News & Views

$2.5 Million Gift from the Jefferson Family will Support Diversity and Financial Accessibility

New Canaan Country School parents Cathy and Brett Jefferson have made one of the largest gifts in NCCS history, recently pledging $2.5 million to support diversity and financial accessibility for students.
“Our vision is to identify and support outstanding students who do not have the economic means to attend NCCS and afford them the opportunity to pursue the American Dream. We hope that there will be many outstanding Chao Scholars that will benefit from our gift and we are also hopeful that NCCS will benefit from the diversity this program will offer,” said Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson in a letter to Head of School Aaron Cooper.
The gift will create the Chien and Taina Chao Scholarship Fund, named in honor of Mrs. Jefferson’s parents who came to the U.S. to pursue their advanced education, both earning PhDs in chemistry and building successful careers in science. The gift is being made through The Catherine Jefferson Foundation, which Brett and Cathy founded, and, in part, by Hildene Capital Management.

“We are humbled by Cathy and Brett’s generosity and commitment to helping us provide an NCCS education to exceptional students regardless of their family's financial resources,” said Mr. Cooper. “With this transformational gift, we can further extend the impact of the NCCS mission to create an active, joyful learning environment where children are challenged to think deeply, question confidently, and act generously so that they may lead lives of impact and purpose. We are excited to welcome our first Chao scholar this September.”

Country School looks forward to naming additional Chao Scholars next year and beyond. The formal description of the fund can be found below:
Established in 2021 by Cathy and Brett Jefferson P’24,’27, ’29 in honor of Cathy’s parents, Chien and Taina Chao. The income from this fund will be used to identify and support outstanding minority students who do not have the economic means to attend New Canaan Country School.
Cathy and Brett are the parents of three children at NCCS, and they joined the Country School community in 2017. Brett, the Founder and President of Hildene Capital Management, and Cathy have been steadfast supporters of Country School during their time here, and they have given very generously of their time as well. Both Brett and Cathy serve as Annual Fund Ambassadors, and Cathy has served in numerous volunteer roles with the NCCS Parents’ Association.
This donation from the Jefferson family builds on a strong legacy of support from Cathy and Brett, and it will have a profound impact on our students, our families, and our entire community in perpetuity. Country School is profoundly grateful to Cathy and Brett for establishing this scholarship fund, and for the many ways that they strengthen and support the NCCS community - through generous financial support, through their engagement and involvement, and through their thoughtful partnership. 
New Canaan Country School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin and are afforded all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid policies or any other school-administered programs.