Initiated by George R. Harris, Esq., and funded by Mrs.
Katharine Russell Lyman and Mrs. Edmund R. Stearns, The
Montclair Foundation was created in April 1979. The founders,
who were shortly joined by Mrs. Virginia Sawtelle, supported
worthy not-for-profit organizations in the Montclair community.
The organization was patterned after other successful community
foundations, such as the New York Community Trust. The founders
soon joined with other concerned Montclair individuals to form a
board of trustees, which has grown in number over the years and
whose commitment to the community has remained steadfast.
After his death in 1992, the Foundation was approached by the
family of Howard Van Vleck as they tried to determine what to do
with his property at 21 Van Vleck Street. Conversations with his
family resulted in their gift of his house and gardens to the
Foundation. The Foundation Board believed the acquisition of the
property was consistent with its mission of enhancing the
overall quality of life in Montclair and its environs and would
help serve other non-profits by offering them the use of the
property. This has proven to be a good decision and the Van
Vleck House and Garden (VVH&G) is now well established in the
community, attracting visitors and volunteers in unprecedented
numbers and offering a lively and respected series of
The VVH&G is managed by the Van Vleck Board of Management, which
has attracted the support of hundreds of volunteers and donors
and established the property as a vital community resource.
Past Grant Recipients