The DCA is a privately-funded nonprofit that does not receive any financial support from the Town of Darien. For 95 years, we’ve been making our community a nicer place to live, by providing people of all ages a place to gather, give and learn.
At the DCA, we enrich our community in a welcoming, historic setting for lifelong learning, philanthropy, and enjoyment.
We do this in four distinct ways:
- Activities: We offer a wide range of programs, classes and groups — attended by 1500 participants each month.
- Philanthropy: As the largest provider of college scholarships to Darien High School graduates, we award at least $50,000 each year — this year to over 40 students. Our philanthropy also includes our nearly four acre DCA Bird Sanctuary, our contribution to open space in Darien, available for the public to enjoy — and the DCA Blue Notes, our volunteer singing group that performs at senior residences and other venues.
- Thrift Shop: We own and operate the DCA Thrift Shop on the Post Road, providing a much-needed community service. More than 1,800 customers purchase items each month — and the shop is all volunteer-run.
- Beautiful Venue: We offer our historic home and garden to rent for your own private or corporate event — whether it is a wedding, birthday celebration, nonprofit fundraiser, or corporate meeting.
On August 2, 1923, 20 community-minded women met at what was then Royle School, to organize what they called the Darien Improvement Association. They continued to meet at members’ homes and their stated objective was to “keep the town neat, especially the public highways,” and “obtain receptacles for rubbage.” They soon expanded to influence the care of trees and the railroad embankment, to work for the home delivery of mail, to support the town library, and to take a strong interest in the public schools. During these years, the first interest of the DCA was helping where there was a need. This philanthropic commitment continues today, as we celebrate more than 75 years of providing college scholarships to Darien High School graduates. In 1929, the Darien Improvement Association was incorporated, and two years later, the organization formally changed its name to the Darien Community Association, Inc.
The DCA Thrift Shop was founded in October 1931 to supply local women much-needed employment during the Depression: washing and mending donated clothing, and repairing household articles, to be sold at very low prices. Today, over 50 volunteers run the Thrift Shop, located at 996 Post Road. Meadowlands, our historic home and property on Middlesex Road, was purchased in 1950. It was originally built as a Victorian, but was redesigned to its current Regency style in 1933 by its fifth owner.
From another era
Over the last 95 years, the DCA has been guided by 38 different volunteer Presidents, whose wisdom and foresight has proven invaluable.
The DCA has been enriching the Darien community for 95 years with stimulating programs, lectures and classes, philanthropy including scholarships for Darien High School graduates, our volunteer-run Thrift Shop on the Post Road, and by providing a beautiful setting for private parties and special events. Working at the DCA provides the opportunity for enthusiastic and community-minded individuals to support this vital mission, in a small office setting within a lovely historic estate, set on eight acres of property.
We have no job openings at this time.
The 2018-2019 DCA Board of Directors is made up of a diverse group of hard working, committed volunteers.
Terrie Van de Graaf
Finance Vice President/Treasurer
Program Vice President
Property Vice President
Directors at Large
Sig Buchmayr, Caroline Burke, Chris Filmer, Wanda Forlivio, Diane Halvorsen, Susan Hamill, Judi Linskey, Elizabeth Moley, Deb Suckow
For more information on board membership, please contact Sue Hayes, Nominating Chair, through the DCA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-655-9050 extension 10.
Since its inception in 1923, the DCA has relied on our hardworking volunteers, who enjoy contributing to our mission, and impacting the Darien community in a positive way. Over 150 volunteers support the many facets of our organization.
Below are some of our current volunteering opportunities:
DCA Thrift Shop
Volunteering at the Thrift Shop only requires a commitment once a week. Volunteers help tidy clothing, price items, create in-store and window displays, and sell to customers. If you are interested in joining our team, please contact Carol Smith at 203-655-4552 for an application.
DCA Bird Sanctuary
The DCA Bird Sanctuary committee is focused on the continued maintenance and upkeep of this unique community asset — nearly four acres of woodland, open to the public. This includes removing invasive plants, maintaining the trails, installing new native plantings, pruning/weeding, etc. There is no specific time commitment required to volunteer — the committee is thankful for a few hours of help when possible. Please contact the DCA at email@example.com to help.
Greenhouse Group Plant Sale
The Greenhouse Group is always looking for volunteers to help with their May Plant Sale, their annual fundraiser for the DCA. The Plant Sale takes place on the Friday before Mother’s Day. Volunteering opportunities include helping to set up the event, working the sale, or breaking it down. Please contact the DCA at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help.
Activities, Programs and Groups
If you are interested in the planning and development of any of the activities, programs or groups listed on our website, please contact us at email@example.com, and we’ll be happy to put you in touch with the appropriate person.