“What would we do without Founders Hall?” We hear this rhetorical question from people who have relocated to Ridgefield to start new lives here, and from recent retirees who are re-defining themselves. Perhaps most poignant is when it’s asked by those in the midst of major life challenges who find respite and support here. If you’re a member, you may have asked this question yourself. You know firsthand how transforming Founders Hall can be.

Over 3,600 people now engage in more than 300 academic, fitness, creative, and social programs here each year. These innovative opportunities are available with no membership fee and extremely low class fees. Many of our programs have no fee at all. But Founders Hall is not free.

This year, it will cost almost $1 million to keep our doors open and our programs thriving. To fund that, we rely mostly on donations from members. Our heavily subsidized program fees cover just one-third of what the programs cost us to provide. The town’s annual donation amounts to just over 10% of our operating budget. Our businesses and residents are quite generous, but they also support many other worthwhile organizations in town. Notably, income from fund-raising events and grants is down this year. That’s why your support is more critical than ever. Please support lifelong learning by responding to our year-end appeal letter with a donation. That way, you will not need to wonder what you would do without Founders Hall.

Founders Hall will be closed on Dec. 25 and 26, and on Jan. 1. Winter semester classes begin on Tuesday, Jan. 2.