We Bring Together Passionate People
Our seasoned staff has an extensive knowledge of philanthropy, deep roots in Fairfield County’s nonprofit community and a strong commitment to working collaboratively across sectors to foster innovative solutions for lasting change.
Juanita T. James
President & CEO
Juanita T. James is President & CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. Formerly, she was Pitney Bowes’ Chief Marketing & Communications Officer and a member of the Chairman’s Council and enjoyed a 20-year career with Time Warner and Bertelsmann, holding several senior executive positions, including President & CEO of Time-Life Libraries.
Ms. James is a Director for Asbury Automotive Group; a Director for First County Bank; Audit Committee chair for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a Director of CFLEADS and former Director of Connecticut Council for Philanthropy and the Rouse Company. Juanita was named a Savoy Magazine “Power 300 - Most Influential Black Corporate Directors” in 2015, and a “2018 Most Influential Corporate Director” from Women Inc.
Presently, Ms. James is Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at Lesley University, a Trustee Emerita of Princeton University and a former Trustee of UCONN. Some of the honors bestowed upon her include: League of Women Voters “Outstanding Woman in Philanthropy Award”; Connecticut Center of Philanthropy “Martha Newman Award”; American Cancer Society “Women Leading the Way to Wellness”; Girl Scouts of CT “Woman of Merit”; Moffly Media “Light a Fire”; NAACP “100 Most Influential Blacks in CT” and “Stamford Citizen of the Year”.
Ms. James earned a master’s degree in Business Policy from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. She also holds Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Mitchell College and Fairfield University, and an Honorary Associate Degree in Humane Letters from Housatonic Community College.Close
Karen R. Brown
Vice President, Development & Philanthropic Services
Karen R. Brown joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in 1998. She initially served as Program Director, and was named Vice President of Programs as the Community Foundation grew. Currently, as the Vice President of Development and Philanthropic Services, Karen works with Foundation senior staff and board members to strategize and execute on the Foundation’s overall fundraising and business development initiatives. Karen also works closely with a cadre of donor advised fundholders to provide philanthropic advisory services and also serves as the Foundation’s liaison to Social Venture Partners Connecticut (a program and field of interest fund).
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Karen worked at a school-based community center led by Bronx Community College and The Families and Work Institute in Manhattan. In May 2008, Karen was awarded one of Connecticut’s highest honors for philanthropic leadership, The Martha S. Newman Award, from The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy.
Karen holds a MPA from The Robert Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, where she was a Dean’s Scholar. She earned a BA from Brown University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude. Karen lives in her adopted and beloved community of Norwalk, where she enjoys walks at Calf Pasture Beach with her sons and eating out at Norwalk’s many ethnic restaurants.Close
Chief Community Impact Officer
Mendi Blue-Paca joined the Community Foundation in 2018, taking on oversight of its Center for Nonprofit Excellence, Fund for Women & Girls and Thrive by 25 initiative. As Chief Community Impact Officer, Mendi leads the organization’s grant making, programs, public policy advocacy, and major community leadership initiatives to close the opportunity gap in Fairfield County. She also serves as the key liaison for cross-sector collaborations with nonprofits, funder partners, external constituent groups and local elected officials.
Mendi brings diverse cross-sector leadership experience to her role. Prior to joining the Community Foundation, she held numerous private and nonprofit positions, including working at Goldman Sachs & Co. and for the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. She also served in public sector leadership positions; most recently, as Director of Development and Policy for the City of New Haven, where she secured $15 million in competitive funding. As a strategic consultant at the Center for Effective Philanthropy, Mendi worked with more than 40 of the largest US-based philanthropic organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.
Mendi holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics cum laude from Harvard College, a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and a Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. She is a board member of Partners for Educational Leadership. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, maternal and reproductive health advocacy, and mental health awareness. Mendi lives with her husband and daughter in Trumbull, where, in her spare time, she loves trying new recipes.Close
Director, CT Urban Opportunity Collaborative
Cesar Aleman joined the Community Foundation in 2021, as Director of the CT Urban Opportunity Collaborative. In his role, Cesar facilitates and coordinates the team of community foundation chief executives and senior level staff from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation to develop collective strategies to dismantle structural racism and advance social and economic mobility; aligning the strategic and programmatic efforts of the three foundations to create an actionable plan that builds on each organization’s individual strengths.
