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 joined the Community Foundation in 2011. As President & CEO, she is responsible for advancing the organization’s mission of promoting philanthropy to create systemic change in Fairfield County, fostering a vital and inclusive community where every individual has the opportunity to thrive
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Juanita served as Pitney Bowes’ Chief Marketing & Communications Officer and enjoyed a 20-year career with Time Warner and Bertelsmann. She is currently a Director for Asbury Automotive Group, First County Bank, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy and CFLEADS (Community Foundations Leading Change). She is also a Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at Lesley University, a Trustee Emerita of Princeton University and a former Trustee of the University of Connecticut. Juanita has been recognized with numerous honors including Stamford Citizen of the Year and Moffly Media’s Light a Fire Award, and has been named one of Savoy’s Most Influential Black Corporate Directors and one of the NAACP’s 100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut.
Juanita earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a master’s degree in Business Policy from Columbia 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. Juanita lives in Stamford with her husband Dudley Williams Jr., who is also an active community leader.
Contact Juanita: Mkulis@fccfoundation.org
Karen R. Brown joined the 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 Community Foundation’s Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Learning, Karen is responsible for keeping its staff and board informed of trends and best practices in the rapidly changing community foundation and philanthropy sectors; and for promoting internal learning, innovation and external thought leadership, especially in the Community Foundation’s priority program areas of economic opportunity and education/youth development. Karen also works closely with a cadre of donor advised fundholders to provide philanthropic advisory services.
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.
Contact Karen: KBrown@FCCFoundation.org
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 Vice President of Community Impact, 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 passionate about entrepreneurship, maternal and reproductive health advocacy and mental health awareness. Mendi lives with her husband in her hometown of New Haven where, in her spare time, she loves trying new recipes.
Contact Mendi: MBluefirstname.lastname@example.org
Julian joined the 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.
Contact Julian: JPierce@FCCFoundation.org
Sharon Jones joined the 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.
Contact Sharon: SJones@FCCFoundation.org
Khalilah joined the Community Foundation in 2017. As an Administrative Assistant, Khalilah is responsible for supporting the Community Impact Team’s work to close the opportunity gap in Fairfield County.
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.
Contact Khalilah: KJohnson@FCCFoundation.org
RJ Mercede joined the Community Foundation in 2014. As Manager of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, RJ is responsible for the strategy and execution of the Community Foundation’s capacity building support to grantees and other nonprofits in our region. This work includes managing the annual Fairfield County’s Giving Day campaign.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, RJ served as the Bridgeport Program Manager with Public Allies Connecticut, building the capacity of nonprofits in Fairfield County and coaching the next wave of nonprofit leadership. He is also a proud three-time AmeriCorps Alum. RJ was acknowledged as a News 12 Connecticut Hometown Hero in 2016, received a Westfair Communications’ Milli Award in 2015 and a Professional of the Year award at the Bridgeport ReEntry Awards in 2014, and was featured in Stamford Magazine.
RJ holds a Master’s Degree from Northeastern University, a Bachelor’s Degree from Stonehill College and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Connecticut. He lives in his hometown, Stamford, with his partner Erin, and is an active board member with several Stamford nonprofits.
Contact RJ: RMercede@FCCFoundation.org
Tricia joined the Community Foundation in 2012. She’s held positions of Associate and Manager. In 2016, she assumed the role of Director of Fund for Women & Girls. As Director, Tricia oversees the Fund’s grantmaking portfolio, Family Economic Security Program housed at Housatonic Community College, annual fundraiser and thought leadership initiatives that advance gender equity; and is responsible for increasing the Fund’s visibility.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Tricia served as Program Manager of Community Engagement at Hands On Hartford, an affiliate of the national Hands On Network. She has extensive experience engaging and managing volunteers and executing large-scale service projects. In May 2018, Tricia was awarded the Excellence in Public Service Award for her contribution in the area of philanthropy on behalf of the Milford Connecticut Chapter of Links, Inc.
Tricia holds an MBA from the University of Connecticut. She is a longtime resident of Monroe who enjoys travel and organic gardening. She is Board Secretary and a community garden captain for the Bridgeport-based Green Village Initiative.
