CONCORD, N.H. (PRESS RELEASE) – Neil and Louise Tillotson made the North Country their home. And their legacy is helping make it a better home for others.
2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund, which has awarded $34 million in grants in Northern New Hampshire, Vermont and Southern Québec for community and economic development efforts aimed at helping to revitalize the region.
Throughout October, the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund will sponsor free community events across the North Country and in Vermont and Québec — from pancake breakfasts to concerts — to celebrate the Tillotsons’ legacy of generosity and the good work it makes possible. (Full listing below.)
“The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund is very much part of the fabric of our community and our county,” said Berlin mayor Paul Grenier. “We are very fortunate that we have them.”
Neil Tillotson built numerous companies that employed thousands of people in the region and far beyond. When he died in 2001, he left the bulk of his assets for charitable purposes. In 2006, Louise Tillotson created the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The fund is one of the largest permanent rural philanthropies in the country, and is positioned to support the region in perpetuity.
In 10 years, the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund has made hundreds of grants — and the Tillotsons’ legacy is apparent: small businesses are getting support and creating new jobs, access to health care is secured and improved, young children are getting high-quality early childhood education and a new system is in place coordinating comprehensive services for those children and their families, leadership development programs for adults and kids are strengthening communities, arts venues are refurbished and thriving, natural resources are protected — and so much more.
“These investments represent the promise that Neil and Louise Tillotson made to their beloved North Country,” said Richard Ober, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. “A promise of stronger communities and a thriving economy so every resident has the opportunity to succeed. We are honored to steward the vision of Mr. and Mrs. Tillotson.”
Examples of Tillotson Fund investments:
- Since 2009, the Tillotson Fund has made a $6.3 million investment in comprehensive early childhood education initiatives to improve outcomes for every child in Coös County. Teachers have been trained, centers improved, developmental screens have been standardized and implemented. “We have, as a county, moved forward with increasing quality of early education at a steady pace and in a very comprehensive manner — including not only high-quality materials and more inviting centers, but also our knowledge of how young children learn and grow,” said Sue Cloutier, director of the White Mountains Community College Early Childhood Development Center in Berlin. The Tillotson investment, she said, means that “We really are a united county when it comes to early childhood education and healthy families.”
- Tillotson-funded leadership development programs — including the Coös Symposium, Youth Leadership Through Adventure and the Community Practitioners Network — are enhancing community and economic development. “CPN brings people together in a network so they can work together to change the community,” said Brendan Prusik, a forester with the UNH Cooperative Extension in Lancaster who took part in the program.
- The Tillotson Fund has invested $5 million in business development that has helped create new businesses and jobs and increased the flow of tourist dollars into the region. “The result is that we are seeing a strengthening of the existing businesses of the region and even some significant expansions,” said Jon Freeman, executive director of the Northern Community Investment Corporation. “There is a building diversity of employment opportunities for the people of the region, and these are the direct result of the investments that the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund has made.”
Free community events
All are invited to a series of free community events celebrating Neil and Louise Tillotson’s legacy of generosity. All events are presented in partnership with businesses and organizations that have benefited from Tillotson Fund support. Please reserve tickets in advance where applicable.
Sunday, October 2, 8-11 am
Free pancake breakfast with the Whitefield Lions Club
Mount Washington Regional Airport, Whitefield, NH
Join the Whitefield Lions Club for an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet of pancakes, sausage, OJ and coffee. A great opportunity to connect with friends old and new.
Learn more at www.whitefieldnh.org
Tuesday, October 4, 7-9:30 pm
Free performance by the Outside Track
Kaufmann Theatre at the Tillotson Center, Colebrook, NH
One of the world’s top Celtic bands will perform songs, tunes and dance from Scotland, Ireland and Cape Breton. Brought to you by The Great North Woods Committee for the Arts.
Learn more and to reserve tickets at www.tillotsoncenter.org
Thursday, October 6, 7-9 pm
Free entry to Foresta Lumina
Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook, Québec
Foresta Lumina is a night-illuminated, multimedia trail that wanders through the Parc de la Gorge. Free entry for residents of the M.R.C of Coaticook, Québec; Coös County, NH; and Essex County, VT. Please bring your ID.
Learn more at www.forestalumina.com
Saturday, October 8, 1-10 pm
Free entry to Les Amis du patrimoine
Bring the family and enjoy a full day of activities including a poetry walking tour and concert at this culture and heritage center.
Learn more at www.amisdupatrimoine.qc.ca
Wednesday, October 12, 5-7 pm
Author visit and free book giveaway
Lunenburg Elementary School, Lunenburg, VT
Join the Children’s Literacy Foundation and New Hampshire authors Jon and Pam Voelkel. Each child in the audience will get a free book and refreshments will be served.
Learn more at www.clifonline.org
Thursday, October 20, 5-7 pm
Free gallery exhibition of local artists’ work
WREN Makers Studio, Berlin, NH
Join us for opening night and enjoy fine handmade crafts by local artists. We will raise a toast at 5:30 pm to open the exhibit, with refreshments provided by local vendors from the Berlin Farmer’s Market.
Learn more at www.wrenworks.org
Saturday, October 22, 10 am-1 pm
Free walking tour with lunch
Canaan Community Forest, Canaan, VT
Join a local forester, a high school teacher and students from Canaan schools for an informational walking tour of Canaan’s community forest and school-run sugarbush. Lunch will be provided by April’s Maple.
Learn more at www.canaan-vt.org
Sunday, October 23, 2-4 pm
Free public skate
Notre Dame Arena, Berlin, NH
Bring the family and your skates and head to the Notre Dame Arena for a free public skate. Complimentary rentals are available.
Learn more at www.notredamearena.org
Tuesday, October 25, 7-11 am
Free cup of coffee
White Mountain Café & Bookstore, Gorham, NH
Learn more at www.whitemountaincafe.com
Thursday, October 27, 7-11 am
Free cup of coffee
Polish Princess Bakery, Lancaster, NH
Learn more at www.polishprincessbakery.com
For more information on the Tillotson Fund, please visit www.nhcf.org/tillotson.
Read our 10th Anniversary Brochure by clicking on image below.
About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation was created in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire, and is dedicated to strengthening communities across the Granite State. The Foundation manages a growing collection of 1,700 philanthropic funds created by generous families, individuals and businesses, and awards $32 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation invests charitable assets for today and tomorrow; works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving; supports critical work happening in New Hampshire communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.