Greenwich Mother-Daughter Power Duo: Grace Djuranovic and Cricket Lockhart

Greenwich Mother-Daughter Power Duo: Grace Djuranovic and Cricket Lockhart

At major luncheons and galas in Greenwich, more than likely you will bump into Grace “Graci” Djuranovic or Cricket Lockhart. And more than likely they’ve helped organize the event as committee members or as event chairs. Both women are leaders in Greenwich’s philanthropic community. I’ve had the privilege of being a part of the Greenwich United Way Sole Sisters Luncheon committee and seeing the mother-daughter duo in action with Graci as the luncheon’s co-chair and her mother, Cricket, as the table hostess co-chair. Graci is a wonderful leader with a big heart and is so organized, she can easily put together a luncheon in her sleep. Cricket brings to the table invaluable knowledge as a seasoned leader in Greenwich’s philanthropic world. Both Cricket and Graci took some time off of their busy schedules to talk to Suburbs 101. Here is my interview with Greenwich Mother-Daughter Power Duo, Grace Djuranovic and Cricket Lockhart.

Tell me about yourself. How long have you lived in Greenwich?

Graci: My husband and I moved to Greenwich almost six years ago and both of our kids were born here. My son is 5 and my daughter is 3. It’s been really fun living back in my hometown and now seeing it from a parent’s perspective – it is such a wonderful place to raise a family!

Cricket: I have 5 grandchildren – Graci’s two children and my son and daughter-in-law’s three children, two boys ages 7 and 5 and one grand-daughter almost 11 months. They also live locally. It is so wonderful having everyone so close by!

What are your favorite galas, luncheons and fundraisers in Greenwich?

Graci: I love and am very involved with the Greenwich United Way Sole Sisters Luncheon, the Bruce Museum Gala and Night at the Museum. Other events that I really enjoy are the Breast Cancer Alliance Annual Luncheon, the Greenwich International Film Festival events, the REACH Prep Annual Luncheon, the Beach Ball and the Greenwich Land Trust’s Go Wild and Junior League’s Touch a Truck are so fun for the kids!

Cricket: I would say pretty much the same, although I have not been to the Beach Ball or the REACH luncheon lately.

You are both very active in the local philanthropic community. Tell me more about your involvement.

Graci: I feel very lucky to work with some truly wonderful organizations around town! The bulk of my time is spent volunteering with the Greenwich United Way, Bruce Museum and Greenwich Academy. I just started my second year as a member of the Greenwich United Way Board of Directors and as co-chair of the Sole Sisters Annual Luncheon. I originally started volunteering in the GUW’s Community Investment Process a few years ago which I found to be such an educational experience! Being a part of the Community Investment Process involves months of reviewing proposals from local agencies and visiting program sites to help determine funding levels for programs. It has been such a fantastic way to learn even more about the Town of Greenwich and about so many of the charitable organizations locally.

The Bruce Museum is another organization that I am really passionate about. It is such a gem – really fascinating arts and science exhibitions and amazing educational programs for the kids! I co-chaired the museum’s Night at the Museum Family Benefit for two years, in addition to being on the Development and Gala Committees. And most recently, I co-founded and now Chair the Bruce Contemporaries.

I’m also on the Greenwich Academy Alumnae Association Board. Greenwich Academy is a really special place to me – the GA community and the education I received there empowered me in so many ways and helped show me the importance of women helping each other. It actually ties in so well with the Sole Sisters motto of “Women stepping up to help others step forward.” I’m also currently on the REACH Prep Junior Council, Greenwich International Film Festival Hostess Committee and I’m a member of Pitch Your Peers and a Sustainer in the Junior League of Greenwich.

Greenwich Mother-Daughter Power Duo Grace Djuranovic and Cricket Lockhart

Cricket: My main commitments now are the Greenwich United Way and the Bruce Museum. I was co-chair of Decorations for the Greenwich United Way’s 85th Gala, “Pearls and Prohibition”, and am now a Table Hostess Co-Chair for the Sole Sisters Luncheon. As for the Bruce, I am on the Museum Council, Co-Chair of the Development Committee and am on the “New Bruce” Committee. The Bruce Museum is in the process of more than doubling its size and educational programs. The New Bruce will be a game changer for Greenwich and the surrounding areas in Fairfield County and Westchester County. There will be new art galleries for our permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, the science wing will triple its current size, new and enhanced classrooms, a lecture hall, a larger gift shop, as well as a new café with indoor and outdoor seating, a sculpture garden and more. The new light filled entrance atrium can accommodate large parties! It will be sensational!

Tell me more about the Greenwich United Way Sole Sisters Luncheon

Graci: Kirsten Riemer and I are co-chairing this year’s Greenwich United Way Sole Sisters Luncheon on Tuesday, April 23 at the Greenwich Country Club. The funds raised at the luncheon will support the Greenwich United Way’s leadership efforts in supporting community solutions in the areas of education, self-sufficiency and health. The event consists of a fashion & accessories boutique which opens at 9:30 and the luncheon begins at noon. The boutique will feature 18 fabulous vendors – fashion, home, accessories, things for children, jewelry and gifts. And for 2019, we are so thrilled that our luncheon will feature keynote speaker Lauren Bush Lauren, the Founder and CEO of FEED. She has such a unique and inspiring story and we know our guests will really enjoy hearing her speak about it. And a fun fact is that my mom co-founded Sole Sisters over 14 years ago!