Contact Tricia: THyacinth@FCCFoundation.org
Alex joined the Community Foundation in 2013. As a Fund for Women and Girls Associate, Alex manages the Fund’s competitive grantmaking portfolio, and is also responsible for coordinating events and providing development support.
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.
Contact Alex: AQuesada@FCCFoundation.org
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.
Contact Elaine: EMintz@FCCFoundation.org
Tara joined the Community Foundation in 2017. As Human Resources Manager, 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, benefits and more. 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 an Associates Degree from Baker College 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.
Contact Tara: TBerlingo@fccfoundation.org
Adhlere joined the Community Foundation in September of 2016. As a Data Scientist, Adhlere is responsible for both the digital and data infrastructures of the Community Foundation. Adhlere manages the organization’s I.T. environment, vendors, and the advancement of how the Community Foundation utilizes technology to achieve its strategic goals. Adhlere is also responsible for data the organization collects and uses from various sources (e.g. grantees, social media, public datasets). Combining this data with the Result Based Accountability (RBA) framework allows Adhlere to oversee the creation of databases, tools, and supportive materials that contribute to the organizational mission of closing the opportunity gap in Fairfield County.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Adhlere served as a Senior Lead Aerothermal Design and Analysis Engineer for a consulting firm in Cincinnati, OH. In this position, he used advanced data analysis techniques to conduct performance evaluations of various propulsion and power generation systems for clients ranging from Siemens to the Department of Defense. As a result of his engineering work, Adhlere has patents in mechanical design and heat transfer analysis methods.
Adhlere holds two Master’s degrees in Data Science and Applied Urban Science & Informatics from New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. Adhlere currently lives in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he was born and raised. He is very active in the community, sitting on the Action Council of Bridgeport Generation Now! and volunteering in the community gardens of Green Village Initiative.
Contact Adhlere: ACoffy@FCCFoundation.org
Marie joined the Community Foundation in 2013. As Office Administrator, Marie is responsible for oversight of the front office, office equipment, facilities, assisting the Vice President of Operations and Human Resources Manager with various projects and overseeing conference room usage.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Marie served as Office Manager at Susquehanna International Group, completing the buildout of their Stamford Branch and managing two floors. Before that, Marie was an Assistant Vice President at Kidder Peabody, PaineWebber and UBS Financial Services. Marie was promoted to Assistant Vice President at Kidder Peabody for customer service excellence.
Marie holds a Master’s of Divinity from Trinity School of Ministry in Pennsylvania. She lives in Norwalk, and enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling and the beach. Marie also serves as Associate Pastor of a church in Redding.
Contact Marie: MPronesti@FCCFoundation.org
Revenue Generation & Business Development
Mike Rosen joined Fairfield County’s Community Foundation in May 2018 as Chief Revenue and Business Development Officer, a new role for the organization. Mike leads an integrated development and marketing communications team focused on cultivating new partnerships for co-investment in our community impact work, driving new revenue opportunities, and continuing the stewardship and expansion of our donor base and endowment.
Mike previously served on the leadership team of Keep America Beautiful, the Stamford-based national community improvement nonprofit, as Chief Marketing Officer. During his tenure, he oversaw a comprehensive revitalization of the marketing and communications infrastructure, updated brand positioning, enhanced organizational culture and led revenue generation initiatives. Earlier, Mike spent 20 years building two integrated marketing and public relations firms, where he represented some of the largest brands in the world, including 1-800-FLOWERS.com, The Body Shop, Brookstone, Burger King, Callaway Golf, Frito-Lay, Hasbro, Henkel, JCPenney, L’Oreal USA, Maybelline, PepsiCo, Revlon, Vistaprint and more.
A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, Mike began his career in 1993 working for the New York State Department of State before joining the campaign of New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Mike lives in Southbury with his wife, Beth, and their children, Eli and Amelia, where he serves as a member of the Town of Southbury Board of Selectmen.
