For the Weismans, Community is Family

May 16, 2024

Pictured above: Fred and Joan Weisman during an AmeriCares Airlift Benefit trip to the Dominican Republic in 2011. The Weismans were strong supporters of AmeriCares’ work, including health and housing initiatives in Bridgeport.

In the early years of their marriage, Joan Weisman and her late husband Fred relocated frequently around the country. From Kansas City to Phoenix to Las Vegas to Stamford they met neighbors who expanded their perspectives about the challenges communities face. For the Weismans, their communities became their extended family—and an inspiration for social action.

The upbeat duo rolled up their sleeves wherever they settled, organizing dinners for people experiencing homelessness, serving on nonprofit boards, and supporting families during the holidays.

“My husband had incredible energy,” Joan says fondly. “And it was an important example to set for our children.”

To achieve the same level of impact through philanthropy as they did through volunteering, Joan and Fred connected with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation 30 years ago and opened the Fred and Joan Weisman Fund, a donor advised fund. Joan also became a founding donor of the Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls.

Joan Weisman, pictured top right at our 2023 Fund for Women & Girls luncheon, is a founding member of FWG.

“Over the years, we got valuable advice on investing in charities,” Joan says. “We relied on the Community Foundation’s thorough research so we could give wisely, get exposed to different nonprofits, and learn about our community’s needs. We found the right places to donate and felt good about it. Because what’s this world like if you can’t help other people?”

Since Fred’s passing, Joan has continued their legacy of caring. A decade since starting the first social action committee at her Stamford retirement community, she’s raised astonishing sums for Alzheimer’s research and cancer treatment through playful fashion shows and lively silent auctions and adult carnivals. “Fundraising is fun!” Joan proclaims.

To learn more about donor advised funds at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, contact Sara DeRose, Director of Development & Philanthropic Services, at or (203) 750-3200.