A longstanding component of the DCA mission is providing college scholarships to Darien High School (DHS) graduates.

Celebrating our 78th year of granting scholarships, the DCA awards at least $50,000 each year. Since its inception, the DCA scholarship program has provided over $2 million in funding to more than 1,300 DHS graduates. The DCA is the largest provider of scholarships to DHS graduates — with funding for both new and returning college students — and the only DHS scholarship program offering recipients the opportunity to reapply for all four years of college.


Scholarships are based on both merit and need, and are funded by a wide range of DCA programs – from our Thrift Shop to our Academic Lecture Series to house rentals — and with the support of donations including those of our named scholarship sponsors. Congratulations to all our recipients! See a complete listing of our class of 2019 awardees and sponsors.

“By awarding me this scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus on the most important aspect of college, learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help students achieve their goals, just as you have helped me.”
—2018 Scholarship Recipient

The Darien Times article “DCA Scholarships Assist with Rising Tuition Costs” provides additional detail on DCA scholarships, and the significant need in our community. To hear what some of our recipients have to say about the impact of a DCA scholarship, please see our Testimonials page.

The scholarship program, including interviews and selection of recipients, is managed by the dedicated volunteers on our Scholarship Committee: Kate Larson (Co-chairman), Susan Vogel (Co-chairman), Joan Barksdale, Kristen Harnisch, Ulla Kremer, Judi Linskey, and Pat van den Broek.

For more information, please contact [email protected].

Click here to see our DCA Scholarship brochure.

DCA Recognizes Named Scholarship Sponsors

‘Scholarship Stories’ event celebrates 77 years of DCA scholarships

The DCA recently hosted an evening reception thanking the local businesses, families and foundations who sponsor named college scholarships through the DCA.

Our college scholarship program for Darien High School (DHS) graduates is a longstanding philanthropic tradition, now in its 77th year. The DCA is the largest provider of scholarships at DHS. This past spring, the DCA awarded over $60,000 in scholarship grants.

The highlight of the evening was remarks from three past DCA scholarship recipients, representing a range of ages and backgrounds. These speakers included Althea Perley (DHS Class of 2011), Tricia Rogers Prokop (DHS Class of 2001) and Susan Harrington Hamill (DHS Class of 1976). Rogers, who now has her doctorate and teaches at the University of Hartford in their doctoral physical therapy program, said “As a college student, I was grateful for the DCA scholarship. As a professor who is working with graduate students who are academically successful but may be struggling with the costs, I have an even greater appreciation for the support I received.”

Several special guests were recognized during the evening as well, including DHS Principal Ellen Dunn.

Click here to read the full press release about our event.


The DCA Bird Sanctuary is open to the public and provides nearly four serene acres of shelter, food, water, and nesting sites. Walk a well-laid meandering trail, learn from educational features, and appreciate the bird-attracting beauty of native plantings. Our sanctuary is child-friendly and entirely fenced-in.

The DCA Bird Sanctuary was officially opened to the public in the fall of 2014, after several years of extensive work by volunteers clearing invasives, establishing a walking trail, and planting native bushes and shrubs attractive to birds and butterflies.

We invite you to come and enjoy the DCA’s contribution to open space in Darien.

Darien Foundation Grant Provides Continued Support to the DCA Bird Sanctuary

The Darien Foundation has awarded $18,500 to the Darien Community Association (DCA), to fund improvements in the four-acre bird sanctuary located on their Middlesex Road property. These include a pondless waterfall for the birds and butterflies, as well as additional trees, benches and equipment.

This second round of grant funding will improve the sanctuary’s ability to attract birds via the availability of cascading water (now installed), and the new trees will provide additional cover and food. These new features will also enhance the visitor experience, as the sanctuary is open daily to the public to enjoy from sunrise to sundown.

Click here to read the full press release.

“Our class visit was a wonderful experience. The children were able to explore nature in a safe environment which fostered excitement and enthusiasm for the joy of learning. We will be back!”
—Adele Evershed, three year old class teacher, Community Cooperative Nursery School, Rowayton

Enter the Bird Sanctuary
The DCA Bird Sanctuary is on the DCA Meadowlands property, at 274 Middlesex Road in Darien, CT. The entrance gate is located on the right of the back parking lot. Please enjoy the space passively by closing gates and staying on the trail. In the interest of wildlife, dogs are not allowed. If you require a service dog, please contact the DCA office at 203-655-9050, extension 10.

Hours: open during daylight hours except for scheduled weekend events.
Groups: schedule group visits by calling the DCA at 203-655-9050, extension 10.

“Staff and students alike reported that this was such a great and enriching trip for our students. They had the opportunity to learn about nature, as well as explore and enjoy it!”
—Nehemie Moise, Family and Program Director/Social Worker, Horizons at New Canaan Country School

DCA Bird Sanctuary History
In the spring of 2012, the DCA Board of Directors decided to revitalize a four acre section of DCA property to create a bird sanctuary for use by the public. Initiated by Darien Land Trust President Chris Filmer, Darien Beautification Commission member Sig Buchmayr, and DCA board member Cindy Ryan, the work effort was supported by a number of volunteers, businesses, and local organizations. An extensive planning period began in which conservation and birding experts were consulted, Audubon Connecticut was commissioned to perform a detailed habitat assessment and offer recommendations, and soil sample analyses were conducted. The hard work then began, as safety tree pruning was carried out, invasive plants were removed, trails were cut and laid, a deer fence was installed, and the first of many native shrubs were planted.

This project would not have been possible with the support of The Darien Foundation, who provided a grant for the deer fencing, native plants, and other features. Continued grant funding in 2018 has supported numerous enhancements to the sanctuary, including a water feature and additional trees.

Click here to see our DCA Bird Sanctuary brochure.

Click here to see our invitation for preschools to visit our DCA Bird Sanctuary.


Founded over 60 years ago, the Blue Notes are a philanthropic group of women who volunteer their time and talent for a good cause. Singing music from Big Band to Broadway, the group performs in four-part harmony for senior centers, assisted living venues and for a variety of audiences throughout southern Fairfield County. The Blue Notes are directed by Dwayne Condon and meet on Tuesdays from September to May. The DCA is proud to have the Blue Notes as part of our philanthropic mission.

For information on membership in the Blue Notes and ongoing auditions, call the DCA at 203-655-9050 extension 10, or Karol Lee Trismen (203-656-1044), Martha Hathaway (203-855-5791) or Robin Salmans (203-656-0296) or email us at [email protected].

Blue Notes

Martha Hathaway, Karol Lee Trismen

Robin Salmans

Marilyn Tjader

Trouping Scheduler/Booking Manager
Mary Flynn & Lisa Alter

Musical Director/Accompanist
Dwayne Condon

Lisa Alter
Nancy Brewer
Carol Coutts
Deanna Davis
Mary Flynn
Dona Garnett
Elaine Harding
Martha Hathaway
Carol Hollyday
Gail Johnson
Jane Kellogg
Sharon Montero
Charity Poth
Nancy Powell
Robin Salmans
Marilyn Tjader
Karol Lee Trismen
Toni Worth
Lucia Zachowski