Opinion: Shout out to new Norwalk ACTS CEO

Anthony Allison

Anthony Allison is the Chief Initiative Officer of Norwalk ACTS.

Shout Out to Jennifer Barahona — the new Norwalk ACTS CEO. Jennifer will begin her work with Norwalk ACTS this coming Monday. Paula Palermo, Norwalk ACTS Data Director, and I are thrilled that she is joining our team.

I worked with Jennifer for many years in Norwalk prior to her role as Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer for the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation. Jennifer is a tremendously gifted leader! She will provide Norwalk ACTS with great insight, skill, strength, and vision to help all of us continue to improve our work in positively impacting the lives of every single child in Norwalk. I am grateful and honored to have the opportunity to work with Jennifer in my new role as Norwalk ACTS Chief Initiative Officer.  Norwalk ACTS is in solid hands with Jennifer at the helm.

Below is the press release that will be sent out shortly:

“Jennifer was selected from a very strong group of candidates and was the unanimous choice to fill the CEO role.  “I can think of no one better suited to strengthen and expand our capacity to build a community infrastructure that improves the lives and futures of each and every child in Norwalk from cradle to career,” said Cathy DeCesare, Norwalk ACTS Board Chair.

Jennifer is no stranger to Norwalk or Norwalk ACTS.  During her 13-year employment with Family and Children’s Agency she was an active member of Norwalk ACTS and served on the Norwalk After-School Alliance for many years.  In 2013, she took on the challenging role of Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer for the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc. Created in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, she built the Foundation from the ground up and managed more than $13M that came in through the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a BS in Human Development & Family Relations from the University of Connecticut and an MS in Social Work, Advanced Generalist Practice & Programming from Columbia University. She has a proven track record of operating in complex environments, building consensus, and engaging with a diverse group of stakeholders, including board members, funders and policymakers.

“I am thrilled to be returning to Norwalk to help lead this critically important work,” said Ms. Barahona. “I have dedicated my career to macro level, collaborative systems changes that address issues of social justice. I am so impressed by what Norwalk ACTS has achieved in the nearly six years since I left the community and I could not be more excited to return to join forces with the tremendously talented staff and community partners who work so hard on behalf of the children and families of Norwalk.”


Welcome back Jennifer, we are glad that you are with us!

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