Jewish Community Foundation Announces Two New Members to its Board of Trustees

July 2022 – Two community leaders have joined the Board of Trustees for the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford. Merrill Mandell of West Hartford, Chair of the Governance Committee, presented the nominations at the Jewish Community Foundation’s recent Board meeting. The Board voted and approved the following: 

Neil Kochen of West Hartford is a new Trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation. A seasoned corporate financial executive,Neil Kochen recently retired from a 35-year career in the Greater Hartford area. Professionally, Mr. Kochen has worked at Aetna Life and Casualty, Aeltus Investment Management, ING Financial Services, Alpha Equity Management, and most recently MassMutual Trust Company.

Over his career, Mr. Kochen has served as Portfolio Manager, Head of Strategy and Policy, Chief Asset/Liability Strategist, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and most recently as Chief Investment Officer.

Mr. Kochen and his wife, Sharon, are members of Beth El Temple in West Hartford and active members of the Greater Hartford Jewish community.

Since moving to West Hartford in 1986, Mr. Kochen has served on many boards. He is a past President of Solomon Schechter Day School (SSDS), was head of the Ritual Committee of Beth El Temple of West Hartford, and Treasurer of The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. Mr. Kochen currently serves on The Harold Grinspoon Foundation Investment Committee. He also is a board member of Voices of Hope, a non-profit that raises consciousness about the inhumanity of the Holocaust and other genocides.

Mr. Kochen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics/Economics from University of Rochester, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Accounting and Finance, from Columbia University. 

Mr. Kochen lives in West Hartford with his wife, Sharon. The couple have four adult children who are all SSDS graduates.

Tracy Smith of Bloomfield is a new Trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation. A dedicated community leader committed to social justice issues, Tracy Smith began her career as an Urban Fellow for the City of New York and then moved to Washington, D.C. to work for Gallaudet University, where she trained employers to accommodate the workplace for deaf students.

After earning her Master’s Degree in Social Work, Ms. Smith worked in New York for the Victim Services Agency to establish effective abuse investigation teams statewide. Later in her career, Ms. Smith served as Director of Community Initiatives at Planned Parenthood of New York City, where she developed and supervised programing in the South Bronx and Lower East Side to reduce teen pregnancy and improve sexual and mental health outcomes.  Most recently, Ms. Smith worked in Hartford at Grace Academy designing and implementing a comprehensive health curriculum, and supporting Grace Students through their high school years.

Ms. Smith and her husband, Dan Joseph, are members of the Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation (FVJC) in Simsbury and dedicated to supporting the Greater Hartford Jewish community.

Ms. Smith chaired FVJC’s Education and Pulpit Search Committees, and served on the executive board before becoming president in 2018. During her three-year team, FVJC initiated outreach and in-reach efforts resulting in increased membership and the completion of a major capital renovation.  In addition to FVJC, Ms. Smith serves on the board of the American School for the Deaf.

Ms. Smith has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Spanish from Connecticut College, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. 

She lives in Bloomfield with her husband, Dan, and three children.


The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (the Foundation) was founded in 1972 with an initial gift of $50,000. Thanks to the vision and generosity of individuals, families, businesses and organizations, past and present, the Foundation has approximately $155 million in assets under management and 1,400 individual charitable funds, and grants approximately $4.6 million annually.

NewsroomJewish Community Foundation Announces Two New Members to its Board of Trustees