Attorney Weinshank Guides Distributions for Notable Foundations

Marilyn Monroe and Richard Widmark in a promotional image for Don't Bother to Knock (1952)

Richard Widmark and Marilyn Monroe in a promotional image for the 1952 movie “Don’t Bother to Knock.”

Notable charitable foundations guided by Cramer & Anderson Partner Art Weinshank distributed nearly $200,000 in support so far this year to a wide range of nonprofits and public service organizations—with more assistance still to come.

Attorney Weinshank manages the philanthropic legacy of the late Academy Award-nominated actor Richard Widmark as Vice President of The Jean Widmark & Richard Widmark Foundation, Inc.

The foundation’s annual giving for 2020 totaled $23,550, led by a $5,800 donation to the Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation (full list at the bottom).

The Persbacker Family Foundation, for which Attorney Weinshank is a Director, distributed more than $100,000, including $40,000 in giving to Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach (full list at the bottom).

Among its past support, the Persbacker Family Foundation was instrumental in aiding the formation of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, based in Danbury. In addition to serving as a Director, Attorney Weinshank facilitated creation of the foundation.

Attorney Weinshank was the force behind the creation of The Lawrence J. Portell and Natalie D. Portell Foundation, Inc., which distributed $52,000, including $20,000 each to RVNAhealth (former the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association) and the New Milford Hospital Foundation (full list at the bottom).

Among its notable initiatives, the Portell Foundation has provided funding for new Steinway pianos for UConn School of Fine Arts’ Music Department as part of an All-Steinway School initiative.

Additionally, Attorney Weinshank is Chairman of the Kermit & Patricia Adler Foundation Inc., formed by the late Kermit Adler, a former creative director for Lord & Taylor, and his wife. Food banks in Litchfield County are receiving the foundation’s 2020 donations.

Publicity photo of the cast of the television program The Tonight Show as it prepared to celebrate 1963 with its new host, Johnny Carson. From left: bandleader Skitch Henderson, Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon.

Bandleader Skitch Henderson, left, with Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon in a publicity photo of the cast of “The Tonight Show” as it prepared to celebrate the arrival of 1963.

The famous bandleader Skitch Henderson, and his wife, Ruth, also entrusted Attorney Weinshank with management of their foundation, the Lyle C Skitch and Ruth Henderson Foundation Inc., centered on the couple’s former farm estate in New Milford.

Thank you notes sent to Attorney Weinshank reflect the vital nature of support from these foundations, no matter the dollar amount.

Community Culinary School Executive Director Dawn Hammacott wrote, “The [school] provides life-changing experiences for program participants while feeding our hungriest community members. Our students come to us for many reasons, but all have one thing in common—the hope for a better life. Your generosity makes their hope a reality by allowing us to continue our important work while changing lives in the process.”

Located in St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Milford, the school offers culinary training and job placement to unemployed and underemployed adults 18 and older interested in starting a new career in the food service industry. Food produced in classes is distributed to the hungry through the New Milford Food Bank, serving up to 150 households weekly.

Janice Wiggins, Executive Director of Renewal House in Danbury, wrote, “Your support enables us to offer the benefits of arts therapy to the program’s participants. In this time of challenge for all of us, the arts offer an important resource for stabilizing and healing lives that have been significantly impacted by trauma. Thank you for being a partner in the success of so many.”

“It’s my honor to be able to guide the charitable giving of these outstanding foundations,” Attorney Weinshank said. “In addition to assisting organizations important to the special people and families that established the foundations, we have the privilege of helping very deserving nonprofits in our communities that are experiencing dramatic need because of the impact of the coronavirus.”

Cramer & Anderson Partner Art WeinshankAttorney Weinshank, Senior Partner of Cramer & Anderson’s Estate, Trust, Elder Law and Probate Administration Department, has been instrumental in envisioning, creating, guiding and managing many influential charitable funds and foundations, for which he annually oversees hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions each year.

Amid his philanthropic efforts, Attorney Weinshank also has guided significant growth of the firm’s Estate, Trust, Elder Law and Probate Administration Department, including the opening of a new office in Ridgefield to expand the firm’s business into Lower Fairfield County.

To learn more, see Attorney Weinshank’s profile page. He may be reached at (860) 355-2631, or by email at aweinshank@crameranderson.com.


The Persbacker Family Foundation made the following distributions:

  • Western Connecticut Health Network – $20,000
  • Bright Holidays, Inc. – $10,000
  • Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach – $40,000
  • Hugs Across the County of St. Johns, Florida – $10,000
  • Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association – $10,000
  • Town of New Milford, Department of Social Services – $2,000
  • Camella’s Cupboard – $2,000
  • Loaves & Fishes of New Milford – $1,000
  • Kent Community Fund – $2,000
  • New Milford Community Ambulance – $1,000
  • Community Culinary School of Northwestern Connecticut – $500
  • Town of Washington, Washington Community Relief Fund – $500
  • Town of Ridgefield, Department of Social Services – $500
  • Epic Cure, Inc. – $2,000
  • Feeding Northeast Florida – $2,000

The Lawrence J. Portell and Natalie D. Portell Foundation, Inc.
made the following distributions:

  • New Milford Community Ambulance – $1,500
  • Kent Community Fund – $2,000
  • Loaves & Fishes New Milford – $2,000
  • Camella’s Cupboard – $2,000
  • Town of New Milford Social Services – $2,000
  • New Milford Hospital Foundation – $20,000
  • Ridgefield VNA – $20,000
  • New Milford VNA – $1,500
  • Community Culinary School of Northwestern CT – $500
  • Shelter of the Cross Renewal House – $500

The Jean Widmark & Richard Widmark Foundation, Inc.
made the following distributions:

  • Alzheimer’s Association of Connecticut – $500
  • American Cancer Society – $500
  • The American Film Institute – $1,000
  • UConn Foundation-Sch. of Fine Arts.(Stein.Inst.#1) – $2,000
  • Lake Forest College – $2,500
  • Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation – $5,800
  • Roxbury Land Trust – $500
  • Derby Historical Society (expand 1762 program) – $1,000
  • The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp – $1,000
  • Minor Memorial Library, Roxbury – $500
  • Brady Center to Prevent Handgun Violence – $1,000
  • New Milford Food Bank – $1,000
  • Southern Law Poverty Center – $1,000
  • New Milford Visiting Nurse Association – $1,500
  • Women’s Center of Greater Danbury – $500
  • New Milford Community Ambulance – $1,000
  • American Diabetes Association – $500
  • Animal Welfare Institute – $500
  • ASAP – $250
  • Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association – $1,000