New Canaan bests Darien in ‘Most Generous Town’ competition
For Darien and New Canaan this past Thanksgiving, more was at stake than football bragging rights. The two perennial rivals also competed for the title of “Most Generous Town,” in the second year of a fund-raising competition between The Community Fund of Darien and the New Canaan Community Foundation.
This year’s winner was New Canaan by a margin of $1,084. Collectively, the two charities raised over $150,000. Last year, the combined amount raised was over $70,000, with Darien winning by a slim margin of $1,040.
What began last year 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, held the Tuesday following Thanksgiving — evolved this year into a full-fledged week of giving.
The “Most Generous Town” competition began at the Turkey Bowl and ran until midnight on Giving Tuesday, with the winner announced Wednesday.
By highlighting the competition at the widely-attended football game, the two charities hoped to draw more attention to their mission of distributing money to where it is most needed in the greater community.
“It’s helping us to build awareness, because we are about human needs, and supporting your community, and that’s what we want to get across to the general public, because a lot of people don’t know us,” Janet King, executive director of The Community Fund of Darien, said.
Both charities say that money raised from the competition will go directly to local nonprofits.
In addition to bragging rights, New Canaan won the right to proudly display a large trophy, emblazoned with the name of the winner and topped with a golden turkey figurine.
Yet despite the competitive history between the two towns, both charities say that this was a contest with no real loser.
“We just want to help the community, and if we can bring more dollars into either community fund, we’re supporting each other,” King said.
“Everyone is winning in this competition,” Lauren Patterson, president and chief executive of the New Canaan Community Foundation said. “Because either town is going to be distributing these dollars to nonprofit organizations locally doing great work. So everything from senior services, to the arts, to education, to health — these dollars help go directly into the community where it is needed.”
“I think it’s incredible timing to be around Thanksgiving,” she added. “A lot of people think of Thanksgiving and football together, but Thanksgiving also brings to mind a whole lot of warm feelings about being together with people and community. It felt like a really nice way to sort of play off of a really fun rivalry between our towns. No matter who wins on the field or in this competition, we know that we are generous communities, and can we show that in a great way together.”