Connecticut Council for Philanthropy Announces New Board Leadership

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

HARTFORD, CT—At its March board meeting, the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy voted Kathryn Luria (Woodbury), senior vice president of community affairs and director of philanthropy for Webster Bank, as the new board chair, to replace outgoing Chair Judith Meyers, president and CEO of Children’s Fund of Connecticut.

Joining Ms. Luria in CCP’s executive board leadership are Vice Chair Fahd Vahidy (West Hartford), advisor to the Graustein Family Office; and Secretary Judy Rozie-Battle (Glastonbury), senior vice president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Paul Ballasy (Ellington), a partner with CohnReznick LLP, will continue his role as treasurer.

“The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy is delighted to have Kathy Luria as our new board chair,” said CCP President Karla Fortunato. “In addition to her years of philanthropic experience, Kathy brings a rich background in higher education and marketing to bear upon her leadership at CCP.

“I am deeply honored to be nominated and to serve in this capacity,” said Luria. “With a robust programming arm, CCP serves as a source of best practice and learning, bringing philanthropists together for even greater impact.” 

CCP also welcomed six newly elected members to the Board of Directors: Janice L. Elliott (Hamden), executive director of The Melville Charitable Trust; Tiffany S. Donelson (West Hartford), vice president of program for Connecticut Health Foundation; Elaine V. Mintz (Redding), vice president of operations for Fairfield County's Community Foundation; Lauren Patterson (New Canaan), president and CEO of New Canaan Community Foundation; Richard J. Porth (West Hartford), president and CEO of United Way of Connecticut; and Diane Sierpina (Stamford), director of justice initiatives for The Tow Foundation.

“CCP is thrilled to welcome these outstanding philanthropic leaders to its board. We are also grateful to each outgoing director for their service, with deep appreciation to Judith Meyers, president and CEO of Children’s Fund of Connecticut, for chairing the board through a leadership transition. The board and organization have been beneficiaries of her strong leadership,” said Fortunato.

CCP will recognize retiring board members for their service at its upcoming Conference: Disruptive Leadership - Inspiring Strategies for Social Change, on May 16, including: Juanita James, president and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation; Judith Meyers, president and CEO of Children’s Fund of Connecticut; and Chris Traczyk, executive director of Farmington Bank Community Foundation.

Access a complete listing of the CCP’s 15-member Board at

Biographies and photos for CCP’s board leadership and newly elected board members may be found below.

About the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy
The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy is the state’s association of grantmakers. The organization, founded in 1969, is committed to promoting and supporting effective philanthropy for the public good. CCP membership is comprised by foundations, business and corporate giving programs, bank trusts, donor-advised funds, individual philanthropists, and those serving the philanthropic sector. CCP members annually grant more than $1.01 billion from assets of more than $8.4 billion. Learn more at



Karla Fortunato
Connecticut Council for Philanthropy


New CCP Board Leadership Biographies

CCP Board Chair Kathryn Luria, a resident of Woodbury, has been a CCP board member since 2013. She has been chair of CCP’s Membership Committee since 2015, and served on the Governance and Nominating Committee. Luria also sits on the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Connecticut Working Cities Challenge Advisory Council, for which CCP serves as fiscal agent.

Kathryn Luria is the senior vice president of community affairs and director of philanthropy at the corporate headquarters of Webster Bank in Waterbury. In this role, she oversees the corporate philanthropic arm of the organization across the franchise. Luria helps guide the bank toward achieving a key tenant of The Webster Way, to give of ourselves in the communities we serve.

Previously, Luria served as the Director of Continuing Education and Community Services and then Director of Marketing and Public Relations in the CT Community College system at Naugatuck Valley Community College located in Waterbury, CT. With almost 20 years of employment with the College, and now over eleven years serving as Webster’s ambassador to the community, Luria remains a strong advocate and resource throughout the state and the region.

