Juanita T. James, President & CEO
Juanita T. James joined the Community Foundation in 2011. She previously served as chief marketing and communications officer for Pitney Bowes Inc. Prior to Pitney Bowes, she held key roles at Time Warner, Inc. and Bertelsmann, Inc.
Juanita is a director of the Asbury Automotive Group and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a corporator for First County Bank, a trustee of the University of Connecticut and Lesley University in Cambridge, and a trustee emerita of Princeton University. Her long history of leadership and volunteer service with local and national nonprofits has been recognized with numerous awards, including the NAACP “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut,” the Stamford Public Education Foundation “Excellence in Education,” Moffly Media “Light a Fire,” and Stamford “Citizen of the Year.”
Juanita holds a master’s degree in business policy from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business Program, and a bachelor’s degree in romance languages from Princeton University. She lives in Stamford with her husband. They have one son.
Contact Juanita: firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen R. Brown, Vice President, Innovation and Strategic Learning
Karen joined the Community Foundation in 1998. She is responsible for keeping us abreast of trends and best practices in the community foundation sector, and promoting learning, innovation and thought leadership.
She is a board member of Social Venture Partners Connecticut, the Support Center for Nonprofit Management, and serves on the program committee for the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, the steering committee for the Fairfield County Collaborative Fund for Affordable Housing, and the Connecticut committee of the Regional Plan Association.
Karen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University, and holds a master’s degree in public and nonprofit administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. She co-founded the Wagner Alumni in Philanthropy Network. She received the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy’s Martha S. Newman Award for sustained and exemplary staff performance at a Connecticut foundation.
Contact Karen: KBrown@FCCFoundation.org
Alexis Bivens, Director of Thrive by 25
Alexis joined the Community Foundation in 2013. She is director of Thrive by 25, a community leadership initiative working to reduce the number of unemployed 16-24 year olds in Fairfield County. In her role, she will be responsible for developing and leading this critical initiative in partnership with community partners and Community Foundation teams.
Alexis received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Eastern Connecticut State University and her master’s degree in community counseling from Fairfield University. Her previous work experience includes teaching under-credited high school students, facilitating trainings and workshops on youth development strategies, as well as program assessment.
Alexis lives in Hamden with her family.
Contact Alexis: ABivens@FCCFoundation.org
Sharon Jones, Program Administrative Assistant
Sharon joined the Community Foundation in 2008. She previously served as Nursing Scheduler for Family Care Visiting Nurse Agency, and Office Manager for Bindi Desserts, Inc.
As an administrative assistant, Sharon provides administrative support to the program staff.
She lives in Norwalk with her son, Cameron, and her daughter, Jade.
Contact Sharon: SJones@FCCFoundation.org
Julian Pierce, Program Associate
Julian joined the Community Foundation in 2017. He is the Program Associate 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 non-profits 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.
Contact Julian: JPierce@FCCFoundation.org
Clifton Watson, Education and Youth Development Program Manager
Clifton Watson is a native of New Haven and graduate of James Hillhouse High School. Clifton joined the Foundation in 2017 after serving as the Director of the African American Male Initiative at the Children’s Aid Society. Clifton has taught on the collegiate level and has managed public education and youth development initiatives at Grand Street Settlement, Prep for Prep, and the Center for Supportive Schools.
Clifton holds a B.A in Africana Studies from the University of Connecticut and a doctorate in history from Fordham University.
Contact Clifton: CWatson@FCCFoundation.org
Elaine V. Mintz, Vice President of Operations
Elaine joined the Foundation in 2011 to lead the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and also served as the Program Director for Arts and Culture before being named Vice President of Operations in July 2016. Elaine serves as a key liaison to the Fairfield County nonprofit community and is dedicated to strengthening the region’s nonprofit sector. Elaine is responsible for leading the Community Foundation’s human capital management plan and strategic goal setting process.
Elaine brings a variety of work experiences in the nonprofit and public sector. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the director of the Greater Danbury Nonprofit Resource Center providing training, consulting and volunteers for nonprofit organizations in northern Fairfield County. She led the Greater Danbury Nonprofit Resource Center from its inception in 2005 to its merger with the Community Foundation in 2011. Prior to her nonprofit work, Elaine served at the state level as a research consultant with the Office of Policy & Management and as a staff member to the Appropriations Committee with the CT General Assembly. She also served as an adjunct faculty member in the Political Science Department at Norwalk Community College.
Elaine holds a Master’s degree in public administration and a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut.
Contact Elaine: EMintz@FCCFoundation.org
Adhlere Coffy, Data Scientist
Adhlere joined the Foundation as a data analyst in 2016. In this new role, Adhlere is advancing the Community Foundation’s collection, use, and visualization of data across all departments. He works cross-departmentally to create dashboards and reports to inform organizational decision making.
His background includes a Master of Science from NYU in Applied Urban Science & Informatics, A BS in Aerospace Engineering from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, with a minor in mathematics, and experience in STATA, R, SQL, and Tableau. Adhlere comes from the private sector, having worked as an aero-thermal design and analysis engineer for clients ranging from Pratt & Whitney to the Department of Defense. Adhlere was born and raised in Bridgeport, where he currently resides. He shares a deep commitment to the community.
