Norfolk Foundation has three inter-linked areas in which it particularly will concentrate: Improved linkage between all of Norfolk’s major institutions and trail networks; Establishment of Norfolk as a major center for arts and culture in the region; Provide support to, serve as a useful link among, the various nonprofits active in Norfolk.
The Norfolk Foundation is dedicated to contributing to the vitality and sustainability of the town of Norfolk, Connecticut, particularly in relationship to the town’s natural setting and multiple artistic and cultural attractions.
Norfolk Foundation was founded in the Fall of 2015 with a view to focusing and consolidating a number of separate but often overlapping conversations that had emerged in the wake of the Town’s publication of the 2009 Plan of Conversation and Development.
These conversations unfolded in part in more or less formal and public settings, including the Town’s Economic Development Commission and City Meadow Committee, in part within various local non-profits like the Community Association and the Coalition for Sound Growth, and at a variety of informal gatherings interested in such matters as town planning, support for the Yale Summer Schools, and so on.
What bound them altogether was a shared concern for finding ways to a vital and sustainable town that would both draw upon and further extend Norfolk’s strong sense of place, history, and community.
BOARD & STAFF
The Norfolk Foundation was certified as a non-profit corporation in the State of Connecticut in November 2015, and is still in the early stages of its formation. It expects to have a fairly small board (about ten members) that will meet quarterly; the Foundation will have a small permanent staff.
Joe Hurst, President
Vacant, Vice President
Libby Borden, Treasurer
Steve Melville, Secretary
Dawn Whalen, Executive Director
FROM THE PRESIDENT
Dear Friends of Norfolk, From time to time someone will ask me, “What exactly is the Norfolk Foundation?” In a nutshell, here’s what I tell them:
We all remember how downtown Norfolk looked three years ago. Looking around Station Place, a visitor’s first impression was dominated by two empty buildings sporting large “For Sale” signs in their windows and little pedestrian activity. Norfolk Foundation’s (NF) immediate focus became the physical downtown: how it could be improved, how to bring people to it, and—most important—how to sustain it.
Always building on Norfolk’s unique and fundamental strengths, our mission from the beginning has been focused on three key areas: improve the linkage between downtown and all of Norfolk’s major institutions; bring people together by providing a useful link among the various nonprofits active in Norfolk; and establish Norfolk as a major center for arts and culture in the region.
In the spring of 2016, we acquired, renovated, and put into service both vacant downtown buildings. Now, 6 Station Place (the former hardware store) is leased to the Berkshire Country Store, and 2 Station Place (the former pharmacy) operates as the Norfolk Hub. The portion of 2 Station Place that has been a hair salon for decades continues as the Norfolk Hair Station. These two long-term leases with dedicated small business owners bring much to our community in support of our business district.
We have also partnered with the town on a variety of its projects, for example, offering short-term funding and fundraising support for the City Meadow project, as well as engaging in the recently completed Downtown Charrette process. In addition to providing a number of modest grants to a range of town organizations, we have also provided funding, staff, and logistical resources for Weekend in Norfolk. At Yale’s request, NF funded an ongoing preplanning study for improvements to the Art Barn on the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Estate and transitional support for the Yale Summer School of Art program.
As part of our programs, we held the first annual Haystack Book Talks Festival this past October, inviting writers to Norfolk to engage in conversation on a wide range of topics to celebrate ideas and discourse. The festival met with great success, and planning for next year is already underway.
There are two new programs for 2019. The first is a three-year engagement with the Yale Summer School of Art to bring a variety of speakers to Norfolk for a summer art lecture series on “The Ethics of Color.” The second, in coordination with a variety of Norfolk groups and organizations, is to explore the creation of a unified mapping resource for the town.
The Norfolk Hub, a program of NF, provides not only a physical landing spot for the wide range of nongovernmental organizations in Norfolk but also a gathering place for the whole community. NGOs can use Hub services to assist in advancing their mission. Occasional workshops and seminars, offered though our Mondays at the Hub series, are intended to draw people to the Hub. The Hub is also a natural first stop for visitors to learn about the town, view maps, and explore information about local attractions. The open main space will always be free and available to town residents; it’s also perfect for individual work and small gatherings. The two private offices allow those who work from home, who are in need of inspiration, or who need access to high-speed Wi-Fi to have an alternate workplace with an office-like atmosphere. The conference room is perfect for occasional—scheduled or casual—impromptu meetings.
Thanks to all the folks who have helped us help you by putting ideas into action. This is just the beginning. Can you imagine Norfolk in three years’ time? Mountain bikes parked outside a bookstore, music students rehearsing on the Village Green, children with ice cream cones on the City Meadow stairs . . . . Thank you in advance for the many ways you will help us keep our mission moving forward.
Please don’t hesitate to stop by the Hub and give us your ideas. We want to hear your thoughts for keeping Norfolk sustainable into the future. You can always speak with one of our officers and directors, listed on the front side of this letter, or you can go to our website, norfolkfoundation.net, to learn more.
We wish you and yours a joyous and prosperous new year!
Joe Hurst, President
Norfolk Foundation, Inc.