New Haven Museum to Receive Transformative Gift Through Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
James English as a Young Boy
New Haven, Conn. (June 17, 2022) – The New Haven Museum (NHM) is one of four organizations in New Haven included in a $35 million bequest to The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (The Foundation), the largest grant maker and permanent endowment in its 20-town service area in south central Connecticut, from the estate of New Haven native James (Jim) Dana English. The bequest is the largest outright gift ever received by The Foundation and establishes the James D. English Fund, a permanent endowment that will provide annual support to four area nonprofits with which the English family was very involved and/or was a founding member: Clifford Beers Community Care Center (10%), Neighborhood Music School (10%), New Haven Symphony Orchestra (40%), and New Haven Museum (40%).
Katharine Mace Learned, President of the NHM Board of Directors, notes the historic nature of Mr. English’s bequest. “This is a truly transformative gift,” she says. “Not only will it build upon the strong foundation set by generations of his family; it will allow us to grow and connect in ways not possible before, ensuring that the New Haven Museum remains a vibrant center for exploring the people, places, events, and ideas that shape and define the Elm City.”
“Mr. English was a cherished honorary director-in-permanency and an ardent supporter of the Museum and its mission,” says NHM Executive Director Margaret Anne Tockarshewsky. “For more than a decade, he was also a dedicated volunteer in the Museum’s Whitney Library, where he used his background in library science to index the entire Dana scrapbook collection and make it more accessible to researchers by providing, with his brother Richard, requisite funds to digitize the collection.”
NHM has long been focused on elevating the stories and voices of women and historically underrepresented communities and making collections, programs, outreach, and research more accessible. Mr. English’s gift will allow the Museum to expand and enhance the different ways it creates access to the history, resources, culture, and experiences of New Haven for all of its residents and visitors. “So much of Jim English’s life was devoted to the arts and ensuring access so others may participate.” Tockarshewsky says. “Going forward, we intend to honor his dedication to that worthy goal.” She explains that as his health declined, Mr. English found access to those things he loved most very challenging. “I know he would be pleased that his gift will be used to eliminate barriers to participation and learning—whether you live across the street or across the globe—and to open dialogues with community residents that will result in greater collaboration and co-creation in programs, exhibitions, and outreach, and significant representation in the Museum’s collections.”