Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation Hires Executive Director, Begins Recruiting Volunteers

The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation has hired a part-time executive director, and has begun the process of identifying members of the community who might serve on a distribution committee to examine needs in the community resulting from the tragedy of 12/14. The foundation has been charged with overseeing the donations received for and disbursed from The Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

The foundation has appointed Jennifer Barahona as its part-time executive director. A native and lifelong resident of Connecticut, Ms Barahona is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and the School of Social Work at Columbia University.

She is a licensed clinical social worker who has spent the majority of her career in nonprofit management and leadership roles.

During her 13-year tenure at Family & Children’s Agency in Norwalk she served as director of youth services and was an integral member of the team assigned to assist with the recovery efforts and follow-up work with families in Connecticut who lost loved ones on 9/11.

“This is a critical time for the foundation and we are pleased to have someone of Jennifer’s caliber in place to work with the board as we examine the most pressing needs of the community,” said Dr Charles Herrick, chairman of the board of directors of the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc. “Accessing her skills on a part-time basis strikes the necessary balance of limiting administrative costs while managing the many tasks involved with running a responsible and responsive community foundation,” added Dr Herrick.

Ms Barahona’s primary responsibilities will include managing the day-to-day operations of the foundation, supporting the board as it oversees disbursements, facilitating the solicitation of input from the community, and establishing the long-term sustainability of the fund.

“I look forward to working with the board as it forms the community distribution committee and working with that committee as it examines the needs of the community,” said Ms Barahona. “I think my experience in nonprofit management, grant writing, and community engagement will serve the foundation well as we move into this important phase.”


Openings For Volunteers

The distribution committee will make recommendations to the foundation board of directors regarding the release of funds from The Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Close to $4 million is available to help with short-term and long-term needs. An additional $7.7 million has already been distributed to the families most impacted by the tragedy.

The foundation is seeking community members who would be available to volunteer for service on a distribution committee to make funding recommendations for The Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

Distribution committee members must possess integrity, an ability to appreciate perspectives from a range of stakeholders or affinity groups, while also displaying the ability to think broadly about the needs of others. Members must have ability and desire to address both short- and long-term needs in the community that have and will continue to result from the tragedy of 12/14.

There will be eight to 12 members of the committee. The majority of the committee must be made up of Newtown residents, or have the ability to represent the perspectives of the following groups:

*Families who lost a loved one in the Sandy Hook School shooting;

*Families whose children survived the classrooms most directly affected;

*Families who have children in Sandy Hook Elementary School;

*Teachers/school personnel;

*First responders (police, fire, EMS);

*Residents of Newtown;

*Faith community; and

*Business community.

Skill sets may also include mental health experience, finance, nonprofit experience, educational expertise, and legal experience.

The foundation is committed to having a transparent and community-involved process for distribution of these funds. Applications for membership on the community distribution committee will be accepted until October 4. To volunteer for the community distribution committee, submit an e-mail to info@nshcf.org with the following information: name and contact information; community stakeholder group or expertise that you represent; a brief statement on why you want to serve on the committee; a brief bio or resume; and the names of three references who may be contacted.

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