This year, Thanksgiving marked the date of not one, but two competitions between perennial rivals Darien and New Canaan — the hotly contested Turkey Bowl, and the final day of the third annual “Most Generous Town” fundraising competition between The Community Fund of Darien and the New Canaan Community Foundation.

Although New Canaan won the game, Darien is this year’s fundraising champion! Collectively, the two nonprofit organizations raised an impressive $300,280 —double last year’s amount —which is then allocated through grants to local charities.

Last year, New Canaan won by a slim margin, with over $150,000 raised between both nonprofits — more than doubling the amount collected in the inaugural year. In another very close contest, Darien edged out the first victory in 2017. To commemorate the event, The Community Fund of Darien will proudly house a large “Turkey Trophy” at its office for the next year.

What began as a fun way to encourage local donors to give to the two nonprofits on “Giving Tuesday” — a nationally-recognized day focused on charitable donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving — evolved into a full-fledged week of giving. Residents donated online and through mobile giving, ending on Thanksgiving. By highlighting the final day of the competition at the widely-attended Turkey Bowl football game, the two charities hoped to draw even more attention to their mission of mobilizing resources where they are most needed in each local community.

“We love that both towns end up winners in this friendly competition,” said Janet King, Executive Director of The Community Fund of Darien. “By bringing more dollars into our organizations, we are supporting each other and also the local nonprofits that help so many of our neighbors. We are very grateful for our residents’ generosity during this competition and throughout the year.”

“Our towns show their kindness year-round, but this time of year is especially important to be thankful and give back,” added Lauren Patterson, President and CEO of the New Canaan Community Foundation. “Our sense of competition is hopefully bested by our sense of generosity and community.”

The Youth Community Fund contributed to Darien’s total by selling Turkey Bowl rally towels sponsored by Nola Physical Therapy at the Darien Sport Shop, Vavala’s and Palmer’s. Each year, YCF students identify a group of local nonprofit organizations to invite to apply for funding. After reviewing grant applications, the student philanthropists decide how to allocate funds they’ve raised among the local nonprofits. Rally towel proceeds will help fund the students’ grant funding pool.

Founded in 1951, The Community Fund of Darien plays a significant role in addressing health and human service needs in Darien, Norwalk, and Stamford through strategic leadership and grantmaking. Funding goals prioritize basic needs, self-sufficiency, youth success, and community initiatives. Since its inception, The Community Fund of Darien has distributed over $20 million to local nonprofit organizations and community initiatives.

The New Canaan Community Foundation, founded in 1977, serves as New Canaan's local partner for advice, leadership, and facilitation of charitable giving. Their vision strives for a New Canaan that comes together to address both individual and local challenges, enriching the lives of all community members To-date, the New Canaan Community Foundation has invested more than $14 million in nonprofit organizations and partners with individuals and businesses to achieve their philanthropic goals through donor-advised funds and other partnerships.