Luria attended the University of Connecticut where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in 1991, and earned an M.B.A. from the University of New Haven in 1999. She serves as an adjunct professor in the School of Business at the University of Connecticut – Waterbury Campus and in the Business Division at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, CT.

CCP Board Vice Chair Fahd Vahidy, a resident of West Hartford, has been a CCP board member since 2014, and is chair of CCP’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

Fahd Vahidy currently serves as a philanthropic advisor to the Graustein Family, with responsibilities ranging from the management of their charitable giving to support of their programmatic initiatives such as the Community Leadership Program. Vahidy has held management and executive management positions in the nonprofit sector. As a consultant, he's advised on programmatic innovation and social enterprise development, interpersonal dynamics, organizational culture, and systems-level advocacy and impact. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Connecticut.

CCP Board Secretary Judith (Judy) Rozie-Battle, a resident of Glastonbury, began serving CCP’s board in 2017, and sits on the on the Governance and Nominating Committee.

Judy Rozie-Battle is the senior vice president at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Rozie-Battle was previously vice president of programs and a senior program officer at the Foundation.

She has previously held several executive positions, including, director, Office of Child Care, Division of Early Childhood Development, Maryland Department of Education; managing attorney, Legal Aid Society of Hartford County; and director of Affirmative Action, Executive Office of Human Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She has taught extensively at Boston University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Rozie-Battle holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s degree from the School of Social Work at the University of Connecticut, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Haven.

CCP Board Treasurer Paul Ballasy, a resident of Ellington, began serving on CCP’s board in 2013. He has served at CCP’s Treasurer since 2017, and chairs the Finance and Investment Committee.

Ballasy is a partner with CohnReznick and co-leads the efforts of the Firm’s Not-for-Profit and Education Industry Practice in New England. Ballasy has more than 28 years’ experience and devotes most of his time servicing not-for-profit and healthcare organizations providing audit, accounting, tax and consulting services. He serves as the lead engagement partner on many of the firm’s largest not for profit clients and has extensive experience with associations, foundations, arts and culture organizations, community health centers and social service agencies.   

Ballasy serves as a resource to professionals both in and outside the firm on the cost standards implemented by the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM).  He has conducted numerous educational seminars on various topics relevant to the not-for-profit community. He is also very active on the CTCPA nonprofit committee which plans the annual nonprofit organizations conference.

Newly Elected CCP Board Member Biographies

CCP Board Member Janice L. Elliott joined the Melville Charitable Trust as its Executive Director in 2012. She brings to the Trust over twenty-five years of innovation and achievement in creating solutions to prevent and end homelessness through systems reform and the creation of affordable and supportive housing.

Before joining the Trust, Elliott led InSite Housing Solutions, a professional consulting firm specializing in the planning and creation of housing solutions. In this capacity, she served as consultant to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and was principal author of Opening Doors Connecticut, a strategic framework for preventing and ending homelessness and the nation’s first state plan to be modeled on the federal Opening Doors initiative.

From 1993-2008 she held leadership positions at the Corporation for Supportive Housing, including Director of its Southern New England program and Managing Director of its national programs. Through this work she led the design of several statewide initiatives that have served as national models for the finance and production of supportive housing. Prior to the Corporation for Supportive Housing she was a project manager for The Community Builders, a national nonprofit developer of affordable housing.

Elliot also serves on the boards of Funders Together to End Homelessness and the Partnership for Strong Communities. She is a graduate of Indiana University and holds a master’s degree from the University of Vermont.

CCP Board Member Tiffany S. Donelson, of West Hartford, is vice president of program for the Connecticut Health Foundation. She sets the foundation’s programmatic strategy, which includes grantmaking, the leadership program, and evaluation. She works to continuously ensure that CT Health’s grantmaking practices are equitable, transparent, and advancing the organization’s strategic objectives. Donelson is a member of several boards and advisory committees, including the board of the United Way of Connecticut, the State Innovation Model Community Health Worker Advisory Council and Quality Council. She also serves on the board of the United Way of Connecticut.

