Foundation Leadership


  • Gavin Arneth, Sr. Vice President (Private Banking Group) at People’s United Bank
  • Dr. Charles Herrick, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Danbury Hospital
  • Christopher McDonnell, father of Grace McDonnell & Vice President of Research & Development  for Professional Disposables International
  • Anne Ragusa, Attorney at Law
  • Benjamin B. Spragg, former Director of Finance, Town of Newtown

In addition, there are two nonvoting, ex officio Directors: Isabel Almeida, Executive Vice President of Workplace Development and Marketing at United Way of Western Connecticut and Will Rodgers, former Newtown Selectman and local attorney.


Lucie A. Connell, MPA began working with the Foundation on a part-time basis in March 2016 as a Fund Support Specialist and took over primary responsibility of the day to day operations of the Foundation in April 2019.


Jennifer Barahona, LCSW served the Foundation as Executive Director & CFO from September 2013 until April 2019. She currently serves as an advisor to the Foundation.  A native and life-long resident of Connecticut, Ms. Barahona received a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development and Family Relations from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.  Ms. Barahona is a licensed clinical social worker who has spent the majority of her career in non-profit 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 in the September 11th terrorist attacks.  Ms. Barahona also worked for many years with children exposed to domestic violence and served as a researcher and legislative liaison for the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition.  Her interests and strengths include community collaborations, grant writing, advocacy, and relationship building.

NSHCF is an Equal Opportunity Employer