A Message from Juanita T. James: Passing the Baton

Sep 27, 2022

Watch the video: Juanita welcomes Mendi to a new role of leadership.

Dear Friend,

Community foundations are unique and special places — built on the idea that we are stronger when neighbors come together to invest collectively in a shared vision.

During the past 11 years, I’ve been fortunate to witness the power of this concept firsthand as president and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. Our growth and evolution during that time was the result of contributions made by thousands of people throughout our community who believe that together, we thrive.

As I reflect on this experience, I’m reminded of so many people who have played a role in our shared success.

It’s been driven by the work of our diverse and talented staff who care deeply about Fairfield County, its people and its future.

It’s been guided by a board that has pushed us every day to think bigger and act more boldly.

It’s been supported by donors and fundholders who have a vision and desire to build on Fairfield County’s strengths and make it an even better place for everyone who calls it their home.

It’s been fueled by a remarkable network of partners, nonprofit grantees and community organizations, all of whom are committed to improving lives and creating opportunity.

Together, we’ve built upon the groundwork laid by my predecessors to create something special, while setting the stage for our next great chapter.

Mendi Blue Paca, who will step into this role beginning on October 3, is the perfect choice to help author that chapter.

Mendi has been a vital partner in her role as chief community impact officer — and she has a well-earned reputation throughout Fairfield County as a leader and collaborator. She has built powerful relationships with Fairfield County nonprofits, foundations, government leaders, businesspeople and grassroots organizations and will be a tireless advocate for every person in our community.

I look forward to seeing what Mendi and the Foundation are able to accomplish as they deepen their partnerships with the community to ensure all people in Fairfield County have an equitable opportunity to thrive.

I’m incredibly thankful to everyone who has had a hand in helping us make progress toward that mission, and I’ll be cheering you on every step of the way.

With gratitude,