Contact Adhlere: ACoffy@FCCFoundation.org
RJ Mercede, Center for Nonprofit Excellence Manager
RJ joined the Community Foundation in 2014. Previously, he traveled the country for over 20 months with AmeriCorps, fighting off blackberry vines, constructing Habitat for Humanity homes and tilling the roots for a youth-led community garden. He worked with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, and most recently served as the Bridgeport Program Manager with Public Allies Connecticut. There he coached, trained and empowered emerging, diverse leaders in the nonprofit sector, and was recognized in 2014 as “Professional of the Year” by the Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative.
When RJ is not busy managing our Fairfield County’s Giving Day and other Center for Nonprofit Excellence endeavors, he is an active board member with the Springdale Neighborhood Association and serves as a Citizen Adviser to the Ferguson Library's Board of Trustees. He also coaches emerging nonprofit leaders with Leadership Development Roundtable. In 2015, he was recognized with a “Milli Award” by Westfair Communications for his outstanding contributions to Fairfield County.
RJ earned two degrees in criminal justice, a Bachelor’s from Stonehill College, and a Master’s degree from Northeastern University. His hometown is Stamford, where he now lives with his wife.
Contact RJ: RMercede@FCCFoundation.org
Marie E. Pronesti, Office Administrator
Marie joined the Foundation in 2013, bringing 20 years of experience in office management, client service and project management. She most recently worked for Susquehanna International Group in Stamford, and previously worked at Investment Management Institute, UBS and PaineWebber.
Marie earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Haven and a master’s Degree in divinity from Trinity School for ministry.
An active member of Stanwich Congregational Church in Greenwich, Marie lives in Norwalk.
Contact Marie: MPronesti@FCCFoundation.org
The Fund for Women and Girls
Tricia A. Hyacinth, Director
Tricia joined the Community Foundation in 2012. She previously served as program manager for community engagement at a nonprofit in Hartford, an academic administrator and instructor, and a corporate marketing consultant.
Tricia offers extensive experience working with volunteers, and organizing and executing large-scale service events.
She holds an MBA in marketing/management from the University of Connecticut and degrees in political science. She enjoys traveling and lives in Monroe with her family.
Contact Tricia: THyacinth@FCCFoundation.org
Alex Quesada, The Fund for Women and Girls Associate
Alex joined the Community Foundation in 2013. She provides administrative support for the Fund for Women and Girls and helps coordinate events. She previously served as an associate for the American Cancer Society, Inc.
Alex holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut, and an associate degree from Norwalk Community College. She lives in Norwalk with her family.
Contact Alex: AQuesada@FCCFoundation.org
Khalilah Johnson, The Fund for Women and Girls Administrative Assistant
Khalilah joined the Community Foundation in 2017. She supports the fund in an administrative capacity. She most recently worked for 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.
Contact Khalilah: KJohnson@FCCFoundation.org
Donor Services & Development
Kristy Jelenik, Development Director
Kristy joined the Foundation in 2013. She previously served as director of development for Family Centered Services of Connecticut and has more than 15 years of nonprofit and fund development experience in NY and CT.
She works with Foundation donors and fundholders to grow their charitable giving and introduce them to new opportunities to make an impact with their philanthropy. Kristy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs and Development from Hunter College. She is an active volunteer in Fairfield where she lives with her two children and husband.
Contact Kristy: KJelenik@FCCFoundation.org
Carole S. Schwartz, Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager
Carole joined the Community Foundation in 2013. She previously served as director of corporate and foundation relations at Inspirica (formerly St. Luke’s LifeWorks) in Stamford, and as manager of donor communications at Save the Children.
Carole also brings 20 years of managerial and consulting experience in companies such as Citicorp/Citibank, Juran Institute, and Development Dimensions International. She holds a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in psychology and sociology from the State University of New York.
Carole lives in Wilton with her family, where she has held key board and volunteer positions with the Trackside Teen Center, Wilton Education Foundation, Wilton PTA/PTSA, and the Wilton Newcomers Club.
Contact Carole: CSchwartz@FCCFoundation.org
Nancy Tartaglia, Gift Planning and Stewardship Manager
Nancy joined the Community Foundation in 2015. Previously, she served as a planned giving officer in the development department of Fairfield University following an extensive career in banking, focusing on financial planning and wealth management.
Nancy was a VP and trust officer at BNY Mellon, formerly Putnam Trust, where she developed relationships in the Greenwich, Southport and Westport communities. Throughout her executive career, Nancy remained involved with community causes including Greenwich Special Olympics where she served as local coordinator. She was a leader in Putnam Trust’s United Way campaign, served on the Finance Committee for the American Red Cross in Fairfield, and volunteered at the Southport Women’s Exchange.
She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College and has a paralegal certification in Trust and Estate Administration from The Institute for Paralegal Training. She acquired a certified Financial Services Counsellor accreditation from the American Bankers Association National Graduate Trust School. Nancy lives in Fairfield with her husband, Ronald Lowe, and they are avid golfers and active volunteers at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.
