After raising $8,660 in donations for her successful campaign for Ward 7 alder, Abigail Roth ’90 LAW ’94 announced last week that she will divide her remaining campaign funds — which amount to $6,025.05 — among four charities that serve the New Haven area.
The nonprofits Roth selected — Liberty Community Services, New Haven Land Trust, New Haven Reads and Artspace — will each receive gifts of approximately $1,500. Roth chose the organizations because they do “high-impact work in critical areas for New Haven, including addressing homelessness, education, the environment and the arts,” according to a Nov. 7 email sent to campaign supporters.
“The Board of Alders tends to support incumbents, so I wanted to fundraise a lot to show I had support behind my candidacy,” Roth told the News. “Since I had been alder of Ward 7 before and the incumbent was not very present at board meetings, many constituents were happy I was running.”
Lukas Moe, the current Ward 7 alder, took over Alberta Witherspoon’s position in July when she dropped out of the race and gave up her seat in July. Roth beat a write-in candidate with 419 votes to 8, according to the Nov. 7 email.
Roth said the missions of the charities she chose correspond to many of her campaign promises. She will work to combat homelessness and support New Haven’s green spaces and funding to education and arts, she explained.
Josh Foley, staff attorney at the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission, said Roth had several options when it came to disposing campaign money in the allotted 90 days after the election. Often candidates give their money to ongoing political campaigns, veterans’ funds or 501(c)(3)s, like the charities Roth chose, Foley explained.
“In my four years here, I have never received a donation from an alder election,” said Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10, the executive director of the New Haven Land Trust. “But, we are honored and excited to be given the donation.”
The organization plans to use the money to fund its “Growing Entrepreneurs” job program, which hires New Haven high school students and develops their professional skills in fields related to food and agriculture. The donation could pay one student’s salary for 27 weeks, Elicker explained.
Liberty Community Services plans to use Roth’s donation to support a broad range of agency actions. The organization, which aims to end homelessness in the greater New Haven area, provides housing services, local outreach, day programming and a breakfast service.
“When a community member steps up to make this kind of gift, it really makes a big difference,” Executive Director of Liberty Community Services Jim Pettinelli said. “The gift will not only financially support what do we as an organization, but it also shows support to our employees and especially those we serve.”
Roth hopes to be a “strong advocate for residents and businesses in Ward 7 and work hard to address challenges and take advantage of opportunities for all of New Haven,” she explained in the Nov. 7 email.
She told the News she looks forward to tackling issues of housing and traffic safety, as well as the task of hiring a superintendent for the city.
Besides her role as alder, Roth works at the Yale School of Medicine as the director of communications for medical education.
“It is helpful to have an understanding of Yale when I hear different issues and concerns that come up in the city because Yale is such a large entity in New Haven,” she explained.
Roth was elected on Nov. 7 and will take office Jan. 1, 2018.
Skakel McCooey | firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction, Nov. 17: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Abigail Roth was the director for medical education. She is in fact the Director of Communications for Medical Education. It also incorrectly stated that Lukas Moe dropped out of the race. Lukas Moe took over Alberta Witherspoon’s position in July when she dropped out of the race and gave up her seat in July.