Meet Our Staff

We have a combined 60+ years of knowledge of the Greater Hartford Jewish community and its changing needs. Our staff is uniquely suited to support your philanthropic goals. We look forward to hearing from you! Our main number is 860-523-7460. 

The following staff is available to provide services in these specific areas: 

Vision and strategic leadership 
Walter Harrison, Interim President and CEO
wharrison@jcfhartforddotorg 

Grantmaking out of your Donor Advised Fund
Michael Elfenbaum, J.D., Vice President, Grant Programs
melfenbaum@jcfhartforddotorg 

Media interviews and marketing inquiries
Maureen O’Connell, Marketing Director moconnell@jcfhartforddotorg 

 

Creating a new fund or making additional
contributions to your fund; information about Life & Legacy and the Lillian Fund, our giving circle for women

Kathryn Gonnerman, Vice President, Philanthropy
kgonnerman@jcfhartforddotorg 

Information about access to your funds
Susie Lotreck, Vice President, Operations and Donor Services
slotreck@jcfhartforddotorg 

Walter Harrison

Interim President & CEO

 Walt is president emeritus of the University of Hartford, where he served for 19 years. Following his retirement, he has been deeply involved in the leadership of many Hartford area not-for-profit organizations. In addition to his service to the Jewish Community  Foundation as a trustee and vice chair, Walt is a vice chair of the board of Trinity College and vice chair of the Trinity Health of New England Board of Directors.

Before becoming an administrator, Walt was a professor of English and American Studies, and he continues to teach and lecture in these fields.  He is best known as a scholar of baseball and its place in American Studies.  Not surprisingly, reading is one of his favorite activities, but when he is not serving on boards, watching baseball games, or reading, he loves to play golf and swim. Walt earned his B.A. from Trinity College, M.A. from the University of Michigan, and Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis.  He was also a captain in the U.S. Air Force during the Viet Nam War era.  Walt and his wife, Dianne Mintz Harrison, live in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, and West Hartford.

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Michael Elfenbaum, J.D.

Vice President, Grant Programs

 

A Jewish communal professional for more than 25 years, Michael joined the Foundation in 2007 and helped grow its annual grantmaking from $3 million to over $4.5 million. He spearheaded the Israel Experience, a program that awards annual scholarships for teens to visit Israel to explore and develop their Jewish identity. Michael serves as a trusted advisor to donor advised fund holders who rely on his in-depth knowledge of the Jewish community to help them achieve their philanthropic goals.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Michael is a proud graduate of Indiana University and THE Ohio State University College of Law. Michael and his wife, Anna, live in West Hartford and have three children.
Michael lives his life knowing that all roads lead to Bruce Springsteen.

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Kathryn Gonnerman

Vice President, Philanthropy

 

Kathryn has been a member of the Foundation leadership team since December 2013, first serving as Marketing Director and then directing the Center for Innovative Philanthropy in 2015. She also served as the organization’s interim CEO in 2018.
Before coming to the Foundation, Kathryn ran Development Operations at the California Community Foundation, a Los Angeles-based foundation that now has $1.8 billion in assets. Kathryn holds a B.A and M.A. from Yale University in East Asian Studies. She was named one of Hartford’s 40 Under 40 in 2016.
Kathryn loves action movies, boxing and has recently discovered paddleboarding. She is an avid reader and creative writer, as well as a certified executive coach. Kathryn enjoys walking the trails with her husband and two dogs.

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Christine Kelly

Christine Kelly

Controller

 

Christine has over 32 years of financial/accounting and management experience in the insurance and banking industries, and non-profit community foundation sector. She joined the Foundation in 2005 and currently serves as the Controller of the finance and investment accounting functions. Christine is responsible for asset/cash reconciliations, investment income allocations to donor funds, expense payables, gifts and other general ledger record keeping and year-end tax reporting to vendors and donors.
Christine serves as her church’s Sunday School Superintendent and Treasurer of its Planning Committee. When she’s not crunching numbers, Christine loves helping children with their homework and reading, as well as preparing and serving meals at local homeless shelters. Christine and her husband have two children, who help make sandwiches for the shelters.

Madison Leighty

Madison Leighty

Development Coordinator

Madison joined the Foundation in 2019 after earning her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and linguistics from Mount Holyoke College. Her professional background includes mentoring undergraduate students in written and oral argumentation as well as typing and editing legal transcripts for a Jerusalem-based company. Madison brings her expertise in writing and research to her work on the Development team.
Outside of the Foundation, you can find Madison oil painting, exploring nature with her dog, or trying out a new challah recipe.

