Hands On Hartford

Hands On Hartford Announces Election of New Board Chairperson

March 12, 2018

Hands On Hartford is pleased to announce that Rev. Donna K. Manocchio of Wethersfield, Connecticut, was recently elected as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the agency.   Donna is a retired pastor of the United Church of Christ, and along with her family, Donna has a longtime association with Hands On Hartford, which includes a Christmas Eve visit and program with their friends at Peter’s Retreat for 15 consecutive years.  Since joining the Hands On Hartford board in 2014 Donna has been an enthusiastic and impactful supporter of the agency’s work, and is committed to the health and well-being of the Hartford community.  She is married to David Lewis, and together they are honored to be the parents of two young adult daughters, Kathryn and Rose. Donna can often be found in the Café at Fifty-Five, one of Hands on Hartford’s mission aligned ventures, and she also enjoys traveling and biking, discovering new places for great meals and lively conversations, and reading a good novel or memoir.

“I am so honored and privileged to serve as chair of the Board at this time as we build on the organization’s strong history of transforming lives and communities,” said Donna Manocchio.  “I know firsthand the difference that Hands On Hartford makes in the lives of volunteers, clients, Board Members and staff and am excited about the opportunities ahead to strengthen our work in increasing hunger and nutrition, providing safe and affordable housing, and improving health of our Hartford neighbors.”

Donna succeeds Rev. Dr. Karen Bailey-Francois, who served as Board Chairperson starting in 2012.  Karen first connected with Hands On Hartford (then Center City Churches) in 1995 as an Associate Pastor at the First Church of Christ in Hartford.  She was an active member of the founding congregation’s clergy group, became a tutor in the Center for Youth after school program in 1996 and became an active member of the Board of Directors from 2002-2006. She was the Interim Program Director and Data Management Specialist for the Center for Youth from 2006 to 2008.   She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Hartford Seminary.  Karen was instrumental in leading Hands On Hartford through a transition period which eventually led to the establishment of the existing Hands On Hartford Center for Community.  Her intensive work, creativity, business sense and strong faith and commitment in the agency’s work has put Hands On Hartford in a unique position to have real impact in its fight against hunger and homelessness, and in its commitment to strengthen community in Hartford.  Karen has accepted a new position as settled pastor at the Second Congregational Church of Christ in Cohasset, Massachusetts.

Karen writes, “It has been the privilege of a lifetime to work with [Executive Director] Barbara Shaw, this board, the management,  staff and clients of Hands On Hartford.  They are my heroes in their shared commitment to caring in action ‘through programs that change lives and renew human possibility.’ “

This post was written by Kate Shafer, Communications Manager at Hands On Hartford. You may contact the author at kshafer@handsonhartford.org.