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In September, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving announced a new structure and leadership to maximize the Foundation’s impact in the community. This organization redesign merged grantmaking and nonprofit capacity building with the Foundation’s learning, evaluation, and public policy areas to form the Community Impact department. As part of this effort, the Foundation is pleased to introduce four new additions to its Community Impact team. These professionals bring deep experience and impressive achievements in philanthropy, academia, nonprofit, and community leadership roles.

“We are incredibly excited to have these talented new staff join us and our many community partners in advancing racial justice and creating equitable opportunity in Greater Hartford,” said Hartford Foundation Vice President of Community Impact Elysa Gordon. “Their professional and personal experiences will grow our community impact team’s perspective and the Foundation’s capacity to learn from and with the region’s nonprofits and residents.”

The four new members of the Community Impact team are:

Kelly Casey, Senior Learning and Evaluation Officer

Casey has extensive experience with monitoring and evaluation – including expertise in participatory methods, gender analysis, trauma-informed and community-centered evaluation approaches. She has worked to better understand and monitor progress of complex, multi-layered issues across the social sector particularly in education and human rights. Most recently, she served as a coordinator and evaluation specialist for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, where she managed and implemented an evaluation of a multi-site, multi-disciplinary anti-human trafficking project. She also worked as a consultant for Oxford Policy Management where she not only developed data collection tools and approaches but also led applied research teams, including in community settings in Zambia and Uganda. Casey also worked as an English teacher at Bristol’s St. Paul Catholic High School and was a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Gorkha, Nepal. She earned her master’s degree in development studies from the University of Oxford and her bachelor’s degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross. A native of Wethersfield, Casey returned to the region after living abroad.

Joel Hicks-Rivera, Senior Community Impact Officer

Hicks-Rivera brings 20 years of operational and leadership experience in challenging, goal-oriented environments. His career highlights include significant achievements in workforce development, including the direction of the development and implementation of Hartford Working Cities for the United Way of Central and Northeast CT. Hicks-Rivera has been active in the community engagement work where he has served as a Leadership development facilitator and coach for Five Frogs, Inc, has been an active member of Leadership Greater Hartford’s Race Equity Advisory Council, and serves as adjunct faculty at Capital Community College. He received a bachelor’s degree from Bradford College, and Masters of Science degrees from Mercy College (Organizational Leadership) and Central Connecticut State University (Professional Counseling-Rehabilitative Counseling). A native of Hartford and current resident, Hicks-Rivera’s life and work are deeply rooted in the people and institutions of the city.

Cierra Stancil, Community Impact Officer
Stancil boasts ten years of experience at various philanthropic and nonprofit organizations in an array of programmatic roles including at Capital Workforce Partners and most recently for the American Savings Foundation in New Britain. In addition to her professional experience, she has demonstrated her commitment to the residents of Hartford through a range of volunteer roles, including serving as a youth mentor and as an advisor to Capital Workforce Partners. Stancil counts her previous service on the board of the Blue Hills Civic Association among her proudest accomplishments. She received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Trinity College. In her new role, Stancil brings her philanthropic experience and grantmaking skills back to her hometown of Hartford.

Carmen Veloria, Senior Community Impact Officer

Veloria brings 20 years of experience in education administration, teaching and consultancy roles including leading centers and programs focused on working with under-served, under-resourced communities. A commitment to access, equity and social justice has been a constant throughout her career. She most recently was a tenured faculty member and chair of the education department at Suffolk University in Boston where she served in various administrative and teaching capacities since 2000. Veloria’s accomplishments include overseeing the management of five federally-funded grants, including to the Boston College Planning Center, which is the oldest post-secondary/career planning center in the country. Her career has been characterized by collaborative projects with community-based organizations as well as education and career stakeholders working toward advancing issues of access, equity, and racial justice. A first generation college student, Veloria received her bachelor’s degree from Central Connecticut State University, a master’s in education from Boston College and her doctorate in education from UMass Amherst.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding towns. Through partnerships, the Foundation seeks to strengthen communities in Greater Hartford by putting philanthropy in action to dismantle structural racism and achieve equity in social and economic mobility. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $849 million since its founding in 1925. For more information, visit or call 860-548-1888.