Susan Lotreck

Susan Lotreck

Vice President, Operations & Donor Services

 

A 29-year veteran of the Foundation, Susie manages the Foundation’s database platforms, donor portal and processes. Agencies and donors rely on Susie for their reporting needs. Internally, Susie collaborates with and provides training across all departments of the Foundation.
In her personal life, Susie loves being a mom of 3 young adults and serving as co-president of the Loomis Chaffee Parents Association with her husband. If you live in Greater Hartford, you may have heard Susie’s soprano voice. She is a Cantor for Mary, Gate of Heaven Parish in Windsor Locks, and sings in church choirs, weddings and funerals. Susie’s largest audience was when she sang the National Anthem live at the Yard Goats 2019 Jewish Heritage Day.

Carly Norman

Carly Norman

Development Officer

 

As a Jewish communal professional, Carly enjoys empowering and engaging people to live their Jewish values. She has more than 10 years of experience working in Greater Hartford’s Jewish community, sharing her values and strengthening the concept of L’Dor D’Vor with children, teens and adults.

As the Development Officer for the Foundation, Carly’s responsibilities include cultivating, soliciting and stewarding gift prospects and donors, and encouraging strong partnerships with community-based organizations. She also oversees Greater Hartford’s Life & Legacy program, a partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to promote after-lifetime giving to build endowments that will sustain Jewish organizations for generations.

Prior to her work at the Foundation, Carly served as Educational Director at Congregation B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom in Bloomfield, and as Program Director & Experiential Learning Coordinator at the University of Hartford Hillel. She also taught classes at JTConnect.

Carly is an Executive Board Member and President Emerita of Congregation Adath Israel in Middletown and was a Founding Member and Community Organizer for the Moishe House in West Hartford.

Carly earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a concentration in Social Work, from the University of Connecticut. She also earned her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Hartford.

Carly resides in Rocky Hill with her husband, David, and their dog, Maya. In her free time, Carly enjoys hiking and is an avid reader of both fiction and nonfiction. She also tutors children in Hebrew, preps them for Torah services, and chanting Trope.

Maureen O'Connell

Maureen O'Connell

Marketing Director

 

Maureen has more than 20 years of communications experience helping nonprofits and corporate foundations achieve their goals while championing social issues such as STEM education, economic empowerment, and diversity and inclusion, through strategic campaigns. A former correspondent for The Hartford Courant, Maureen has developed and executed award-winning media campaigns for numerous prominent brands including The Bayer Foundation, Northwestern Mutual Foundation, FIRST and Keep America Beautiful.

Maureen manages the Foundation’s Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations initiatives including digital marketing campaigns.

She earned her MBA from Bay Path University and is an adjunct professor in the University’s Business Department, teaching Marketing and Management classes.

In her leisure time, Maureen loves travel adventures with family and friends, and enjoys the outdoors including hiking at her favorite spot: West Hartford Reservoir. She is a self-professed chocolate connoisseur always in search of a piece of chocolate confectionary perfection.

Laura Whitney

Laura Whitney

Chief Financial Officer

 

An accounting and financial investment expert with more than 35 years of experience, Laura leads the Foundation’s three-person Finance team. Laura has held numerous financial leadership roles in Connecticut’s nonprofit sector. She previously served as Vice President of Finance at the University of Hartford. In this role, Laura oversaw all Finance operations, including Treasury, Budget, Procurement, Financial Accounting, and Controller. She also served as liaison to the University’s Resources, Investment and Audit Committees of the Board of Regents.

Prior to her work at the University of Hartford, Laura was Controller and Assistant Treasurer at Albertus Magnus College. She also served on the College’s Strategic Planning Task Force.

Laura earned an M.S. from the University of Hartford and a B.S. from Trinity College. She is a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Enrollment Committee at Rosemont College in Philadelphia.

Goldy Singh

Goldy Singh

Executive Assistant

 

Goldy has more than 18 years of experience in IT and customer service. Her professional journey includes posts at the Mandell JCC and the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. Between 2019 – 2022, Goldy contributed her skills as a Grants and Donor Services Assistant and Office Administrator at the Foundation.

In 2024 Goldy returned to the Foundation as Executive Assistant, a newly-created role. In this role, Goldy primarily supports the work of the CEO and the CFO. She also supports the Department Heads on special projects as needed and serves as liaison to the Board of Trustees.

Outside of work, Goldy enjoys spending time with family, friends and her Boston Terrier, Burfee. She also has a passion for arts & theater and exploring health & wellness activities, and can be found working out at the Mandell JCC.