The Silverthau Fund

Est. 1942 by Caroline Silverthau.

Silverthau Company Receipt
The top of a receipt from the S. Silverthau & Sons business in New Haven. Image from Foundation archives.

Simon and Emily Silverthau arrived in New Haven in the early 1850s, Jewish emigrants from Bavaria in search of a new life. The couple had eight children by 1870. Caroline, born in 1864, was one of three girls and five boys in her family. By 1878 the family had established a small jewelry shop on Orange Street in New Haven, CT and over the next decade the Silverthau men built up the business by adding new functions, improving the retail location, and revising the name.

Brothers Philip and Abraham, the salesmen, sold jewelry and silver in the region, traveling as far as Derby. When her parents were no longer living, Caroline remained the central caregiver for her siblings and performed the domestic duties that made it possible for other family members to operate the family business.

When she died in 1941, Caroline Silverthau became the seventh donor to The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and her bequest was the largest to The Foundation at the time. Her bequest, which identified New Haven Bank NBA as trustee, designated the Silverthau Fund as a source of milk and coal for the poor. This bequest later became a good illustration of The Foundation's legal flexibility, once coal came to be replaced by gas and oil for heat and milk came to be distributed through schools.

The Silverthau Fund is currently broadly interpreted to support, "material needs of the poor in New Haven." Today it is used for such thing as food and shelter and has supported such organizations as the Diaper Bank, New Reach, Christian Community Action, Columbus House, Beth-El Center, Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, Master's Manna, Liberty Community Services, Hannah Gray Home, Community Action Agency, and the Connecticut Association for Human Services.

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Caroline Silverthau Fund