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A New President Found Nearby

State Experience Key At Hartford Foundation

August 14, 2005
By STEVEN GOODE, Courant Staff Writer

After an eight-month, nationwide search for a new president, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving found the best choice in its own backyard.

Linda J. Kelly, a commissioner of the state Department of Utility Control and a longtime Hartford area resident, has been named the charitable foundation's president and will begin work in October.

"This is absolutely the perfect culmination of what I have done," Kelly said, referring to her experience working and volunteering with government, corporate and nonprofit agencies. "This gives me the opportunity to serve the community I love on a full-time basis."

Kelly, 55 and a Bloomfield resident, has been a DPUC commissioner since 1997. A native of North Carolina and an attorney, Kelly has also worked for the state as a deputy commissioner of banking and as a member of the public defender services commission.

In the private sector, Kelly was a senior vice president and general counsel for Shawmut Bank, Connecticut, and assistant secretary for the Shawmut National Corp.

Kelly has also served on the boards of a variety of Hartford area nonprofit and civic groups including Families in Crisis, the Blue Hills Civic Association and the Hartford Courant Foundation, where she served as president. She is a trustee and officer of the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Amistad Foundation and Riverfront Recapture.

Mark F. Korber, chairman of the foundation's board of directors, said they were seeking an intelligent, hardworking manager to fill the position held by Michael Bangser for the past 16 years.

"Beyond that we needed someone who could lead the foundation and interact with all its constituencies. We came to realize that Linda has lived her life in nonprofits, neighborhoods, the corporate world and [government] environments," Korber said.

Korber said Kelly's local roots and experiences are an added bonus.

"It's possible that we could have hired someone from outside the area, but this is a unique community," he said.

Kelly, who is the foundation's first woman president, will oversee the largest philanthropic organization in Greater Hartford, with assets of more than $640 million. The foundation awarded more than $25 million in grants last year to arts, culture, social services, health, housing and senior citizen related programs.

Kelly said it's too early to determine what areas she would like to focus the foundation's efforts, but added that she would like to continue supporting early childhood initiatives that are showing promising results, and stay involved with arts and culture.

"Those areas are critical to the quality of life and play a vital role in the vitality of a community," she said.

Kelly said she also hopes to be the foundation's president for a length of time that rivals her predecessor and that she will bring drive and passion to the job.

"When I commit to a task, I commit to it fully," she said. "It's a labor of love, which is how I view this position."

Joe Marfuggi, president and CEO of Riverfront Recapture, said he was impressed with Kelly's ability to cut to the heart of an issue in her role and her high ethical standards during her time as a vice president on the organization's board.

"I think she'll be extraordinary because she's comfortable moving in so many circles," Marfuggi said. "She straddles all the different worlds we have in this community."


Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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