The Silverthau Fund Focuses on the Poor

The Silverthau Fund, which was originally designated

as a source of milk and coal for the poor, now supports the more modern "material needs of the poor in New Haven" such as food and shelter. It has supported nonprofits throughout Greater New Haven since 1941.

Simon and Emily Silverthau arrived in New Haven in the early 1850s and had eight children by 1870. Caroline, born in 1854, was one of three girls in the family. By 1878 the family had established a small jewelry shop on Orange Street, 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. The family prospered and, like the business, moved successively from Oak Street to more comfortable New Haven neighborhoods, and finally to East Rock. Caroline was the "female head of household" for her siblings and performed the domestic duties that made it possible for the others to be in business.

When she died in 1941, Caroline Silverthau became the seventh donor to The Foundation. 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 or 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 things as food and shelter and has supported such organizations as: New Haven Home Recovery, Christian Community Action, Columbus House Emergency Shelter, Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, Master's Manna, and the Connecticut Association for Human Services.

If you would like to help those less fortunate through an endowment fund, please email Sharon Cappetta or call 203-777-7071.