Connecticut Community Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of trustees and managed by a staff of experts in fund management, philanthropy, charitable gift planning, grantmaking and community issues. We are here to help our donors, nonprofits and community.
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Board of Trustees
Chair, Waterbury Attorney and Educator Naugatuck Valley Community College | Bio
Dan Caron held successive management positions of increasing responsibility at Alexion Pharmaceuticals and retired as vice president of site operations and engineering. He was responsible for facilities around the globe, overseeing global security, construction, environmental health and safety, laboratory management, lease administration, sustainability and corporate philanthropy. Dan has served on Connecticut Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2012 and has chaired the Scholarships Committee since 2013. Dan devotes much of his time focusing on education, jobs/career opportunities and the needy in our communities. He has been involved with numerous organizations including Connecticut Employment and Training Commission, Region 14 School District, Gateway Community College, HomeFront, and Junior Achievement. Dan earned a master’s degree in bioengineering from Polytechnic University and received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Adelphi University. He resides in Woodbury.
John A. Michaels is vice president for strategy at Michaels Jewelers, which currently operates 10 retail jewelry stores in Connecticut and 10 Pandora retail stores nationwide. He has worked at Michaels Jewelers since 1967 in various capacities including controller, secretary/treasurer, and chairman and CEO. In addition to serving as a trustee for the Connecticut Community Foundation, John has been involved with numerous organizations including Harold Leever Regional Cancer Center, United Church of Christ in Southbury, Connecticut Hospital Association, Waterbury Hospital Captive Insurance Co., Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., and the American Gem Society Laboratory Board. John has been active with the Foundation for several years, serving as a member of the East Hill Woods Advisory Committee, Audit Committee and Investment Committee. He lives with his wife, Shirley, in Southbury.
Bob Bailey is a former senior international banker with over three decades experience leading multi-billion-dollar divisions for Citibank, NationsBank (now Bank of America) and Banco Santander in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Between 1985-1992, Bob concluded his career at Citibank as Head of the Asian Division and subsequently head of the Latin American division. He also served on Chairman John Reed’s Policy Committee, the senior management team for the bank, for seven years. Bob also was Under Secretary for Finance and Administration at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Bob received an master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University in 1963 and has been an adjunct professor of global finance at Georgetown University since 2004. In addition to his involvement with Connecticut Community Foundation, Bob has been involved with several organizations including the International Executive Service Corps, Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust, Housatonic Valley Association and Friends of Sullivan Farm. He resides in New Milford with his wife, Julie.
Reginald Beamon is a Waterbury native and a retired State Representative who served Waterbury’s 72nd District for twenty years. He served as the Chairman of the Connecticut Legislative Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, and co-chair of the Governor’s Task Force on School Reform. Reggie also served on the Executive Committees of the Council of State Government and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. For the past eighteen years, Reggie has worked as the executive director of Waterbury Opportunities Industrialization Center, a job and lifeskills training agency. Reggie and his wife live in Waterbury.
Dan brings over twenty years of experience in public accounting to Connecticut Community Foundation. He currently serves as Partner and Founder of Bedard & Company, PC and Bedard Advisors, LLC. Dan is licensed in the States of Connecticut and New York and is a member of The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and The Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants. Dan received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from The University of Connecticut and served four years of active duty in the United States Army. Dan has volunteered and served on numerous boards and nonprofits and currently is the treasurer for The Tribury Chamber of Commerce. He is a lifelong resident of Southbury, where he resides with his wife and two sons.
Kathy is the managing partner at the Southbury branch of Gager, Emerson, Rickart, Bower & Scalzo, LLP. She serves as a Special Master in the United States District Court and Attorney Trial Referee Arbitrator and Fact Finder in Connecticut Superior Court. Kathy serves on several boards including Region 15’s Perpetual Fund, Audubon Center at the Bent of the River, and the Southbury Community Trust Fund. She was one of the original members of Connecticut Community Foundation’s Women’s Initiative Fund. She lives in Southbury with her husband and three daughters.
Barbara Bradbury-Pape has worked primarily in the historic house museum field and recently served as the Interpretive Planner for Connecticut Landmarks. Mrs. Bradbury-Pape is the Development Director for The Roxbury Land Trust. She previously served on the boards of The New Britain Museum of American Art, Flanders Nature Center and Land Trust, The Connecticut League of History Organizations, and the Litchfield Historical Society. Additionally, she serves as a reviewer for the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee.