Contact Nancy: NTartaglia@fccfoundation.org
Steve Aubin, Donor Services Associate
Steve joined the Foundation in 2014. He previously served as a grant administrator at the SBM Charitable Foundation in Manchester, Connecticut, and as a house manager at Hartford Stage.
Steve works with the Foundation’s donors and fund holders and manages the grant disbursement process for donor advised. He also administers the Foundation’s Scholarship Program.
He 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 at the Danbury Animal Welfare Society. He also enjoys traveling and the arts. He currently lives in Danbury and has a cat named Finn.
Contact Steve: SAubin@FCCFoundation.org
Alison Riith, Knowledge Associate
Alison joined the Foundation in April of 2012. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from Fairfield University. Alison is an active member of the Well Spouse Association and she is passionate about support services for people with disabilities and their caregivers. Alison is also a tiny home enthusiast. She lives in her hometown of Norwalk with her husband, Michael, and their cat, Arthus.
Contact Alison: ARiith@FCCFoundation.org
Tiana Randretsanilo, Development and Finance Assistant
Tiana joined the Community Foundation in 2013. She previously served as the office coordinator at Levco Energy in Stamford.
Tiana is a Norwalk resident and speaks English, Malagasy and French. She received her degree in science from Ecole Paul Minault in Madagascar, and studied physics and chemistry at University of Galati in Romania, University of Lausanne in Switzerland, and Ecole D'Ingenieurs de Geneve in Switzerland.
Contact Tiana: TRandretsanilo@FCCFoundation.org
Marketing & Communications
Beth DeMarte, Director of Marketing and Communications
Beth oversees the Foundation’s integrated marketing and communications strategic initiatives, as well our brand architecture. She has served as Vice President of Marketing & Communications for a global services organization and has held Mar Com management roles in the travel, technology and financial sectors. As an award-winning marketer, Beth brings extensive professional expertise to the Foundation in the areas of brand evolution, content curation, customer experience, advertising, social media amplification, PR innovation, and project leadership. Beth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Lehigh University, where she also minored in American Literature. She has a strong passion for community service, having been on the Leadership Board of the American Lung Association of Metro New York and a member of the Bronxville (NY) Junior League. Beth currently serves as a Board member for the Lehigh University Westchester & Fairfield Alumni Group and for the Leadership Board of the American Lung Association of Westchester & Fairfield Counties.
Contact Beth: BDemarte@FCCFoundation.org
Joseph R. Baker, MBA, Chief Financial Officer
Joe joined the Community Foundation in 2011 as Vice President of Finance & Administration and was named Chief Financial Officer in July 2017. He oversees the foundation’s $200 million investment portfolio, and all financial management and reporting for the P&L, balance sheet, audit and accounting activities. He came to the foundation with 25 years experience in nonprofit finance, investments, fundraising, and development of community initiatives. In his previous position as director of finance and administration at the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, he managed finances, investments and administration for the foundation. In previous positions, Joe created a parent-run community initiative, served as executive director of the United Way of Meriden and Wallingford, and co-executive director of Fellowship Place in New Haven.
Joe received his bachelor’s degree in Economics and Spanish from Colby College and his master’s degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Organization and Management, where he was awarded a Patricia Roberts Harris Public Service Fellowship. Joe chairs the Northeast CFO group of community foundation finance professionals.
A longtime resident of North Haven, Joe teaches Sunday school at his church. He enjoys succulent gardening and exercising. Joseph and his wife, Carmen, have three children.
Contact Joseph: JBaker@FCCFoundation.org
Curline Bell, Finance Manager
Curline joined the Community Foundation in 2013. She Hold a bachelor’s Degree in accounting from Lehman College. She brings an extensive accounting knowledge and experience from corporate companies in her native island of Jamaica.
Prior to joining the foundation she worked for Save the Children in Westport and the Hilton Stamford Hotel, where she focused on payroll and income audit.
She is an active member of her church and has a passion for Healthful Living. Curline lives in Stamford with her family.
Contact Curline: CBell@FCCFoundation.org
Sonia Rivera, Finance Assistant
Sonia joined the Foundation in 2008 after working in the same position at the Greater Bridgeport Area Foundation for eight years. She previously served as an analyst in credit card collections for the Bank of New England in Fairfield.
Sonia earned a degree in computer programming from the New Haven Academy of Business and an associate 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 their three children.
Contact Sonia: SRivera@FCCFoundation.org
Renee Tucker, Controller
Renee joined the Community Foundation in 2017. She most recently served as the Controller for Waveny LifeCare Network in New Canaan. Prior to Waveny, Renee has had many years of Accounting & Finance experience, mostly in small to medium size firms in the public and private sector. Renee holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting from Iona College in New Rochelle, NY.
Renee is a resident of Eastchester, NY, for the past 15 years and the Chairperson for her towns’ Swim Across America event which raises money for cancer research. Renee enjoys cooking in her spare time. Renee and her husband have one daughter & two dogs.
Contact Renee: RTucker@FCCFoundation.org