Sarah Donaldson - Southmay D

"Every woman should have a suitable place to live."

Sarah Donaldson
Founder of Southmayd Home 1898

This proclamation laid the foundation for a unique kind of home. In 1889 when one of Sarah’s older friends could not find appropriate living accommodations in Waterbury, and had to move to Meriden, Sarah became adamant about remedying the situation. With $10 of her own money (an extraordinary amount for that time), she opened a bank account to launch what is now Southmayd Home, Incorporated. Then, Donaldson recruited 99 other women to donate $10, while devoting all of her spare time towards raising funds and searching for a potential residence.

The Name

Sarah named the organization to honor Dr. John Southmayd who was one of the early pastors at First Congregational Church in Waterbury.

The First House

In June 1894, after an exhaustive search, Sarah found a quaint one-family house and lot at 885 North Main Street in Waterbury. The Home would officially welcome it’s first tenant, an elderly blind woman wanting to stay in town, on September 26, 1898.

Columbia Boulevard

Sarah led the vision planning and growth of Southmayd Home for well over a decade. She stayed on as an inspiring and active Board member until she passed away in November of 1916 at the age of 83. That same year, the Board bought a beautiful acre lot on Columbia Boulevard for $12,000, upon which they planned to construct a three-story home, which is the home that exists today. The new building opened its doors to 35 residents in 1925.

Southmayd Home Today

The Board of directors has been resolute in continuing additions and upgrades related to home securities, care services, and supporting technologies. Sarah Donaldson would be undoubtedly proud of the passion for philanthropy and dedication the Board has shown for over 120 years.