Who We’ve Helped

The Umbrella Club was established over 37 years ago as a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization dedicated to providing compassion, support and financial assistance to families and children in the community where our help makes a difference. Over the past 35 years, the Club has donated over $2,750,000 to families and children who would have otherwise slipped through the net provided by assorted governmental and societal agencies that, for various reasons, were unable to provide necessary assistance.

Limited to 50 members, who meet monthly to evaluate and award funding to deserving candidates, the Umbrella Club’s activities are purposely low profile. The members respect human dignity and understand that a quiet helping hand can make all the difference in the world. Each member in the Umbrella Club freely donates their time, energy and expertise. There is no payroll. Exclusive of marginal operating expenses of some 5%, the remaining 95% of all funds raised is earmarked to assist our recipients.

To support these donations we hold three yearly events: a Spring Golf Outing,
a late Summer Beach Party and a Winter Car Raffle.

  • Last year’s Raffle recipient was Kayla Mendoza. Kayla who is from Stamford, has Macular Degeneration at the young age of 16. Macular Degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. This disease usually only affects people that are much older. We gave her $10,000 to help pay for eye treatments not covered by insurance to hopefully slow the progress of the disease.

  • Tajmani Winston, a 16 year old suffers from Retts Syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by normal early growth and development followed by developmental regression. Tajmani is confined to a wheelchair and lives in Bridgeport with her mother, Dwanda, her father, Shannon Sr., and her brother Shannon Jr. She attends St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services School in Trumbull. The Club presented Tajmani’s family with $10,000 at the 2015 Winter Car Raffle, which they expect to use for specialized home equipment, additional speech therapy and a down payment on a wheelchair accessible van.

  • Chad Chlebowski was the Umbrella Club’s 2014 Winter Car Raffle recipient. He is a 5 year old from Fairfield that has PMD also known as Null syndrome. At birth, his body didn’t produce the protein that supports Myalin which is the insulator between nerve endings and the brain. It caused severe nerve damage which has affected his motor skills. Like most of the families that we help, they are struggling to get their insurance company to pay for much needed therapies: PT, OT and speech therapy. They also need help in making the house more handicapped accessible – wider doorways etc. The Club donated $10,000 to assist them in converting their house and pay for therapies.

  • Brooke Tartaglia was the Umbrella Club’s 2013 Winter Car Raffle co-recipient of a $5,000 donation and the night’s co-honoree. Brooke is a 6 year old from Bridgeport, CT who was born with Cerebral Palsy and Global Developmental Delays. The money she received will go towards paying for physical therapies to help Brooke walk and have more stability and balance. David Cabanillas was the other co-honoree and also the recipient of $5,000. David is a 7 year old boy from Bridgeport, CT who was born with Infantile Spasms and has been diagnosed with Autism and Neuro-sensory hearing loss. The money the Club raised will help pay for speech therapies that are required 5 days a week and not covered by insurance.

  • Jeffrey Polonia was the Umbrella Club’s 2012 Winter Car Raffle recipient of a $10,000 donation and the night’s honoree. Jeffrey is a 13 year old boy from Stamford, CT who was born blind, without a nose and a deformed palate. The Umbrella Club donated $10,000 to Jeffrey and his family in hopes that he can undergo specific procedures in an effort to increase his quality of life. Juliana, his mother views The Umbrella Club as “Angels from Heaven”. She is hoping that they can use the money for an eye transplant so that someday he’ll see. Jeffrey himself gave a very moving speech of gratitude to the attendees and all of the members of The Umbrella Club who were present.

  • We had two recipients of our 2011 Winter Car Raffle: Sebastian Hernandez- a 7 year old boy from Norwalk was diagnosed with Leukemia. He recently underwent (2) eight day rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at Sloan Kettering. The Club donated $5,000 to assist his family in travel and related costs and various insurance co-pays. Ephraim Tice-a 4 year old from Greenwich has Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS), an extremely rare auto immune disease. Ephraim has gone through chemotherapy as well as monthly treatments at Stamford Hospital. The Club’s $5,000 donation will help his family with their high insurance deductibles as well as some of their travel expenses as they go to Springfield, Illinois to see their son’s specialist.

  • We completed our 5 year $250,000 pledge in 2012 to help fund the Yale Pediatric Eye Care Center.

  • In the Spring of 2012, we committed a $300,000 Capital Gift to Stamford Hospital’s new Pediatric Emergency Department. We just completed our final installment at our annual “Endless Summer on the Sound Beach Party” event held at Woodway Beach Club on September 11, 2016.

These are just a few of the activities in which we have proudly participated. We believe they are just the beginning of an expanded mandate to reach out to even more needy designees.


To nominate a family, child or organization, please click here.

Holiday Greetings From Those We Have Helped

The Umbrella Club thanks you for making a difference!