Wilton's George & Carol Bauer Honored by Norwalk Museum

Their commitment to building healthy communities cuts across every project they touch," Stepping Stones Museum for Children said in an announcement.

Carol Bauer and George Bauer (Photo: Stepping Stones Museum for Children))
Carol Bauer and George Bauer (Photo: Stepping Stones Museum for Children))
Wilton philanthropists George and Carol Bauer, "whose generosity has shaped numerous youth initiatives," have been awarded a 2014 Stepping Up for Children Award from the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk.

Also receiving the award are the Connecticut Commission on Children; Elaine Zimmerman, executive director of the Connecticut Commission on Children; and George A. Coleman, chairman of the Connecticut Commission on Children.

"The Stepping Up for Children Awards recognize individuals, nonprofit organizations or companies that demonstrate a steadfast commitment to improving and enriching the lives of children and families," the museum said in a Monday news release. 

This is how the announcement described the Bauers and their philanthropy:

"George and Carol Bauer have been a powerful philanthropic force in the Fairfield County community and far beyond.

"When George and Carol first met in St. Louis, he was attending Washington University on scholarship, an opportunity that opened up new worlds for him, and she was serving as president of the Baptist Student Union at Harris Teachers’ College. 

"They both acknowledge that ‘giving back’ was an ingrained family value, and the two have spent a lifetime passing forward life-changing opportunities. 

"The Bauers care deeply about the future of children and, for years, they have volunteered their time and money to help better the lives of many youths.

"In 1989, they founded the Bauer Family Foundation, funding an array of causes -- many related to children and teens. At Norwalk Hospital, their philanthropy is legendary.

"The Bauers helped establish The Bauer Center for Emergency Care and the Jeffrey Peter Bauer Newborn Intensive Care Unit as well as endow the Carol Bauer Nursing Scholarship Fund. Near to their hearts is their work with the 'I Have a Dream' program in South Norwalk.

"During the last decade, the Bauers’ generous support of Stepping Stones Museum for Children has resulted in many enrichment opportunities for local families and schools.

"The Bauers have funded such major initiatives as the creation of the award-winning Healthyville® exhibit and the 2010 museum expansion. Their commitment to building healthy communities cuts across every project they touch."

The Bauers and the other recipients will be honored at the museum’s Kaleidoscope Ball on Saturday, April 5.  

Here's part of the Stepping Stones Museum announcement about the awards and the ball:

Featuring the theme “Growing Healthy Children, Healthy Communities” which celebrates the museum’s commitment to expanding its innovative statewide children’s health and wellness initiative, the 2014 Kaleidoscope Ball balances whimsy and sophistication in a way that only Stepping Stones can.

This adults-only affair benefits the museum’s Open Arms accessibility initiative, which makes it possible for every child to enjoy the Stepping Stones experience regardless of financial, language or special needs barriers.

“Every child has the potential to be successful, but it’s up to our community to make sure they have access to the right tools,” said Rhonda Kiest, executive director of Stepping Stones.

“The Stepping Up for Children Award recipients are leaders in the community making an important difference in the lives of all children. The Connecticut Commission on Children, Ms. Zimmerman, Mr. Coleman and the Bauers have all demonstrated a long-standing commitment to supporting quality educational experiences throughout Connecticut that are key to unlocking a child’s potential and helping them succeed throughout their lives,” she said.

The Connecticut Commission on Children is an agency of the Connecticut General Assembly charged with assessing, recommending and promoting public policies in the best interest of children.

The Commission’s work cuts across government, private and nonprofit agencies, philanthropic organizations and families in order to “bolster child outcomes.”

Elaine Zimmerman, the executive director of the Connecticut Commission on Children, has devoted her career to developing and promoting model policy for children and families in health, safety and learning.

An expert in trend analysis and public will, she excels in moving initiatives forward to maximize public interest and community partners for policy.

Ms. Zimmerman has been at the forefront of setting model policy in support of children. Her work with state leaders includes design of law in school readiness, early reading success, anti-bullying, children and disaster, children’s behavioral health, home visitation and anti-poverty law. 

She guided legislation to establish Connecticut’s Blueprint in Reading and has helped lead literacy programs and initiatives.

Ms. Zimmerman is recognized for the strongest parent leadership and family civics model in the country, for which she received the Good Housekeeping Award for Women.

At the center of Ms. Zimmerman’s work is the critical role that community plays in preparing children for their future.

George A. Coleman made a powerful impact during his 24-year tenure at the Connecticut State Department of Education that will be felt by the state’s children for generations.

He came to the Department as an early childhood educator to effect high-quality education for all and served in a variety of leadership capacities, including Interim Commissioner of Education.

Throughout his professional life, Mr. Coleman has shown a tremendous dedication to early childhood education.

As chief of the Bureau of Early Childhood Education and Social Services, he helped create one of the nation’s premier early childhood education systems.

Though he retired in 2011, Mr. Coleman still serves on numerous boards and chairs the Connecticut Commission on Children.

About George and Carol Bauer

About the Kaleidoscope Ball

The museum’s annual gala on Saturday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m., is an elegant affair for adults featuring cocktails, a seated dinner, dancing and an opportunity to bid on unique auction items.

The Kaleidoscope Ball will bring together hundreds of museum friends, community leaders and corporate partners from throughout Fairfield and Westchester counties in support of an incredible cause.

Event proceeds benefit the museum’s Open Arms initiative, which makes it possible for every child, family and school to enjoy the museum experience regardless of financial, language or special needs barrier.

The Kaleidoscope Ball is sponsored by the Foster Family Fund at the Visionary level, the BeFoundation, the Daphne Seybolt Culpepper Memorial Foundation, Inc., Anne and Herb Gullquist, Pepperidge Farm and Pitney Bowes at the Innovator level and First County Bank, General Growth Properties, Purdue Pharma and Service Management Group at the Explorer level. Media support is provided by Moffly Media and WSHU Public Radio. 

Fountainhead Wines & Distillations and Keno Graphics are providing in-kind support. The event is co-chaired by Doon Foster and Marlene Battista.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org/kb or call 203 899 0606, ext. 292.


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