Joe & Kay Calvanese Foundation History
The contributions made to the community by Joe and Kay Calvanese live on today through the work done by the Calvanese Charity Foundation.
After the untimely passage of Kay Calvanese in February of 1982, her family established a scholarship in her name to be given to a Southington High School student who was pursuing a nursing career. The scholarship has been given each year since its inception in honor of Mrs. Calvanese.
Although well known in Connecticut as a successful businessman and entrepreneur, Joseph Calvanese Sr. never forgot his Southington roots. Mr. Calvanese was a native of Southington born in November 1920. He graduated from the former Lewis High in 1939. During World War II he served with the U.S. Army and earned the Bronze Star. After the war Joe returned home to Southington and started a landscaping business with his Dad and brother Anthony. After his retirement from Calvanese Nursery Joe founded The Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville. Friends and associates remembered him as a good role model who enjoyed hard work and giving back to the Southington community. He was a member of the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72, The VFW post 9766 and the Elks Club 1669. He was a longtime member of the Isabella Council 15, Knights of Columbus. He was on of the founders and directors of the former Citizens National Bank in Plantsville. From 1977 to 1979 he was a member of the Town Council and for many years he served on the Park and Recreation Board.
Mr. Calvanese liked collecting antiques and obtained unusual items that he would incorporate in the design of the Aqua Turf Club. For example, the wooden alleys of a near by bowling facility damaged in a flood were transformed into a dancing area inside one of his banquet halls. The beams of a historic building that was going to be demolished were used in the construction of a building at the Aqua Turf Club. What started as a retirement project, a family Swim and Tennis Club, has grown into the widely known Aqua Turf banquet facility. The facility today is owned and managed by Joe and Kay’s sons, Joe and Chris Calvanese.
The man known as the father of the Aqua Turf Club died September 15, 1994 at the age of 73. Upon the death of Mr. Calvanese a foundation was created so money could be raised to fund a broader spectrum of the Southington Community. The contributions made to the community by Joe and Kay Calvanese live on today through the work done by the Calvanese Charity Foundation. The Joe and Kay Calvanese Foundation was granted a 501 (c) (3) status on February 21, 1996 by IRS.
Below is a partial list of some of the first contributions the Joe and Kay Calvanese Foundation has made to the local community:
A brace for a child afflicted with a bone diseaseNursing scholarships (started off at $500.00 and is now up to $1500.00 per student)Employment Development CenterJonathan Briggs fundSouthington Public LibraryGood Samaritan FundLebedowski Memorial (Southington Care Center)Cairns Brothers (helmets for the fire department)Southington Valley Midget Football LeagueSouthington Community TheaterYMCA Campership,Southington Visiting NursesBread for Life Soup KitchenSt. Paul Catholic High School (renovation of science lab)Southington Police Department defibrillators and emergency response radios for cruisers,Handicapped Playscape at Panthorn ParkLandscape at Milldale Passive ParkHandicap ramps at Crescent LakeFunds for Children Entertainment SeriesRamp and plantings for Plantsville Green2 dug-outs for Panthorn Park Girls SoftballPortable StageCalendar HouseYMCA Capital CampaignNorth Center School Homework Assistance ProgramScience Center (outdoor) Derynoski SchoolTrailer for Police Dept. for car seat & bike safety The mission of the Calvanese Foundation is to help the community as a whole. Projects thus far have touched on almost every segment of the Southington Community from the less fortunate, handicapped, and ill, to the senior citizens and youth of the town. Projects, which benefit the entire town, have been funded in part or in its entirety by the Foundation such as IRIS Helmets for the Fire Department, portable defibrillators for the police cruisers, a portable stage for the Parks & Recreation Department, and the YMCA Capital Fund. For a complete list of Grants see the Grants awarded section.