Roberta Lee August Fund–a Legacy of Love
The Roberta Lee August Fund–a Legacy of Love, supporting programs that serve mental health initiatives and increase literacy
With donations from herself and 20 community members, Roberta Lee August established the Roberta Lee August Fund to support literacy and mental health initiatives in the Northwest Corner. Described as a gift to our communities, a shepherd of kindness, and a symphony of love, the Northwest Corner recently said goodbye to Roberta Lee August. Roberta passed away in the summer of 2016, leaving behind a community grateful for her life and so much better for her stewardship.
“Roberta knew what mattered in life and lived life to the fullest, sharing her talents, time and treasures,” said JoAnn Ryan,” president and CEO of Northwest Connecticut’s Chamber of Commerce. Roberta was born in Torrington and raised in Litchfield. She earned a an associate’s degree from Cazenovia Junior College for Women, studied the humanities at the University of Connecticut, and graduated from the Williams School of Banking in Williamstown, Mass. She began her banking career as an administrative assistant in the trust department of the Hartford National Bank and Trust Company. Over the course of her 30-year career, she rose to vice president of the Private Clients Group of Connecticut National Bank, retiring in 2001. Roberta was often teased about her boundless enthusiasm and seemingly endless care for others.
Her many friends joked that she worked just as hard or harder in retirement than she had in her career as a banker. This certainly rings true of her dedication to the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation. Roberta played a vital role in the success of the Community Foundation. She was a founding volunteer. In the early years, before the community foundation had staff members, Roberta worked as a banking trust officer, shepherding the Community Foundation’s modest initial resources. For years, she acted as liason between the bank and the Community Foundation. As the Community Foundation grew, Roberta volunteered her time, talents, and resources wherever and whenever they were needed. For more than four decades, she dedicated herself to the Community Foundation, serving as board of directors recording secretary, member of the governance and scholarship committees and Community Foundation ambassador, as well as a trustee to the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation.
Roberta’s love of community, loyalty and generosity did not end with the Community Foundation. She volunteered and served on the boards of countless nonprofits serving the Northwest Corner. In addition to playing key roles in the success of programs to improve lives and strengthen communities, Roberta volunteered as conservator for many elderly and mentally ill community members. Over the decades, Roberta’s dedication was recognized in many ways. She was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary. She was awarded the YMCA Legacy Award, the Wisdom House Award and the Northwest Connecticut Chamber Community Leader Award. Prime Time House named a building in her honor, and Cazenovia College awarded her an honorary doctorate in the humanities.
“Roberta considered all of us her family–community members, nonprofit staff and volunteers and those who benefited from their work–and Roberta loved her family,” said Guy Rovezzi, Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation president.
“Our community has lost one of its finest,” said JoAnn Ryan, “but the legacy of Roberta’s life–loyalty to a fault, generosity that knew no bounds, deep and sincere concern and unconditional love and compassion for others, courage, optimism and grace–remains in our hearts as we honor her life by continuing to steward the many causes she championed.”
Since its establishment, Roberta Lee August Fund has supported:
• book giveaways to Winchester elementary school students
• the enhancement of an electronic health record system for the Torrington Family Service Center
• the purchase of literacy tools and educational materials for children ages 2 through 7 years, as part of the Family Literacy Center at Forbes Elementary School
•the Prime Time Houses WISH Progam and the Rural Mental Health Initiative
An endowed field-of-interest fund, the Roberta Lee August Fund indefinitely supports programs that serve mental health initiatives and increase literacy in the Northwest Corner, two causes Roberta spent much of the last 40 years championing.
Contact your Community Foundation staff at: (860) 626-1245 to discuss your charitable giving options and goals.