SOMERS EDUCATION FOUNDATION
Supporting Education for our Future
SOME BACKGROUND ON LOU BACHETTI
Lou received his undergraduate and Master Degrees from Springfield College in 1964. In 1973, Lou became President and CEO of Goodwill Industries and led those efforts to support and better the lives of the underprivileged for 32 years. He served as chairman of the Somers Economic Development Commission and was a proud member of the Springfield and Somers Rotary Clubs. He was co-founder and first President of the Somers Education Foundation. He also proposed a $250,000 ten-year goal for the endowment.
Dr. Paul and Lou, both living in Somers and both members of the Rotary got to talking and decided that they wanted to work together to put Dr. Paul’s idea into action. Fortunately, by this time Lou was retired and had some free time to dedicate. He was instrumental in getting the idea into the hands of the right people, of co-writing bylaws (with Mike Parker, JD), of registering with the State of Connecticut, obtaining the 501(c)3 status (non-profit, tax exempt) with the Federal Government and coming up with its first fundraising events.
Lou Bachetti passed away in 2013. but he got to see the endowment reach his 10-year financial goal. In fact, it surpassed his goal, having $310,000 at that time. Everyone that knew Lou always thinks of his generosity, his winning way with people, helping the underdog and for his way of “thinking BIG.”
THE TEAM IS FORMED
Paul was encouraged by friends to present his idea to the Community Partnership Council of which Lou was Chairman. Paul pitched the concept, structure and financial plan. Lou immediately grasped the idea and its potential and signed on to make it happen. The two became a team.
Many, many meetings on the formation were held in people’s kitchens, at the Warming House at Worthington Pond Farm and Gardens and anywhere else they could find. Many long hours were spent figuring out how the foundation should work and in setting goals. Some of the folks who contributed to the formation include Lou Bachetti, Paul Salva, Dan Roulier, Evan Plotkin, Tim Keeney, Tom Mazzoli, Mike Parker, Terri Henderson, Amanda Vesce, Kathy Devlin, Zanis Gazis and Mark Maniscalco.
The foundation had only a few rules for membership:
In early 2004, the original Board Members were sworn in by Town Clerk, Ann Logan at a ceremony in the Warming House at Worthington Pond and Gardens and the Somers Education Foundation officially came into being. When asked about his idea, Paul is very modest and puts the project in these terms: “I built the skeleton and Lou put the meat on the bones.”
IN THE BEGINNING
Many people have volunteered countless hours to SEF’s formation and growth over these years but none more than Dr. Paul Salva and Mr. Louis Bachetti.
SOME BACKGROUND ON DR. PAUL SALVA
Paul grew up in Enfield. He earned a BA in Chemistry from The College of The Holy Cross in 1976 and a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Connecticut. He then lived in Texas for 6 years, initially in Austin working as a Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Texas (UT) and then earning an MD at Texas Tech in Lubbock. While in Texas, he came aware of the Permanent University Fund (PUF) which provides very specific funding to UT and Texas A&M. He learned about its formation (land grant in the 1880s), purpose and its success. The major takeaways were that the land could never be sold and any profit created off the granted land could never be touched. Only a percentage of the income earned from the principle could be spent on capitol improvements, never on salaries or benefits.
After Texas, Paul spent 3 years at the Univ. of Arizona in Tucson for a pediatrics residency and then 3 years at Indiana Univ. Medical Center in Indianapolis for pulmonary fellowship. While in Indiana, he traveled the state on scores of medical transports and again learned about Community Foundations in the smallest of towns and how they supported town libraries along the same concept as the PUF in Texas. Today, he practices in the Springfield area as a pediatric pulmonologist. Once settling in Somers in 1994 with his wife Ann and 3 children who successfully matriculated through the Somers school system K through 12, Paul had an idea for creating what has become the Somers Education Foundation based on what he had seen in Texas and Indiana, to supplement the public school system for projects that wouldn’t be funded through its usual budgeting process. Paul proposed the structure, its permanent endowment concept and the first-10-year financial plan which was to award 50% of whatever money came in per year and the other 50% going to build the endowment which was invested in a broad spectrum of mutual funds. After the first 10 years, the endowment would be tapped for no more than 4% of a rolling 5-year average. He started presenting the concept to groups in Somers in 1996. However, it wasn’t until he met Lou Bachetti in 2002 that the SEF became a reality.