Scholarship awards of $300,000 benefit students at three Fairfield County community colleges

Jun 23, 2015

New Canaan, CT June 19, 2015— Fairfield County’s Community Foundation awarded $300,000 to fund scholarships for deserving students at Housatonic Community College, Norwalk Community College and Naugatuck Valley Community College through the Leonhardt Scholarship Program. Awards were accepted by the three college presidents, Dr. David Levinson, Dr. Paul Broadie, and Dr. Cocco De Filippis, in attendance at the Community Foundation’s annual celebration luncheon at the Roger Sherman Inn in New Canaan.

From left to right: Juanita James, president and CEO of the Community Foundation; Steven Ferriera, past Leonhardt Scholarship recipient; Dr. David Levinson, president of Norwalk Community College; Senator Jim Himes; Dr. Paul Broadie, president of Housatonic Community College; and Dr. Cocco De Filippis, president of Naugatuck Community College.

The Leonhardt Scholars Program was established at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation by local philanthropist Anne Leonhardt in 2003 to provide four-year renewable scholarships to graduating students at the sixteen public high schools in Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford. The Leonhardt Scholars Program exemplified Anne’s belief that the cities’ young people should have access to a college education, regardless of their income.

From 2003-2012, The Leonhardt Scholarship Program awarded over $1 million to 143 graduating students. The remainder of the funds, totaling $100,000 for each college, will now boost educational opportunities to deserving students attending those educational institutions.

Dr. Broadie, president of Housatonic Community College, said: “Scholarships offer opportunities to my students that they never thought were possible. Many are first generation college students, and affording tuition is an incredible challenge.” Dr. Levinson, president of Norwalk Community College said, “Community colleges are the gateway to achieving dreams for many students in our region.” He continued, “Scholarships like the Leonhardt Program make the difference for students at our schools and keep them participating, learning, and succeeding.”

Juanita James, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, said: “The Leonhardt Scholarship Program has enabled bright, talented yet financially disadvantaged high school students a valuable opportunity to achieve their educational goals, and we are thrilled, in partnership with Anne Leonhardt, to now lend vital financial support to community college students.” James continued, “Enabling young people in Fairfield County to Thrive by 25 is a goal at the Community Foundation, and scholarship funds such as the Leonhardt Program offers incredible support to this goal.”

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation manages one of the largest scholarship programs in the region for both graduating high school seniors and full-time students already enrolled in college. Since 2006, $3.6 million in scholarships have benefitted 1,600 students in Fairfield County and throughout the state.

The Community Foundation promotes philanthropy as a means to create change in Fairfield County, focusing on innovative and collaborative solutions to critical issues impacting the community. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Community Foundation is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards, and has awarded over $185 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. For more information, visit