Saturday, May 08, 2021

Person of the Week

Price Sparks Support for Guilford Community Fund

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Adrian Price, president of non-profit Guilford Community Fund (GCF), stands at the familiar saltbox house at the corner of Whitfield and Boston streets, reminding all Guilford neighbors it’s time to support GCF’s annual appeal. Photo courtesy of the Guilford Community Fund

Adrian Price, president of non-profit Guilford Community Fund (GCF), stands at the familiar saltbox house at the corner of Whitfield and Boston streets, reminding all Guilford neighbors it’s time to support GCF’s annual appeal. (Photo courtesy of the Guilford Community Fund )

For several months each year, non-profit Guilford Community Fund’s (GCF) familiar saltbox house resumes its Town Green address on the corner of Whitfield and Boston streets, reminding all Guilford neighbors it’s time to support GCF’s annual appeal. For more than 60 years, the appeal and all GCF efforts have been powered by volunteers like GCF President Adrian Price.

“We raise funds for 22 agencies in town that concentrate their services on our neighbors and friends,” says Adrian, who took on the role of GCF president in January. “We want to be able to help the organizations that are helping Guilford people.”

Community members can direct each tax-deductible donation to a specific organization among the 22 agencies, or donors can ask GCF to direct their donation to where it is needed most. A list of all member organizations supported annually by GCF, together with a description of services, is shared at www.guilfordcommunityfund.org, where tax-deductible donations of any amount can be made online.

The 22 agencies supported by GCF submit an application requesting funds before the appeal gets underway each year, and rely on receiving as much of that requested amount as possible, which is dispersed by GCF each May.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to give each agency exactly the funds they are requesting. We’re trying to fulfill their needs, 100 percent,” says Adrian.

To that end, each GCF annual appeal starts fresh, from dollar one, every year.

“We don’t carry over the funds from one year to the next. We distribute everything we get each year, so it’s 100 percent funded,” Adrian explains.

In recent years, GCF has raised an average of $120,000 per year. While GCF has been faced with the limitations of the pandemic, Adrian and the board have not lowered the bar on the expectations for GCF’s annual appeal this year. In fact, Adrian is swinging for the fences and hopes to reach GCF’s ultimate goal of raising $150,000.

“Our goal each year is raising $150,000. It’s a tough goal to meet, but we’re trying new things to make that happen,” he says.

GCF got a fast start on its annual appeal in November, mailing out the community-wide appeal at Thanksgiving time (about a month earlier than past years).

“We’ve been trying to do the fundraiser over a longer period of time because it’s a lot tougher these days to get funds,” says Adrian, adding the board is also open to creative ideas to help reach the goal.

For example, GCF launched a joint project in January with a local small business, Get Lit Candle & Company, as announced at the GCF Facebook page (@guilfordcommunityfund).

“It’s a small, women-owned company born out of the pandemic,” says Adrian. “Normally in February, we have a fundraising dance, and we couldn’t do the dance this year, due to restrictions on social distancing. So the board voted to incorporate the Get Lit Candle & Company into a fundraising effort to raise funds in lieu of the dance. And now, we’re continuing to offer the candles.”

If you haven’t already, you can buy GCF’s signature scent Ocean Rose candle via links at the GCF Facebook page or at a couple of downtown neighbors to the GCF saltbox house on the green: Cilantro Specialty Foods at 85 Whitfield Street and Page Hardware & Appliance Co. at 9 Boston Street.

Another creative twist applied by Adrian and the GCF board to bolster fundraising in a time of COVID-19 was pivoting to find a way to run a revised version of GCF’s annual Bill Rosa Memorial Golf Tournament in September 2020, instead of taking a year off.

“We were limited to 100 golfers this year, due to the COVID restrictions of the state, when we normally would have about 140. So it did limit the amount of money we were able to raise this year,” says Adrian, who thanks everyone who was able to support the 2020 tourney in its downsized form.

While it’s a challenging time, Adrian is grateful for the hard work and creative energy of the GCF board, which has also been recently revitalized with some new members filling vacancies that have opened up.

“We were very low on board members, and we were fortunate to have some people recently step up in the community to join our board,” says Adrian, adding, “we’re still looking for two more members to fill out the group.”

Adrian says prospective board members are welcome from all backgrounds to offer their time and talent, although, he notes, “the most important thing you can bring is creativity and some energy. We’ve been getting some great ideas from these new members, and just kind of running with them as they come up. We’re trying to look for alternative ways to develop our fundraising activities and change them with the times.”

And, while GCF has been around for more than 60 years, making sure more residents know about GCF and its mission is something Adrian is also hoping to address as board president.

“A lot of people in town don’t know we exist, so we’re still trying to make ourselves more known,” he says.

Helping Out in His Community

A Madison native, Adrian has been a Guilford resident since 1993 and, with his current wife Jolene, has a blended family of four children.

A long-serving local realtor, Adrian recently became managing partner at Guilford-based Sunset Creek Realty, where “we try to strive for knowing our neighbors,” says Adrian.

The company was established in 2007 by Adrian’s business partner, Allen Jacobs. Like Adrian, Jacobs is another Guilford resident who steps up to volunteer and lend support to his community.

It was Adrian’s effort to help his community 10 years ago that first drew the attention of the GCF board.

“The Guilford Community Fund invited me to join the board because they heard about my fundraising efforts with the Town Fireworks back in 2011,” says Adrian.

Back in 2011, due to budget cuts, the Town of Guilford couldn’t fund Guilford Parks & Recreation’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display, which costs about $10,000. (Town funding has since resumed.)

As Adrian recalls, “I wasn’t going to have that.” That year, he went on to lead a grassroots “Save the Guilford Fireworks” effort.

“We had one-gallon paint cans at all the stores to collect donations, and my kids gave me the first donations out of their pockets, whatever change they had,” recalls Adrian, who also put the word out to about 500 friends on Facebook.

“It just kind of snowballed from there. Everybody kind of heard what I wanted to do,” he says. “It was just a feel-good thing at the time, because nobody wanted to see the fireworks go away.”

Sure enough, Guilford’s fireworks did not fizzle out in 2011, or in the years that followed. Beginning in 2011, Adrian and those who joined forces with him went on to meet or exceed raising the needed fireworks display budget funds every year for about four years, until the town was able to resume underwriting the event.

Luckily for GCF, Adrian continues to have that spark to succeed in supporting his hometown.

“I’ve always been a community oriented-person,” says Adrian. “I guess it’s just in my blood. I like to help people.”


Pam Johnson covers news for Branford and North Branford for Zip06. Email Pam at p.johnson@shorepublishing.com.

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