Cesar has previously organized for the Center for Leadership and Justice, where he developed racially-conscious leaders who act collectively on issues that intersect with race and poverty. Prior to joining the Community Foundation, he has held several positions in non-profits at the local and national level working on civil rights issues including housing justice, health equity, and educational equity. He centers an approach to his work that is community-led and that builds power to achieve racial and social justice.
Cesar holds a BA in Communications Studies from Edgewood College. He lives in Elmwood, West Hartford with his partner and their blue-nose pit, Miles.Close
Senior Manager, Center for Nonprofit Excellence
Danielle Marchione joined the Community Foundation in 2018. As manager of the CNE, the primary capacity-building resource for Fairfield County’s nonprofit sector and one of the Community Foundation’s five strategic priorities, she provides education and tools to help nonprofits grow and thrive. Danielle facilitates high-quality trainings and workshops, leadership development programs and Fairfield County’s Giving Day.
Danielle is a nonprofit leader with more than fifteen years of experience in the sector. Prior to joining the Foundation, Danielle was the Scholarship Coordinator at Hunter College, where she developed and implemented improved processes for scholarship outreach, application, awarding, and student tracking. Danielle previously directed the HandsOn Tech Program at New York Cares to build nonprofit technology capacity and served as the Director of Communications and Government Relations at Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York.
Danielle holds a BA in English and American Studies from Wesleyan University and an MPA from The Robert Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.Close
Director, Education & Youth Development
Janeene Freeman joined the Community Foundation in 2018. As Director of Education & Youth Development, Janeene is responsible for leading our education grantmaking, ensuring that our funding is aligned with our strategic plan and results framework.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Janeene worked for New Haven-based Northeast Charter Schools Network (NECSN), where she served as the Chief Executive Officer. Janeene led and set the strategic vision for this multi-state advocacy and membership organization that supports the growth and development of high-quality charter schools in New York and CT. At NECSN, Janeene was responsible for managing a $2.3M operating budget.
Prior to joining the Northeast Charter Schools Network, Janeene worked for 17 years at the Community Service Society of New York (CSS), a highly regarded, 170 year-old, poverty-fighting organization that serves more than 3 million low-income New Yorkers. Janeene began her career at CSS as the Special Assistant to the President and rose to progressively more responsible programmatic positions. For nine years, Janeene was the Director of Government Relations. In that senior leadership role, she developed strategy for implementing CSS’s legislative agenda at the local, state and federal levels.
Janeene holds a BA in Government from Wesleyan University and an MPA from Columbia University. She sits on the board of Girls Lead Inc., a leadership development program for young girls that prepares participants for college and beyond. Janeene lives in Stamford, CT with her husband Paul, and their children, Jayden and Nia. Janeene loves spending time with her family; cheering on her children at sporting events; and reading a good book.Close
Senior Manager, Economic Opportunity Program
Julian Pierce joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in 2017. He is the Program Manager for Economic Opportunity, an initiative focused on ensuring that all Fairfield County households are economically secure.
Julian’s previous work includes program evaluation and data analysis for nonprofits in the Greater Bridgeport and New Haven County Area. He also served as a Foreclosure Prevention and First-Time Home Buyer Counselor for Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust prior to joining the Community Foundation.
Julian holds a Master’s degree in Program Development from the University of New Haven and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Miami. He was born and raised in Stratford, where he currently resides.Close
Director, Immigrant Support Fund
Luis Guzman joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in 2019 as Director, Immigrant Support Fund. As Director, Luis oversees the Fund’s strategic direction and initiatives that advance immigrant well-being in Fairfield county.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Luis served as Deputy Director of Colorado’s Office of Children, Youth, and Families. He also served overseas as a U.S. diplomat for the U.S. Agency for International Development where he developed and managed humanitarian projects in Nicaragua, Nepal, Burma, and Kosovo. His humanitarian work earned him four federal awards for excellence in supporting vulnerable communities. Luis also practiced law for seven years as an attorney for the federal government and the private sector. He has extensive experience engaging with communities and managing large-scale initiatives at the local, national, and international level.
