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Neil and Louise Tillotson (Photo courtesy of Steve Barba).

Neil and Louise Tillotson (Photo courtesy of Steve Barba).

Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund

Championing the North Country

One of the largest permanent rural philanthropies in the U.S. is strengthening communities and spreading economic opportunity.

Neil Tillotson’s philosophy was simple: “Be humble, be creative and be kind.”


When he passed away in 2001 at 102, he left the bulk of his assets for charitable purposes. His wife Louise established the donor-advised Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation in 2006. The fund is one of the largest permanent rural philanthropies in the country. It is guided by a local advisory committee and distributes more than $3.5 million annually. Since 2006, more than $41 million has been awarded to organizations in Coös County and surrounding regions.

It was a bold strike. And it was an act of creativity and kindness for a region that needed both.

The vision of the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund is “to serve as a resource for the people of Coös County and neighboring communities in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and southern Québec to forge their own pathways to well-being and cultivate a region that thrives.” The Tillotson Fund serves as a stable and consistent source of support for the people of the region to:

  • Create and enhance opportunity;
  • Preserve and uplift the historical and cultural assets that make the region unique;
  • Hold the confidence and capabilities to foster strong communities and healthy rural landscapes.

The Tillotsons had wide interests and global connections. In addition to the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund, the Foundation manages the Louise Tillotson Teaching Fellowship, the Neil and Louise Tillotson Scholarship Fund, the Coaticook (Québec) Region Fund, Hereford Forest Fund, Dixville Cemetery Fund and the Tillotson Guatemala Fund.


Our 2022-2027 Strategic Plan

As the region grows and transforms, the Tillotson Fund will continue to build deep community connection and ensure that the philosophy and legacies of Neil and Louise Tillotson are embedded into the work.

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What We Support

Our Community Investment Framework defines the investment areas of the Tillotson Fund. These four areas are mutually reinforcing, guided by a commitment to equity and informed by community.

We commit to supporting community-identified and community-driven strategies and solutions and we will use all the tools in our toolbox to advance this work including grantmaking, social impact investing, advocacy, convening and partnerships.

  • Individual and family well-being

    Goal: Support individuals and families to meet their essential needs and achieve well-being.

    • Meet essential needs for individuals and families.
    • Strengthen systems of care.
  • Healthy workforce ecosystem

    Goal: Strengthen the capacity of local employers to maintain and/or grow their operations, build and retain a dynamic workforce, stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, ensure business continuity and plan for the future.

    • Attract and retain the workforce.
    • Establish workforce housing solutions.
    • Help companies and employees build skills and systems for sustained success.
    • Link employers and employees to financial supports.
    • Increase access to affordable quality childcare.
  • Environmental stewardship

    Goal: Address the impacts of climate change by investing in mitigation and adaptation strategies, stewardship of natural resources, and efforts that foster human connection to the natural environment.

    • Be good stewards of the land, air, forests, waterways and wildlife.
    • Encourage/support responsible tourism and recreation.
    • Build and enhance sustainable food systems.
    • Promote, sustain and scale energy efficiency, clean energy and green building.
    • Implement climate smart forestry solutions.
  • Resilient communities

    Goal: Support initiatives that build trust, belonging and connection and lead to stronger, more resilient communities.

    • Empower youth.
    • Convene, collaborate, celebrate.
    • Build skills, knowledge and approaches to advance equity.
    • Support community builders and change agents.
    • Revitalize population hubs and preserve cultural and historical assets.
    • Improve civic health.
    • Strengthen municipal capacity and leadership.

Apply for a grant

Each year, The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund awards more than $3.5 million in grants to support economic development, education and community safety net programs that focus on the people in Coös County, NH and communities in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont and the MRC De Coaticook in Québec, Canada that share a border with Coös County.

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The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund Advisory Committee


Steve Barba, Cumberland, RI

Hannah Campbell, Colebrook, NH

Tom Deans, South Conway, NH

Emilie Drouin, Coaticook, Quebec

Kassie Eafrati, Berlin, NH


Sara Favreau-Perreault, Coaticook, Quebec

Ben Gayman, Manchester, NH

Ken Gordon, Berlin, NH

Jeremy Knowlton, Littleton, NH – Chair

Beth Newhouse, Gorham, NH


Jim Tibbetts, Manchester, NH

Marjorie Tyroler, Coaticook, Quebec

Courtney Vashaw, Whitefield, NH

Bob Wells, Hopkinton, NH

Linda White, Colebrook, NH

We're here to help

To learn more about the Tillotson Funds and our work in the North Country, contact:

Sonya Salanti
  • Sonya Salanti
  • Director of Tillotson Funds
Phoebe Backler
  • Phoebe Backler
  • Senior Community Partner, Tillotson Funds
Jean Clarke
  • Jean Clarke
  • Tillotson Funds Manager