McCoy Family Starts Foundation

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As the son of an Irish immigrant with a 4th grade education, Suffield resident Dan McCoy, was taught the value of hard work, education and lending a hand to those less fortunate.  Both with his work travels as an executive with a Fortune 50 company and his personal travels, McCoy has seen a lot of poverty across the globe.  While he always thought that at some point he would “do something” charitable, the confluence of events and experiences in his personal life not only told him the time was now, but also directed him on a path.   

Recently retired, with a mother and sister who both died within the past few years, McCoy saw time slipping away.  “You expect a parent to predecease you, but when it’s a sibling, it hits home that your time is limited.”  But what to do and where to do it?  The “what” became starting a family foundation and the “where” came as a result of his eldest son, Nolan, spending six months post-college living and volunteering with Shooting Touch, an organization using basketball to connect with youth in rural villages in Rwanda.  There, until COVID hit and he had to leave Africa, he saw how the cycle of poverty perpetuates itself.  Children whose parents could not afford school supplies did not receive an education and many children who were in school spent the lunch period outside as they couldn’t afford to pay for lunch.  Unlike the social welfare system in the United States, the government does not provide a safety net to ensure children in school receive nutrition.  While volunteering, Nolan came to be friends with Muhoza Emmanuel, a community advisor and Rwandan citizen who worked for the same organization.  And, when Dan and Nolan climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, they became friends with their guide for the trek, Gama Endrew, a Tanzanian citizen who now also works for the McCoy Family Foundation as a community advisor.

Desiring to provide funds that would be transformative and meet the McCoys’ goal of helping others to help themselves, in consultation with their two community advisors the McCoys are funding school lunches for children in schools around Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, and partnering with the Chris Long Foundation to build wells to bring fresh water to rural villages in Tanzania. (New Englanders may remember Long from his Super Bowl year with the Patriots.)  

Things that we take for granted are often luxuries in these poor areas. “Women sometimes have to walk several hours each day to bring water back to their homes,” reports McCoy. By building wells to provide clean fresh water, it frees up women to engage in pursuits that can help them economically as well as reducing the illnesses that come from drinking unsanitary water.  Just recently the partnership completed an eight-kilometer water pipeline in Tanzania. 

In keeping with the philosophy of “a hand up, not a handout” Emmanuel, the Rwandan community advisor, has presented the  McCoy Foundation with a detailed economic plan to help youth and women in Masoro, a small village in North Rwanda.  The McCoy’s daughter, Regina, is spearheading the family’s involvement in the plan’s implementation.  The details include job training programs primarily for women and teenage mothers, microloans to establish small businesses and agricultural plantings to both improve nutrition in the village as well as provide jobs.  An important component is that participants are required to pay back the loans that they receive from the program. The plan is in keeping with McCoys’ goals to learn from locals themselves what is needed as well as his belief that education is the route to a better life. 

The McCoy Foundation is an all-volunteer official 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.  Board members in addition to Dan McCoy, President; and Megan McCoy, Vice President;  are Martin Russo, Compliance Officer; Tim Hepp, Treasurer; and Suffield resident Anthony Migliozzi, Financial Advisor.  The community advisors receive a small stipend which is paid directly by the McCoys, so that all contributions to the Foundation go directly to fund the projects. 

At present the Foundation is supplying school lunches to over 1,425 students in seven schools in Rwanda as well as funding a well in Tanzania.  The cost to supply lunch for one student for an entire semester is only $11.32 and contributions to the Foundation are gratefully accepted.  To learn more about the Foundation or to contribute, please visit the website at

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