Michelle Fica is the managing attorney of the Waterbury Office of Connecticut Legal Services, an organization that provides legal assistance and representation to low-income clients. She supervises a staff of attorneys that cover the Greater Waterbury Region and Litchfield County in multiple areas of civil law. Previously, Michelle worked as a staff attorney for Greater Hartford Legal Aid and Connecticut Legal Services specializing in family, domestic violence and special education law. Since graduating law school, she has also organized, and participated in, systemic efforts to combat obstacles facing low-income and disenfranchised individuals. In her current role, Michelle has renewed her commitment to the Waterbury region where she grew up. Most recently, she organized outreach efforts to increase access to legal services by the city’s homeless population. Michelle is a 2000 graduate of Emory University and received her JD from the University of Connecticut Law School in 2004. She resides in West Hartford.
Valerie had a successful career in marketing in New York City before becoming a financial planner, incorporating investment and life planning in her work with clients. She especially likes working with her philanthropically-committed clients on efficient and effective charitable planning and execution. A Washington, Connecticut resident since 1994, Valerie served 12 years on the town’s zoning commission. Valerie currently serves on the board of Our Companions Animal Rescue, and was their first board chair. She provides financial support and fundraising advice to many local nonprofits. Her family consists of assorted male canines and one male human.
Michael Giardina, a Cheshire resident, is a partner at Henry & Giardina, LLP, where his practice focuses on estate planning and administration. He is an active member of the Elder Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, and serves on the board of directors of the Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging, a nonprofit organization that provides services to help older adults maintain their independence and quality of life. Michael also serves on the Board of Directors of Dora’s Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to redefining the current Medicaid laws to improve access to services for seniors and disabled adults.
Elizabeth Joy Johnson, Ph.D. is the provost at Post University. Previously, Dr. Johnson worked as a Wetland Delineator and as a Soil Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Association. Dr. Johnson is a former Cheshire Land Trust Board member and a current volunteer with United Way and Crew3000, a CT-based non-profit ocean conservation organization. Dr. Johnson has served on the Environment, Donor Engagement, and Cradle to Career committees at the Foundation.
Douglas Johnson is the president and owner of Marion Manufacturing in Cheshire. He is a board member of the Naugatuck Community College Foundation and also serves on the advisory committee for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center for the school. Douglas has served as President of the Smaller Manufacturers Association and currently serves on its Board of Directors and co-chairs its Education Committee. He serves on several comprehensive and technical high school advisory boards, is a board member of the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, and volunteers for the American Lung Association, Smilow Cancer Center, and Special Olympics.
Kathryn Kehoe was an educator in New York City before receiving her MBA and pursuing a management career in advertising and marketing. In 1994, Kathy moved to Washington, Connecticut, where she developed her own business as an independent college counselor, specializing in students with learning disabilities. Kathryn was introduced to Connecticut Community Foundation through her involvement with the Western Connecticut Leadership (WCL) program. She was a member of WCL’s 2014 Inaugural Planning Team and has been the Chair and Co-Chair, respectively, of the 2015 and 2016 programs. Kathryn and her husband are the proud parents of two and grandparents of two. She lives in Washington.
Elner Morrell brings her experience in health care service management, managed care policy implementation, reporting and analytics, and project management to the Foundation’s board. She is currently employed as an IT Architecture Consultant at UnitedHealth Group, a company that provides a broad spectrum of resources and services to help people achieve improved health through all stages of life. Elner earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Fairfield University and master’s certificate in IT project management from George Washington University. She is a licensed registered nurse and specialized in medical-surgical nursing and long-term care before transitioning to managed care administration. She resides in Prospect with her family.
John B. Newton is an Angel Investor and a former Time Warner executive. He has been involved with several successful startups, and continues to invest in a number of early stage companies. Mr. Newton was Senior Vice President of film programming at HBO where he led a negotiating team, which licensed feature film exhibition rights from major studios and many independent producers. He is also a trustee of the Litchfield Historical Society and a member of the National Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
David is a certified public accountant at Budwitz & Meyerjack of Cheshire, where he provides audit, accounting, and tax consulting services to businesses, individuals and not-for-profit organizations. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Construction Financial Management Association and the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce. David is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1983. David is extremely active in his community, having volunteered his time and expertise for organizations including the Town of Cheshire Economic Development Commission, Cheshire Education Foundation, Watertown Golf Club, Connecticut Fuel Oil Conservation Fund, Waterbury Development Corporation, the Exchange Club Family Life Foundation and the Exchange Club of Cheshire and Connecticut District. He resides in Cheshire with his wife, Jill.
Rabbi Eric Polokoff
Rabbi Eric Polokoff is B’nai Israel’s founding rabbi, serving the congregation since 1997. He gives great attention to his roles as a speaker, pastor, teacher and community participant. He is a member of the Foundation’s Pathways for Older Adults Committee and previously served on the Southbury Community Trust Fund. He also moderates the Southbury Clergy Association, is a long-time Associate National Commissioner and Connecticut Region Executive Committee member of the Anti-Defamation League, and sits on the St. Mary’s Hospital and Waterbury Hospital Ethics Committees.