Donelson previously held several leadership roles at Aetna, Inc., including as the deputy chief of staff for Aetna’s National Businesses Office and as a director in corporate strategy. Before joining Aetna, Donelson was a consultant at Ingenix Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers. She received her M.P.H. in health policy and management at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, and her B.S. in biology at Georgetown University.

CCP Board Member Elaine V. Mintz, a resident of Redding, joined Fairfield County’s Community Foundation in 2011 to lead the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and served as the program director for arts and culture before being named vice president of operations in July 2016. Mintz serves as a key liaison to the Fairfield County nonprofit community and is dedicated to strengthening the region’s nonprofit sector. She is responsible for leading the Community Foundation’s human capital management plan and strategic goal setting process.

Mintz 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, Mintz 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 serves as a tri-chair of CCP’s Fairfield County Funders Network and a is member of CCP’s Public Policy Committee. Mintz holds a Master’s degree in public administration and a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut.

CCP Board Member Lauren Patterson, a resident of New Canaan, joined the New Canaan Community Foundation as President & CEO in October 2016. She has worked in community philanthropy for more than a decade, and is passionate about helping families and businesses meet their charitable goals. Most recently, she served as Director of Programs at Washington Area Women’s Foundation where she led the foundation’s grantmaking, advocacy, and research, which focused on the economic security of women and girls. Previously, Patterson managed grantmaking and donor engagement at The Community Foundation for Montgomery County, an affiliate of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. She has worked with or served on many coalitions, cross-sector efforts, and funders collaboratives, including the Early Care & Education Funders Collaborative, the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative, and the Ascend Network of the Aspen Institute. Patterson holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the College of the Holy Cross. She is also a graduate of Princeton AlumniCorps’ Emerging Leaders program.

CCP Board Members Richard J. Porth, of West Hartford, is president and CEO of United Way of Connecticut (UWC). UWC helps to meet the needs of Connecticut residents by providing information, education, and connection to services. UWC furthers its mission by providing a 24/7 toll-free call center to health and human services information through United Way 2-1-1; specialized services in child care, child development and disabilities, and services for people of all ages, including health care access, housing and homeless services, crisis intervention and emergency response. UWC collaborates with local United Ways and Connecticut state agencies to provide these services.

Porth previously served as vice president for grantmaking for the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. In this capacity, he managed the broad-based, responsive part of the Hartford Foundation’s grantmaking, which awards grants to a broad range of community agencies throughout the region. Before joining the Foundation in 2003, Porth also served as the executive director of the Capitol Region Council of Governments for more than nine years. In his work for the mayors and first selectmen of the Hartford region, and the cities and towns they represent, he collaborated with business, civic, and government leaders to advocate and implement regional solutions to regional challenges. One area of focus for Rick was promoting better access to opportunity for people living in low-income neighborhoods. He is a graduate of Yale University and holds an MPA from Pennsylvania State University.

CCP Board Member Diane Sierpina, a resident of Stamford, joined The Tow Foundation in 1998 and currently serves as the director of justice initiatives. She is responsible for the Foundation’s criminal justice reform strategy and investments, which average more than $5 million a year. Sierpina has been an advocate of evidence-based, youth-centered justice system reform in Connecticut, New York and nationally through her leadership roles with the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, the New York Juvenile Justice Initiative, and the Youth Transition Funders Group (YTFG). Sierpina is a member of YTFG’s Steering Committee and co-chair of YTFG’s Youth Justice Work Group. Prior to joining the Foundation, Sierpina was a newspaper and magazine journalist covering government, politics, and social issues.

Sierpina is the founding tri-chair of the Program Officers Network of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy (CCP) and served previously on CCP’s Public Policy Committee. In May 2017, Sierpina was honored by her peers with CCP’s Martha S. Newman Award in recognition of her exemplary service to the philanthropic sector in the state. She is also an active member of Philanthropy New York. She earned a B.S. in Journalism summa cum laude from Boston University.

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