Waterford Group Charitable Foundation Donates $2,000 to Thirman L. Milner Elementary School in Hartford

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For Immediate Release
February 14, 2008

Waterford Group Charitable Foundation Donates $2,000 to Thirman L. Milner Elementary School in Hartford

Donation Made on Behalf of Connecticut Convention Center Associates to Fund Nature’s Classroom Program

HARTFORD, CT – Thirty-five sixth graders at the Thirman L. Milner Elementary School in Hartford will be spending a week in Nature’s Classroom this April, supported by a $2,000 donation from the Waterford Group Charitable Foundation.

The donation was made on behalf of associates at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Waterford Group Charitable Foundation is funded in part through voluntary contributions and fundraising efforts by the associates of Waterford Group and its affiliates, including Waterford Venue Services, which manages the Connecticut Convention Center.

“We are very happy to support the Nature’s Classroom program at Milner School this year,” said Mike Costelli, the convention center’s General Manager. “This donation is the result of the generosity of the convention center associates and we are very pleased that it will have a meaningful, local impact.”

According to Lynn Olson, the convention center’s Human Resource Director, the Milner School represents a special connection to the center. Waterford Venue Services employs approximately 300 associates at the convention center, and more than 35 percent are Hartford residents. “Many of our associates live near the school or have children who are students there,” Olson said.

Located on Vine Street, Milner Elementary School is named after former Hartford Mayor Thirman L. Milner – the first African American mayor in New England. Martha Donovan, a sixth grade teacher at Milner, originally contacted the convention center with a letter outlining a request for funds and the benefits of attending a Nature’s Classroom program.

“This is an important program that benefits our students immensely,” Donovan said. “So when our own fundraising efforts fell short, we reached out to the community. Just days before Christmas, the convention center called and said they’d like to make a donation. We are extremely grateful.”

“This is a great example of people outside the Milner community showing that they truly care about our students and that they are worth investing in,” Donovan added. “Organizing the Nature’s Classroom program has been a valuable learning experience of people helping people.”

Thirty-five sixth graders from three classes will participate in the program for five days this April. They will stay at one of 15 sites in either New York or New England. The total cost of the program is $5,000.

About Waterford Group Charitable Foundation
The Waterford Group Charitable Foundation is a private foundation that seeks to support the communities in which associates of Waterford Group and its affiliates live and work. The Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life of others through monetary and gift-in-kind donations, as well as volunteering at various events. Donations are provided to not-for-profit organizations that support health and well-being, youths, arts and cultural activities, and other various community initiatives.

About Nature’s Classroom
A non-profit corporation, Nature’s Classroom is a unique educational experience for students and their teachers, offering the very best in environmental education. Over half a million children and 450 schools have come to view Nature’s Classroom as a solid academic experience. The program has been recognized for excellence by the National Science Teacher’s Association, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the State of Connecticut. Having spent a week at Nature’s Classroom, living and learning together, students develop a sense of community, a confidence in themselves and an appreciation for others that carries over to the school community. For more information, visit www.naturesclassroom.org

About the Connecticut Convention Center
The 540,000-square-foot Connecticut Convention Center is the largest convention facility between New York and Boston, with 140,000 square feet of exhibition space, 25,000 square feet of meeting space and a 40,000 square foot ballroom. The $271 million Connecticut Convention Center opened in June 2005, and is the largest component of the 30-acre Adriaen’s Landing project in downtown Hartford.

Katie Blint, CTCC, 860-728-2605
Martha Donovan, Milner Elementary School, 860-695-4445