The Torrington-based Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut has announced a $30 million bequest from James L. Draper, Jr., a former U.S. Army colonel who died in 2010 at the age of 93, and his wife, Shirley, who passed away in 2000.

The Draper Foundation Fund has been entrusted to CFNWCT, making it the largest single gift in the foundation’s history and more than doubling the size of its endowment. In addition to awarding discretionary grants, the fund will disburse annual grants to nineteen local nonprofits, many of which work on behalf of area youth.

Following a military career that spanned more than twenty years, Draper worked in insurance and real estate and also formed a partnership that ultimately owned and operated twenty-three FM radio stations across the country.

“The Draper Foundation Fund has forever changed the face of philanthropy, both for the Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut and for the twenty communities it serves,” said CFNWCT president Guy Rovezzi. “Additional resources can now be brought to bear on critical local issues, and our community foundation is better positioned to play a leadership role in the region, working across sectors to solve complex problems and maximize impact.”

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