Film Center with fundraising and renewed programming.

She has also served as the interim director for Studio in a School, an arts and social justice organization providing standards-based arts education in New York City schools; as the interim CEO at the Hearing Health Foundation, the largest non-profit funder of hearing and balance research in the U.S. and as the COO of the National Council for Jewish women, where she led strategic planning for policy advocacy and growth and sustainability.

Earlier in her career, she led programs at Columbia University, Hunter College, the New York University NYU Langone Medical Center and for the New York City Department of Health.

She holds a master’s degree from the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and an undergraduate degree from Barnard College.

The Board will launch a search for a permanent replacement shortly.

United Way of Coastal Fairfield County serves Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport and Wilton. The organization’s mission to is tackle the most pressing issues in a community with local partners.

For more information, visit https://unitedwaycfc.org/.

Author Kristen Harnisch speaks

The Barrett Bookstore and the Darien Community Association will present author Kristen Harnisch at 7 p.m. May 24 in a live in-person book launch of “The Vintner’s Legacy” at the DCA’s building at 274 Middlesex Road.

Tickets are $25 for members of the Darien Community Association and $35 for members of the public. Ticket price includes a signed paperback copy of the book and a wine reception at 6:15 p.m.

More information, and registration are available at https://dariendca.org/book-talks-and-signings.

Community association to host annual meeting

The Darien Community Association will hold its annual meeting June 3 with coffee at 9:30 a.m., and the meeting at 10 a.m.

Featured guests will be Taylor Carter, and Liz Geiger, the hosts of the podcast “Now We’re Talking Darien,” in conversation with CNN commentator and fellow Darien resident S.E. Cupp.

Carter and Geiger launched their podcast series in spring 2021, talking about the town they live in and love.

Broadcasting out of Taylor’s home, the pair has hosted more than 40 podcasts, showcasing all aspects of life in Darien and the people who contribute to the town.

The event will be in-person with a virtual participation option.

The event is free for Community Association members. Tickets for the public are $25.

The presentation will be preceded by several minutes of community association business, including a vote on the organization’s proposed board of director slate for the 2022-23 year.

More information and registration is available at https://dariendca.org/dca-board-of-directors-proposed-slate-2020-21/.

The registration deadline is noon June 2 through the Community Association’s office or by calling 203-655-9050, Ext. 10.