Passing along the ‘American Dream’ to those in need

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Passing along the ‘American Dream’ to those in need

John and Ethel Kashulon, husband and wife and longtime residents of Bridgeport, were children of Eastern European
immigrants who came to the United States seeking the ‘American Dream.’


John moved to Bridgeport during the early 1930s to find work among the city’s bustling industry. Ethel was born and raised in Bridgeport. She graduated from Saints Cyril and Methodius Commercial High School, and worked at the Bridgeport Housing Authority for 53 years – its longest-tenured employee. The couple also owned Kashulon’s Market on Sheridan Street in Bridgeport, just a few blocks from Bridgeport Hospital.


“John and Ethel were proud of the life they made in Bridgeport. As children of immigrants, and having lived through the Great Depression, they knew the value of hard work and opportunity,” said Gail Kashulon, John and Ethel’s niece, and trustee of the Kashulon Foundation. “They lived simply, created a nest egg, and through the years their nest egg continued to grow.”


When John passed away in 1996, Ethel, a devout Catholic, retired from the Housing Authority and continued to support the Bridgeport Diocese. At age 93, when Ethel and her broker of 25 years, Martin (Marty) McLaughlin, were discussing estate plans, McLaughlin suggested she start a charitable foundation that would leave a legacy in the community where she and her husband were proud to live and work.

“There is so much need out there,” McLaughlin explained to Ethel, “and you have the means to make a difference in
people’s lives.”


Ethel agreed, and the Kashulon Foundation was born.


Ethel passed away shortly after and never got to witness any of the good work the Kashulon Foundation has done. However, the trustees feel that she and John “are sitting on our shoulders whenever Foundation gifting decisions are made,” said Gail.

“We feel that access to good health care is essential to a person’s quality of life,” said Gail Kashulon, trustee of the
Kashulon Foundation.

The Kashulon Foundation’s mission is to improve people’s lives in a variety of ways, including funding programs that
enhance educational, children’s and cultural opportunities. Ultimately, it is about giving those most in need a helping hand, Gail explained.


That mission led the Kashulon Foundation to support Bridgeport Hospital in 2019. The foundation made a generous grant to the Bridgeport Hospital Primary Care Center, which provides high quality health care and personalized care management services to underserved patients in the Bridgeport community.


“We feel that access to good health care is essential to a person’s quality of life,” said Gail.


In 2020, when COVID-19 struck the Bridgeport area, the Kashulon Foundation again felt a desire to help the hospital.
They helped fund a ventilator for patients needing intensive care, but demand for ventilators was high across the globe. If Bridgeport Hospital could not source a ventilator, the Kashulon Foundation wanted to ensure the hospital received money for any COVID-related needs, as they felt this is what Ethel and John would do.


“It’s about giving people a chance,” said McLaughlin, president,
Kashulon Foundation. “Especially during the pandemic. There
are a lot of people out there who need help