Cricket: The Sole Sisters luncheon evolved out of the 70th Anniversary of the Greenwich United Way Fund Raiser called “Stepping Out”, held at Richards in Greenwich. That kind of a fundraiser was a first for the Greenwich United Way and was a huge success. The group of volunteers running it had so much fun, we decided to stay together. We wanted to have a strong volunteer force ready for the next 5 year anniversary, but also decided to have an annual luncheon with a topically interesting speaker and shopping boutique. This has been a very successful strategy. The motto, “Women stepping up to help others step forward” came out of the name of the original 70th anniversary event, “Stepping Out” and the name of our group, the Sole Sisters. “Sole Sisters” obviously came from the shoe motif.

Graci: Also, as a committee, the Sole Sisters work with Greenwich United Way’s community partners on a couple of service projects each year. This year, we partnered with Kids in Crisis to do a meal train and will also be hosting a shoe and sock drive to benefit Neighbor to Neighbor. We will be collecting new and gently used shoes and new socks from March 24 – April 5. So please donate and drop off your donations at the Greenwich United Way offices at 500 West Putnam Avenue!

Tell me more about The Bruce Contemporaries?

Graci: I am very proud to have co-founded and now Chair the Bruce Contemporaries. The Bruce Contemporaries is a new young members group (ages 25-45) who enjoy insider access to the Bruce Museum – and the exclusive events, educational and networking opportunities the Museum is in a unique position to provide. We host social and educational events throughout the year, including a cocktail party at the Bruce Museum Seaside Center at Tod’s Point, art gallery and artist studio visits, private art collection tours and more.

Graci– What is it like having your mom in your committees? Cricket- What is it like having Graci in your committees?

Graci: I think it’s really fun to be on committees with my mom! So many of our interests align, so we work with each other a lot. My mom also has this great depth of knowledge as it seems like she’s worked on many of the fundraisers in town at one point or another, so it’s really great to be able to pick her brain!

Cricket: It is so much fun for me as well. I am so proud of Graci! She has done so much in her few years here. She also has such a wealth of marketing and organizational skills.

What is your typical day like?

Graci: With two kids in nursery school, my days typically revolve around them – drop-offs, pick-ups, play dates, music and swim classes, reading and lots and lots of LEGOs!

Cricket: Non-stop busy work, it seems. I really enjoy babysitting, though!!

What do you like to do with your kids/grandkids in Greenwich or in the area?

Graci: This area has so many amazing activities for families! We love taking the kids to the Bruce Museum, the Maritime Aquarium, Stepping Stones, Tod’s Point, the Beardsley Zoo, Chelsea Piers, SkyZone – anywhere the kids can run around and have fun!

Cricket: We love taking them to the Bruce Museum, going to their sports practices and games, going to the movies, having them for sleepovers. My husband also built a really wonderful tree house.

What are your favorite restaurants in Greenwich or in the area?

Graci: For date nights, our go-to is Le Fat Poodle! And we love to take the kids out, everywhere from Kira Sushi to BarTaco to Meli Melo to BoxCar Cantina to Sweet Pea’s Bakery and Upper Crust Bagels!

Cricket: We also like Le Fat Poodle and Homestead Inn- Thomas Henkelmann

What has your experience been with schools in Greenwich so far?

Graci: My kids are in nursery school right around the corner from us – we love having a local school that has such a strong and thoughtful preschool program! We haven’t decided exactly where our kids will go in the future, but we moved to our neighborhood in part because of the schools. We are extremely lucky to live in a community with so many excellent schools – both public and private.

Any advice you can give to someone who is new to the area and is interested in being involved in the community?

Graci: When I first moved back to Greenwich, I got very involved with the Greenwich Newcomers. They have a wonderful playgroup and it’s a great way to meet other newcomers to town who also have young children. In terms of philanthropic involvement, Greenwich has so many wonderful non-profits that cover the spectrum of interest areas, but I have found that if you are looking to learn more about Greenwich, the Greenwich United Way has taught me the most about the town, the needs of its residents and about all of its community partners – I recommend it as a great place to start! Also, join Bruce Contemporaries! If you’re interested in the local arts & culture scene, it’s a great way to learn about what’s going on – and you’ll get the chance to go to some really fun events and meet new friends!

Interested in Getting Involved?

Sole Sisters Shoe & Sock Drive: Donate shoes and new socks to Sole Sisters Shoe & Sock Drive benefiting Neighbor to Neighbor from March 24- April 5. Drop off your donations at the Greenwich United Way at 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 415, Greenwich, CT or 203-869-2221.

Greenwich United Way Sole Sisters Luncheon: Attend the Greenwich United Way Sole Sisters Luncheon on April 23, 2019 at Greenwich Country Club. This year, the Greenwich United Way Sole Sisters Luncheon will be co-chaired by Grace Lockhart Djuranovic and Kirsten Riemer. Lauren Bush Lauren will be the keynote speaker at the Luncheon.

Bruce Contemporaries: Join the Bruce Contemporaries. Click here for more information. To join, contact: Becky Conelias at 203-413-6745 or bconelias@brucemuseum.org.

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