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
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
"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.
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