Frances C. Doolittle Fund Supports New Haven Youth

Frances C. Doolittle established a fund by bequest in 2000 to support programs benefiting children and youth in the Greater New Haven community. The Fund has supported the NHTV internship program which enables students to learn about media production.

One young person went to work for MTV. Another for ESPN and A&E mobile networks. A third as a news anchor on CBS 2's weekend morning show from New York City.

And all interned at North Haven Community TV (NHTV), says Walter Mann, Executive Director of the public and governmental access television station which broadcasts across two Connecticut counties.

NHTV runs a high school internship program for students from Northford, North Branford, North Haven and Wallingford. Students learn about media production and fulfill a graduation requirement to complete 40 hours of community service.

"I've seen young people start here who didn't know what they wanted to do in life and realize that they liked it so much that they wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting or a related media field," says Mann.

Mann is talking about people like Chris Bennett. Chris majored in Communications with a concentration in video production at Southern Connecticut State University. He minored in Journalism.

Chris interned at NHTV while in high school. "The internship program not only helps you learn how it works in the real world, you get used to dealing with all types of people too," says Bennett.

The NHTV internship program is one of the many organizations that have been supported with a grant from the Frances C. Doolittle Fund.

"My mother was raised in Westville," says son John Doolittle. "After graduating Vassar College , she went to work at Sloan Physics Lab at Yale, where she met my father." When The Doolittles moved to Hamden, Frances left Yale to raise their three children. In her spare time, Frances liked to collect antiques, play Bridge and go boating.

"My parents were unique individuals," says Doolittle. "Dad was a brilliant engineer and Yale graduate, and Mother skipped two grades in elementary school, and worked her way through Vassar. Both received honors upon graduation. Both were always interested in helping others succeed in life."

It seems befitting that distributions from Frances' Fund would be used to support the NHTV internship program. Frances' husband Franklin Malcolm Doolittle was an entrepreneur in the nascent radio broadcast field of the early 20th century. Born in New Haven in 1893, Franklin built and operated a homemade receiver and spark-coil transmitter by the age of eleven. By 29, he manufactured and sold radio receivers from his small company on Chapel Street. Among his many accomplishments, Franklin broadcast the first football game (Yale vs. Princeton), was President of Connecticut's first commercial radio station - later known as WDRC (for Doolittle Radio Corporation), broadcast the first commercial FM station in the nation from Meriden Mountain and received a US patent for his radiotelephony work.

"Dad was elected to Sigma Psi, the honorary Engineering Society at Yale, and years later was honored by becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Radio Engineers, a status given to few, for his pioneering achievements in development of radio broadcasting," says Doolittle.

Since it was established, the Doolittle Fund has awarded nearly $200,000 in grants. Other nonprofit grant recipients include: Children in Placement of CT for support of its efforts to move abused and neglected children out of the Connecticut court system and into safe, permanent homes; Aid for Orphans Relief Foundation to support the purchase of hygiene products, over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements and vitamins for New Haven high-risk youth attending Boys and Girls Village programs in Milford; Connecticut Storytelling Center to support monthly storytelling sessions to West Haven Head Start classrooms as well as family nights through the West Haven Family Resource Center; and Guilford Center for Children to support cost associated with the installation of a new preschool playground.

You can help Greater New Haven youth, too, through a permanent fund that benefits your local community for generations. To learn more, please contact Sharon Cappetta at or 203-777-7071.

Please make sure to select the fund in the dropdown below.