Contact Mike: MRosen@FCCFoundation.org
Kristy joined the Community Foundation in 2013. As Vice President, Kristy is responsible for leading, planning, and implementing the Community Foundation’s development efforts to grow revenue in order to sustain and expand Community Impact efforts throughout Fairfield County. She works closely with Community Foundation donors, fundholders and partners to help execute their charitable giving and introduce them to new opportunities to make an impact with their philanthropy.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Kristy spent nearly 20 years in public sector fund development roles in New York and Connecticut; and brings a variety of experience in major gift, corporate and foundation fundraising, board development, strategic planning and donor communications. She most recently served as Development Director at Family Centered Services CT in New Haven, and has held leadership positions at HEART and the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Kristy provided development consulting services for the Public Service Scholars Program at Hunter College-CUNY, and is a Leadership Development Roundtable (LDR) Fellow alumni.
Kristy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs and Planning from Hunter College-CUNY. She is an active volunteer in Fairfield, where she lives with her two children and husband.
Contact Kristy: KJelenik@FCCFoundation.org
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 that focused on financial planning and wealth management. As Director of Gift Planning and Philanthropic Services, Nancy serves as subject matter expert for complex gifts and fund issues and as liaison to the Community Foundation’s Professional Advisors Network.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, 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.
Nancy holds a degree from Ithaca College and 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, where they are avid golfers and active volunteers at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.
Contact Nancy: NTartaglia@fccfoundation.org
Steve joined the Community Foundation in 2014 and currently works with the Community Foundation’s donors and fund holders to manage the grant disbursement process for donor advised, agency, and designated funds. He also manages and administers the Community Foundation’s Competitive Scholarship 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.
Contact Steve: SAubin@FCCFoundation.org
Alison joined the Community Foundation in 2012. As Knowledge Associate, Alison is responsible for research and reporting to support the Community Foundation’s revenue and business development.
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 is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Connecticut. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration 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.
Contact Alison: ARiith@FCCFoundation.org
Tiana joined the Community Foundation in 2013. She provides administrative support to both the Development and Finance departments, and acts as liaison for overlapping functions. She also manages the gift processing and acknowledgement function for all gifts.
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.
Contact Tiana: TRandretsanilo@FCCFoundation.org
Beth joined the Community Foundation in 2016. As Director of Marketing & Communications, she oversees brand strategies and integrated campaigns. In support of the Community Foundation’s strategic goals, Beth leads staff, agencies and cross-functional teams to innovate and deliver communications programs that grow partnerships, promote charitable giving and advance donor, partner, and community engagement.
Prior to joining FCCF Beth served as Vice President of Marketing & Communications for a global travel organization, leading a domestic and international team. Her career is highlighted with award-winning, results-driven marketing communications programs spanning the travel, information technology and financial services sectors.
Beth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Lehigh University, along with a minor in American Literature. She is a long-time volunteer with local chapters of the American Lung Association, where she has also held board positions. In her spare time Beth pursues her passions for animals, books, and movies of all kinds; she’s at home wherever there is sand and surf.
Contact Beth: BDemarte@FCCFoundation.org
Brynne joined the Community Foundation in 2018. As part of the marketing team, Brynne works to support the Community Foundation’s full array of branding and integrated marketing initiatives. She manages social media platforms to increase presence and growth; assists in evolving the Community Foundation’s website and drive-to-web strategies; and supports design needs for print and online deliverables.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Brynne served as a Digital Marketing Specialist for Carbonfoot Medical. While there, she designed and executed marketing strategies that included SEO, paid search advertising programs, email marketing, social media growth and social media optimization, website analytics and improvement of customer conversation rates.
Brynne holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Journalism from Fairfield University and graduated cum laude. Originally from NJ, Brynne now lives in Stamford. She enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with her family down at the Jersey shore.
Contact Brynne: BBartiromo@fccfoundation.org
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 $220 million in investment portfolios, and all financial management and reporting for the P&L, balance sheet, audit and accounting activities.
Joe came to the foundation with 25 years of 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 as 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
Jenny 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.
Contact Jenny: JHoladay@fccfoundation.org
Sonia 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.
Contact Sonia: SRivera@FCCFoundation.org
Renee joined the Community Foundation in 2017. As Controller, Renee is responsible for the day-to-day finance department and Community Foundation needs.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Renee served as Controller/Assistant Controller for various nonprofit and for-profit companies for many years.
Renee holds a BBA in Accounting from Iona College. She is currently her local Swim Across America’s chairperson to raise awareness for cancer research. She resides in Eastchester with her husband and three dogs, and enjoys family activities and cooking.
Contact Renee: RTucker@FCCFoundation.org