Edith Reynolds co-owns The John Bale Book Company, an antiquarian bookstore and cafe in downtown Waterbury. During the course of the shop’s 22-year history, she has been involved in economic development at many levels as well as a supporter of the arts. She teaches writing part-time at Naugatuck Valley Community College and has authored three local histories. In addition to serving on the Board of Trustees for Connecticut Community Foundation, Edith has served for many years on the Grants Committee. Her degrees include a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree from Central Connecticut State University. She resides in West Haven, where she is actively involved with the beach restoration and reclamation project.
Carolyn is an experienced business executive, market researcher, and executive coach. Until 2010, she served as executive vice president of GfK Custom Research North America, a member of the GfK Group, one of the five largest market research organizations in the world. She served previously in a senior executive role at the company’s predecessor firms, NOP World, RoperASW and Roper Starch Worldwide. Carolyn also maintains a private career and executive coaching practice. Prior to joining GfK, Carolyn held management positions at Roper Starch Worldwide, SetloWear, Inc., and Newsweek, Inc. Carolyn is an avid nonprofit volunteer and has been involved with numerous organizations including Human Resource Research Organization, Children’s Tumor Foundation, Women’s Business Development Council, 1165 Park Avenue Cooperative, Northside Center for Child Development, and International Women’s Forum. Carolyn resides with her husband, Andrew O. Shapiro, in Washington Depot.
Brian M. Jones
Brian M. Jones has lived in Southbury since 1978. For the past 29 years, he has managed a specialized, highly-credentialed and experienced financial planning, investment and insurance practice, The Jones Financial Group at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company in Southbury, serving clients in over 25 states. He is active professionally and civically. Currently, Brian serves as: Chair of Stewardship, the United Church of Christ Southbury; Board of Directors, St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation; Chair for past 20 years, Southbury Celebration (an annual community food, music and fireworks event); and has been an active firefighter/engineer for 35 years with the Southbury Volunteer Firemen’s Association. Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Connecticut, and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), Certified in Long Term Care (CLTC®), and has numerous investment and insurance licenses.
Kathy Taylor is an attorney and educator who oversees the Bridge to College office at Naugatuck Valley Community College. In that role, she partners with the Waterbury School District, the Connecticut Office of Higher Education, and the United States Department of Education on grant initiatives intended to ensure college readiness and completion for underprepared youth. Kathy is also active in the community and volunteers with several organizations, including the National Congress of Black Women, Mattatuck Museum, Granville Academy, Grace Development Corporation and Waterbury’s Bridge to Success.
Stephen Seward, a Roxbury resident since 2003, has been a consultant in the nonprofit sector for over 35 years. He began his career at the Foundation Center as a reference book editor and the manager of a nationwide technical assistance program for nonprofit organizations. Seward then joined the John O’Donnell Company where he eventually became the firm’s executive vice president, with clients in human services, arts and culture and international education. More recently, he has been the principal fundraiser for The Nature Conservancy’s New York City office; vice president for development at Andrus, a Westchester-based program in mental health and special education; and executive director of the Scarsdale Schools Foundation.
Kathleen A. McPadden
Kathy McPadden, a lifelong Naugatuck resident, has been employed at Ion Bank since 2011 and currently serves as Senior Vice President, Community Relations Officer and Executive Director of the Ion Bank Foundation. Prior, she worked in the human resources field for over 30 years. Kathy has dedicated much of her personal time to volunteer service. She has served on the boards of many nonprofit organizations including Wellmore Behavioral Health, Are You Dense?, YMCA of Naugatuck, American Red Cross-Naugatuck chapter, Morris Foundation, United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls, and Jane Doe No More. She also served on the board of incorporators for Waterbury Hospital. Kathy’s many honors speak to the excellence of her volunteer leadership. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Naugatuck, an organization that awarded her a Paul Harris Fellow in 2014. She was the United Way’s 2010 recipient of the Mary H. Connolly Community Caring Award; she has volunteered for the organization for over 30 years. She received the Fredrick D. Zonino Memorial Volunteer Award in 2018 from the YMCA of Naugatuck.
Dr. Rebecca Eleck Bruce
Dr. Rebecca Eleck Bruce is a family physician and the medical director for Wheeler Health. In that role, she supervises medical providers in four federally qualified community health center locations and sees patients herself in all four locations. She providers routine primary care to patients of all ages, womb to tomb, prescribes medication assisted treatment for substance abuse disorders, treats HIV and Hepatitis C, and prescribes gender affirming hormones. She also volunteers with the Greater Waterbury YMCA and sometimes teaches yoga at YMCA Camp Mataucha. She has worked for and with nonprofits in Haiti, Guatemala, and Honduras and is passionate about initiatives that extend health care to all. She is a proud mom to two awesome little kids and enjoys getting outside with them as often as possible. In her remaining spare time, she enjoys open water swimming and trail running.