Luis holds a JD from the University of Southern California Law School and a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He enjoys traveling and writing.Close
Senior Director, Fund for Women & Girls
Lutonya Russell-Humes joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in 2021. As Sr. Director, FWG, Lutonya is responsible for executing FCCF's long-term strategic plan for the Fund and day-to-day operations, grantmaking and asset development.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Lutonya worked for The Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle where she served most recently as Executive Director. During her time there Lutonya provided quality programs that allowed young people and their families to access services that might not otherwise be available to them. Lutonya began her career at the Children's Village, a residential treatment facility for adolescent boys in Westchester County. She spent the next ten years working in the foster care systems of New York City and Bexar County, Texas. Hoping to impact families and children before they entered the system, she began her community-based work with the Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WestCOP) at the Ossining Community Action Program overseeing a nationally recognized pregnancy prevention program.
Lutonya received her undergraduate degree in sociology from Mississippi Valley State University, and holds a Masters of Public Administration from Pace University. She is currently an adjunct professor at Mercy College.Close
Senior Associate, Field of Interest Funds
Rebecca Cordero joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in November 2019. As Sr. Associate, Field of Interest Funds, Rebecca will manage the grant making for Fund for Women & Girls and the Immigrant Support Fund.
Before joining the Community Foundation, Rebecca served as an Account Manager at Total Administrative Service Corp (TASC). At TASC Rebecca managed corporate giving programs for both regional and national clients. She was also a certified change leader working to define and foster a transitional process for various projects and stakeholders. Rebecca has a strong sense of integrity, wanting her work to reflect community minded values and beliefs.
Rebecca holds her Master of Museum Studies, Nonprofit Management from John Hopkins University and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of Connecticut.Close
Associate, Community Impact
Sharon Jones joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in 2008 as Program Administrative Assistant. In March 2018, she was named Community Impact Associate. Sharon manages Foundant, the foundation’s online grants management system for competitive grants. She also provides support to the Community Impact Program Managers.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Sharon served as Nursing Scheduler for Family Care Visiting Nurse and as Office Manager for Bindi Desserts, Inc.
Sharon lives in Norwalk with her son Cameron and enjoys visits with her daughter Jade and grandsons, Amare and Kyree. Sharon enjoys reading and writing and spending time with family.Close
Director, Advocacy & Capacity Building
Stephen Saloom joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in October of 2019. As Director, Advocacy & Capacity Building, Stephen will lead the foundation’s advocacy and public policy work as well as oversee nonprofit and community capacity-building efforts.
Before joining the Community Foundation, Stephen served as a Senior Manager for Advocacy and Partnerships for Pew Charitable Trusts, which flows from a career dedicated to nonprofit advocacy and leadership. He began as a lobbyist for non-profit organizations at the Connecticut Legislature; became founding executive director of the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition in Massachusetts; and then created and directed nationwide advocacy programs for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Innocence Project, and the Eighth Amendment Project at the Proteus Fund. Stephen has also written major grant proposals for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Tenants and Workers United, Caring Across Generations, and in 2017 was elected to the Ridgefield Board of Police Commissioners.
Stephen was born and raised in Brookfield. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from The University of Connecticut, his Juris Doctorate from The University of Connecticut School of Law, and an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Georgetown University Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership. He is thrilled to return to his home state and county, to dedicate his leadership and advocacy experiences to closing the opportunity gap in Fairfield County – a lifelong wish.
Stephen lives in Ridgefield with his family. He enjoys being with family, playing with their dog Chick Chock, seeing live music, and socializing with friends near and far.Close
Elaine V. Mintz
Chief Operating Officer, Operations
Elaine joined the Community Foundation in 2011 to lead its Center for Nonprofit Excellence. In July 2016, she was named VP of Operations. Elaine oversees the Community Foundation’s human capital management plan, the strategic goal setting process and the administrative operations of the Community Foundation. In her role, Elaine ensures that the Community Foundation has processes in place to meet its strategic goals efficiently and effectively with space for reflection and learning.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Elaine served as Director of the Greater Danbury Nonprofit Resource Center, leading the organization from its inception in 2005 to its merger with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence in 2011. Before her nonprofit work, Elaine served at the state level as a research consultant with the Office of Policy & Management and as a staff member for the Connecticut General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee. She also served as an adjunct faculty member in Norwalk Community College’s Political Science Department.
Elaine holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut. She lives in Redding with her husband Doug and has two children. Elaine enjoys spending time outdoors, is active in local politics, and loves attending local theater and cultural destinations.Close
Project Manager, Operations
Alex Quesada joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in 2013 as Administrative Assistant, FWG and then moved to Associate, FWG managing the Fund’s competitive grant portfolio. In 2019 Alex was named Project Manager. As Project Manager, Operations she oversees process improvements and operational efficiencies for Foundation wide activities, projects and processes. This includes process mapping, documentation of current processes, process improvements, and new process implementation.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Alex served as an Associate for the American Cancer Society, Inc.
