Fund honors charitable work of local couple

reporter photo

A Southington couple who supported local charities during their lifetime will be memorialized with a fund managed by the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain.

The Robert and Lauretta Hopko Memorial Fund was created by the couple’s three children to carry on their parents legacy of supporting local causes, in particular education, the arts and veterans.

Robert Hopko, who died in 2011 at the age of 81, served in the Korean War before working as a meat cutter for over 40 years. Lauretta Hopko was a paraprofessional at William M. Strong Elementary School — which has a scholarship in her memory — for over 25 years. She died in 2019 at 91.

“Bob and Lauretta were hard-working and lived their lives for their children, making many sacrifices to provide a better future for them,” the foundation said in an announcement of the establishment of the fund.

“They also were incredibly generous and passionate about many charitable causes and believed that it was important to give back to the community.”

The foundation manages over 200 charitable funds for causes in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. Donor-advised funds like the Hopko’s are tailored for those who “wish to actively participate in the grantmaking process,” according to the foundation website. Daughter Kathy Hopko said her family felt the foundation was the best partner for the memorial fund.

“A charitable donor-advised fund seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so,” she said in the fund announcement. “Our philanthropic focus is in Southington, where the Hopko family has longstanding roots. We chose the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain largely due to its proven record of charitable fund management, which has spanned decades.

“Donor-advised funds also provide an opportunity to involve future generations in philanthropy, enabling our parents’ legacy to positively impact the community for years to come.”

Her family’s support of Southington Community Cultural Arts also aided in the founding of the center’s Hopko Performance Gallery. The family also established the Robert & Lauretta Hopko Merit Scholarship over a decade ago.

The fund’s creation comes as the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain is celebrating its 80th anniversary this month. Since 1941, the foundation has awarded over $25,764,000 in grants to the community and more than $3,095,000 in scholarships.

“The Foundation is extremely grateful to the donors and volunteers who have guided and supported them over the last 80 years,” the foundation said in a statement. “Your time and contributions have not only helped its endowment grow from $3 million in 1990 to over to $60 million today, but you have also allowed us to be even more impactful throughout the region and beyond.”

dleithyessian@record-journal.com203-317-2317Twitter: @leith_yessian


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