Deborah Foord had a long career in investment management, working with institutional clients in the US, Europe and Asia while based in New York City. Her current pursuits include board service and volunteer activities in her hometown of Litchfield, focusing mainly on food insecurity. She serves on the board of the Litchfield Community Center where she started Family Dinner Night serving free, home cooked meals to families with young children and others seeking companionship. Deborah also continues her longstanding role organizing public art exhibitions along Broadway on the upper west side in New York City as a member of the board of the Broadway Mall Association.
Linda C. Halgunseth
Linda C. Halgunseth is an associate professor in the department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on sociocultural influences on parenting, culturally sensitive parenting measurement, and family engagement with diverse families. Dr. Halgunseth holds and has held many leadership positions in national associations such as Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA). She currently serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Research on Adolescence. Linda is also very active in serving the Waterbury community through her work on the UConn Waterbury campus and as a former board member of Madre Latina Inc.
Subira Gordon is the executive director of Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), where she works to reimagine our public schools through an effort to recreate a better system that reflects the America of today—and tomorrow. Subira was born and raised in Jamaica, in a small rural community with a 2 percent literacy rate. Subira attended Bates College and became engaged in organizing and advocacy efforts, and subsequently completed a master’s degree in Public Policy from New England College. She served as the executive director of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Commission on Equity and Opportunity, where she worked closely with grassroots advocates and legislators to create equitable solutions for communities of color. Subira has championed issues including a diverse educator pipeline, affordable housing options and comprehensive criminal justice reform, and is dedicated to excellence and equity in our state’s educational system.
Brian is the Managing Partner of Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey. His area of expertise includes commercial litigation, administrative appeals, real estate litigation, tax appeals and personal injury defense. Brian also does utility siting work before the Connecticut Siting Council and other regulatory agencies. In addition to his service with Connecticut Community Foundation, Brian is a board member of St. Vincent de Paul Mission of Greater Waterbury, Children’s Community School and is a member of the Southbury Community Trust Fund Advisory committee. Brian received a BS degree in Economics from the Warton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a resident of Southbury.
Avery serves at the Senate Republican Office’s Community Development and Public Affairs division. He has been advising and assisting the small business community for more than 20 years, specializing in entrepreneurship, business growth and development and strategic planning. Avery has a degree in Political Science from Central Connecticut State University and an MBA from the University of New Haven. His professional experience includes finance, commercial lending, asset management, internal auditing, regulatory compliance and corporate governance. Avery is a former member of the Connecticut Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, current member of Connecticut’s Minority Business Initiative Advisory Board and serves on the Commission on Racial Ethnic Disparity in the criminal justice system.
Tomas is the initiative director for the Working Cities Challenge at the RIBA Aspira Career Academy in Waterbury’s South End. Tomas graduated from UCONN Waterbury, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and Science, with a double major in Urban & Community Studies and Human Development & Families Studies and a minor in Psychology. Over a span of eight years, Tomas held several roles at Catholic Charities in Waterbury, serving the community through programs including Fatherhood Services, Child Removal Preventive Services, Family Education, Eviction Prevention, and a Basic Needs Program. Currently, Tomas’ work with Riba Aspira is targeted at reducing the disproportionately high unemployment rate of the South End/River Baldwin (RIBA) by increasing the number of residents earning a livable wage. Tomas also serves on Connecticut Community Foundation’s Grassroots Grants Committee.
Jean has over 35 years of experience as a Senior Real Estate executive in large-scale property developments and in major management positions. She has been recognized for her unique combination of project management, financial and relationship management skills. Jean serves on the Board of the Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, as an Advisory Committee Member of Riverfront Revitalization in New Milford, and on Connecticut Community Foundation’s Building Equitable Opportunities Committee. Jean worked with Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury (NHSW) to conduct an evaluation of Parks and Recreation Space needs in Waterbury neighborhoods and also served on NHSW’s Design Challenge Committee. Previously, Jean was a Board Member of Brass City Harvest in Waterbury and volunteered her skills as Washington’s St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington. Jean holds a BA degree from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University.
Saran D. White
Saran is a mission-driven strategist with over twenty years of experience strengthening the capacity of organizations and systems that increase equity, access and justice in under-resourced communities. With a background in philanthropy, K-12 education, civic engagement and organizational effectiveness, Saran has worked with renowned nonprofits, foundations and thought leaders to effectively implement innovative strategies through collaborative projects and grantmaking. As a leader in change management and the first chief executive of the Leever Foundation—a nineteen-year-old foundation doing place-based grantmaking in Waterbury—Saran has worked to design, structure and implement a more intentional, vision-aligned, equity-driven and community-informed agenda. Saran holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University and a Master of Public Administration degree from CUNY Baruch School of Public and International Affairs.