Alex holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and an Associate’s degree from Norwalk Community College. She lives in Norwalk with her family.Close
Senior Associate, Data
Alison Riith joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in 2012. Alison was promoted to Sr. Associate, Data in 2020. Alison supports FCCF’s strategic objectives and organizational learning by leveraging internal knowledge and data with timely analysis and reporting across the organization.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Alison served as Project and Financial Coordinator at a local consulting firm and completed internships at the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging and State Farm Insurance Company. Alison is a tiny homes enthusiast, and her tiny homes idea was selected as the winner of the 2014 Fairfield County’s What Works Challenge.
Alison has her Master’s degree in Public Policy (MPP) and a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) graduate certificate from the University of Connecticut. She also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA )from Fairfield University, a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Illinois Wesleyan University, and is a graduate of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program at the Westchester Institute for Human Development.
Alison is a Jackie Robinson Foundation alumna and an active member of the Well Spouse Association. She lives in Norwalk with family and has a cat named Arthus the Lich Kitty.Close
Office Assistant, Operations
Maria Casey joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in 2019. As Office Assistant, Operations she is responsible for managing our front desk, main telephone coverage, managing the training room, kitchen maintenance and providing Foundation administrative services.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Maria spent several years at Save the Children in Fairfield, CT where she wore many hats including; Data Services, Philanthropy Coordinator and Gift and Acknowledgement Associate. Maria also spent over 12 years at The Nielson Company where she managed client data, was a liaison between Account Managers and clients and performed high priority customer service projects and process improvement plans.
Maria holds an Executive Assistant Certification from Gibbs College, an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Housatonic Community College and lives in Fairfield with her family.Close
Vice President, Human Resources
Tara Berlingo joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in 2017. As Director, Human Resources, Tara is responsible for leading the Community Foundation’s Human Resources programs, practices and policies to support the achievement of the organization’s strategic goals.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Tara served as Human Resources Business Partner at Westcon Group North America, Inc. where she was responsible for working with the leadership team to define and implement training, full life cycle recruiting, compensation, annual performance management, employee engagement, compliance, and benefits. In addition, Tara has held human resources management roles for Charter Communications and Penna Construction. Tara is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management.
Tara holds her Bachelors degree in Business from WGU with a major in Human Resource Management. Tara resides in New York with her husband and two children. In her spare time, she enjoys watching marathons of The Real Housewives.Close
Tiana Randretsanilo joined Fairfield County's Community Foundation in 2013. As Assistant, Operations, Tiana provides administrative support to both the Operations and Finance departments. Tiana also manages the front desk and assists the Human Resources function.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Tiana served as the office coordinator at Levco Energy in Stamford.
Tiana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Ecole D’Ingénieur de Genève, Switzerland. She lives in Norwalk with her husband Samy and their son, Jonathan. She is passionate about exploring different cultures when traveling, and spending time with her family.Close
Revenue Generation & Business Development
Senior Director of Development
Joseph Collin joined the Community Foundation in September 2019. As Director, Development & Philanthropic Services, Joe works closely with the Revenue Generation and Business Development team on strategy and execution of the overall fundraising and business development plan for the Community Foundation, ensuring that annual organizational fundraising goals are achieved to empower the organization to maximize its impact on the community. He is a key member of our major gifts initiatives and maintains a significant portfolio of individual donors, guiding cultivation and stewardship activities such as donor and prospect events, targeted donor communications, and other strategies to support the growth of our community impact and charitable funds.
Before joining the Community Foundation, Joe served as Director, Institutional Giving for Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Joe has a decade of fundraising experience with a background in grant writing, research, and relationship building. Earlier in his career, Joe served in various fundraising roles with the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York Academy of Medicine and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Joe holds his Masters of Music from University of Hartford and his Bachelor of Music from Catholic University of America. Joe lives in Ridgefield with his family.Close
Associate, Revenue & Business Development
Khalilah joined the Community Foundation in 2017. As Assistant, Revenue and Business Development, Khalilah provides administrative support to the department with a special focus on our Fund for Women and Girls Initiative. She also manages the gift processing and acknowledgement function for all gifts.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Khalilah worked at Save the Children in Fairfield.
