Connecticut Council for Philanthropy Elects New Leadership

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

(HARTFORD, CT) The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, Connecticut’s association of grantmakers committed to promoting and supporting effective philanthropy, elected four new board members and officers to serve the nonprofit organization.

Paul Ballasy, CohnReznick LLP (Farmington), Linda Franciscovich, Executive Director, The Grossman Family Foundation (Cos Cob and Westport), Michael Johnston, CEO, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (Bloomfield and West Hartford) and Kathy Luria, Vice President Community Affairs, Webster Bank (Waterbury) were elected to join the 22-member board of directors at the March 2013 annual meeting. (see bios below) The Council’s board represents a diverse range of grantmaking institutions and community representatives from across the state.

The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy also welcomed Judith Meyers, Executive Director of the Children’s Fund of Connecticut (Farmington) and Robert (Bob) Haggett, of Newman’s Own Foundation (Farmington and Westport) as the newly elected board secretary and treasurer, respectively.

Officers continuing for a second year are: Chair—Kim Healey of NewAlliance Foundation; and Vice Chair—Sue Murphy of Liberty Bank Foundation.

You can access a complete listing of the Council’s Board at

The Council also recognized retiring board members for their service to the organization: Glenn Cassis, African-American Affairs Commission; Lori Lindfors, formerly of Citizens Bank; Pat McGowan, CohnReznick LLP; and Anita Ford Saunders, Yankee Gas.

About the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy
The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy is a statewide association of foundations, corporate programs and other funds whose mission is to promote and support effective philanthropy in Connecticut. With members representing more than 105 private and community foundations, federated funds, corporate foundations and giving programs, the Council is Connecticut’s foremost resource on philanthropy. The organization benefits the larger grantmaking community, the nonprofit sector and the public in the State. For more information about the Council go to

New Board Members Bios

Paul Ballasy, Partner, CohnReznick LLP
Paul R. Ballasy, CPA, is a partner with CohnReznick and co-leads the efforts of the Firm’s Not-for-Profit and Education Industry Practice in New England. Paul has more than 20 years of experience and spends most of his time servicing nonprofit audit engagements and closely–held corporations.

Paul was one of two CPAs who served on the Connecticut Nonprofit Human Service Cabinet; a group that was instrumental in the development of the new cost standards implemented by the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM). He has conducted numerous educational seminars on the new cost standards for the not-for-profit community.

Paul is a graduate of University of Connecticut: Bachelor of Science, Accounting. He is on the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits’ board of directors and was formerly vice president of Mutual Housing Association of Greater Hartford, Inc. Paul is a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Linda Franciscovich, Executive Director, The Grossman Family Foundation
Linda R. Franciscovich is the Executive Director of The Grossman Family Foundation, a newly formed foundation based in Cos Cob, dedicated to improving educational and health outcomes for children aged birth to eight and their families in Fairfield County.

Over the last 25 years, she has advised high net worth families in all areas of philanthropy, including gift planning and the creation of philanthropic vehicles, mission and program development, governance, and succession planning.  Prior to joining The Grossman Family Foundation she held positions as Vice President of Development and Philanthropic Services at the Fairfield County Community Foundation, and Managing Director of Private Philanthropy at U.S. Trust Company. She is an attorney admitted to practice in New York State. 

She has served as a Director of NYRAG, National Center on Family Philanthropy, National Institute for Reproductive Health, and the Westport Public Library. She is currently a Director of The Berthe M. Cote Foundation. Linda and her husband George live in Westport.   

Michael Johnston, CEO, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford
Michael Johnston joined the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (JCF) as President and CEO in February of 2012. JCF is a center of Jewish philanthropy dedicated to assisting individuals and families to create meaningful personal legacies and empowering donors to convert generous ideas into deliberate and impactful action.

Prior to joining the Jewish Community Foundation, Michael served as CEO of the United Way of Western Connecticut. While there, he was instrumental in re-visioning the United Way’s mission and strategy, including the launch of special initiatives in childhood obesity, early childhood education and family financial stability. Under Michael’s leadership, the United Way of Western Connecticut received the Grant Professional Association’s national award for a creative social media fundraising campaign called Take Five to Give Five and significantly increased non-workplace based individual giving for the United Way’s initiative efforts.

Before he found his calling in the world of philanthropy, Mr. Johnston spent more than 20 years working in the financial services industry. His experiences included serving as Chief Financial/Chief Operating Officer for two innovative, early-stage venture-capital backed e-commerce companies, leadership roles at GE Capital in both New York and Stamford and research and investment banking roles for several Wall Street firms. Michael began his career working as an economic analyst for the Department of City Planning of the City of New York.

Michael currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut and the advisory board of Drew University's Center for Civic Engagement. He has held volunteer leadership roles at several synagogues and has been an active volunteer with soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and mentoring programs in a number of communities. Michael is also a certified companion for the terminally ill through the Doula to Accompany and Comfort Program run by the Shira Ruskay Center of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services in New York City.

Michael holds an MBA and a Master of Urban Planning from New York University, and a BA in Political Science from Drew University. He currently lives in Bloomfield, Connecticut with his wife Corinne and has a daughter Andrea (a senior at Muhlenberg College).

Kathryn (Kathy) Luria, Vice President Community Affairs, Webster Bank
For the past six years, Kathy Luria has served as Vice President of Community Affairs at the corporate headquarters of Webster Bank in Waterbury, CT. In this role, she oversees the corporate philanthropic arm of the bank through donations and sponsorships and leads volunteer initiatives across a four state footprint. Kathy helps guide the company toward fulfilling their mission: to give of ourselves in the communities we serve.

Previously, Kathy served as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) since 1998. Prior to her role as Marketing Director, she served the college as Director of Community Services, and established job opportunities with area businesses as a job developer with Cooperative Education. With almost 20 years of employment with the College, Ms. Luria remains a strong advocate and leader in support of community colleges locally, statewide, and nationally.

Kathy attended the University of Connecticut where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in 1991, and continued on to earn an M.B.A. from the University of New Haven in 1999.  She currently serves as an adjunct professor in the School of Business at the University of Connecticut - Waterbury.

Ms. Luria is a board member for the Hartford-based Governors Prevention Partnership, CT Women’s Hall of Fame, United Way Campership Fund, and is vice-chair of the Naugatuck Valley Community College Foundation. In addition, Kathy is a member of the Greater Waterbury Safe Haven Advisory Council, voting member of the United Way of Greater Waterbury; advises the City of Waterbury Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness Leadership Council and helped form and then chaired the Stamford-based Women’s Business Development Council Naugatuck Valley Advisory Board where she remains in an advisory capacity.



Laurie Allen
Communication Manager

Websites: | | Council for Philanthropy Elects New Leadership

Find More By

News type