December 15, 2011 | last updated June 1, 2012 11:28 am

CT family bequests $20M to New Haven charities

A prominent New Haven family who are descendants of a 19th-century, two-term Connecticut governor has endowed $20 million to fund five New Haven charitable and cultural organizations.

The late Richard L. English and his family bequeathed $20,024,640 to the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the nonprofit said Thursday. The organization said it is the largest bequest in its 84-year history.

Richard English, who died July 11 at age 76, and his family are descendants of former Democratic Gov. James English, who served from 1867 to 1869, and again from 1870 to 1871.

Forty-percent of the available annual distribution from the endowment is earmarked to go to each of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and the New Haven Museum; and 10 percent each to the Neighborhood Music School and the Connecticut Yankee Council Boy Scouts of America.

A second bequest of $50,000 was also made to establish the Richard L. English Fund for Birding Activities to support the New Haven Bird Club, of which he was the longest-standing member.

"This extraordinary gift is a great step forward for community philanthropy in Greater New Haven and a reminder to us all of the powerful role local giving plays in the future of our community," said Will Ginsberg, president & CEO of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

He earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Quinnipiac College in 1961, served in the Army Reserves and retired from the First New Haven National Bank.

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