Khalilah holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Bridgeport. She enjoys music and spending time with her family.Close
Director, Development & Philanthropic Services
Pablo Colon joined the Community Foundation in April 2020. As Director, Development & Philanthropic Services. Pablo works closely with the Revenue Generation and Business Development team on strategy and execution of the overall fundraising and business development plan for the Community Foundation, ensuring the advancement of our donor moves management program, leading efforts to diversify and expand the Community Foundation’s donor and fundholder prospect pipeline with a specific focus on cultivating and stewarding relationships with millennials and “next generation” donors; black, Latinx and other diverse donor segments; and Professional Advisors among other prospects.
Before joining the Community Foundation, Pablo served as Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Radio Cumbre. Earlier in his career, Pablo spent many years in Business Development roles for Global Relocation and Expatriate Management companies. Pablo has extensive nonprofit Board, fundraising, and community engagement experience.
Pablo holds his Bachelors of Arts in History from Fairfield University. Pablo resides in Stratford with his Family.Close
Rebecca Mandell joined the Community Foundation in 2018. As Manager of Development with a focus on Foundation and Corporate Partnerships, she supports Community Impact fundraising with an emphasis on our efforts to grow contributions and grants from the corporate and foundation sectors.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Rebecca worked for Bridgeport-based Wholesome Wave, the national nonprofit working to make locally grown fruits and vegetables more affordable for the people who need it most. In her four-year tenure, Rebecca managed the Development Department’s institutional funder relationships, led individual giving activities and supervised development-related event functions.
Rebecca holds a BS from Indiana University in Public Affairs and her MPA from IU’s School of Public & Environmental Affairs. She has earned Certificates of Achievement in Annual Sustainability, Major Gift Development and Fund Development for Nonprofits from The Fundraising School at IU’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy as well as Certified Nonprofit Professional credential from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.Close
Manager, Development & Scholarship Services
Steve joined the Community Foundation in 2014 and currently works with the Community Foundation’s donors and charitable fundholders to manage the grant disbursement process for donor advised, agency, and designated funds. He also manages and administers the Community Foundation’s Scholarships Program.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Steve worked in the for-profit sector for many years; then made the switch to non-profit when he became the house manager at Hartford Stage, and later a grant administrator at a private foundation in Manchester.
Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Rhode Island College. An avid tennis player and enthusiast, Steve is also passionate about animal welfare and volunteers with the Danbury Animal Welfare Society. He also enjoys traveling and the arts. Most weekends are now spent renovating and restoring an antique farmhouse in Bethel’s historic downtown, where he lives with his partner and two cats.Close
Bill Andrews, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Bill Andrews joined the Community Foundation in 2018. As Chief Financial Officer, he will support the organization’s strategic plan by ensuring accurate and efficient financial operations to provide timely and transparent information to foundation stakeholders.
Bill is a seasoned finance executive with over 30 years’ experience in a wide range of industries and roles. He has extensive finance and accounting experience especially in financial reporting for companies of varied sizes. Most recently, his accounting and finance experience has been supplemented by roles in operations such as manufacturing, customer relationships, product management and sales.
Bill earned a BBA in accounting from Iona College, an MBA in Finance from the Stern School of Business of New York University and is a CPA. Bill lives in Easton with his wife and youngest son.Close
Jenny W. Holaday
Senior Associate, Finance
Jenny W. Holaday joined Fairfield County’s Community Foundation in 2017 as Staff Accountant. In 2018, she was named Finance Associate for her support in managing and recording the Community Foundation’s investment holdings.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Jenny spent four years providing accounting services for low-income housing sectors. This included services for both the largest multifamily investment firm in the industry, Alden Torch Financial, and the affordable housing properties themselves.
Jenny holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Western State Colorado University, with an Environmental Studies minor. She enjoys using her free time to work as Ambassador for CID Entertainment, executing VIP programs. Her hometown is Wilton, where she currently resides.Close
Sonia Rivera joined Fairfield County’s Community Foundation in 2008, after working in the same position at the Greater Bridgeport Area Foundation for eight years.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Sonia served as an analyst in the Credit Card Department of the Bank of New England in Fairfield. She also served as student loan administrator for the State National Bank of Connecticut.
Sonia earned a degree in computer programming from the New Haven Academy of Business and an Associate’s degree from Housatonic Community College. She serves as treasurer for her church. A native of Puerto Rico, Sonia lives in Bridgeport with her husband and has three children.Close