Local Dignitaries Chosen to Distribute Sandy Hook Fund's Millions

Newtown community leaders are among those chosen to head the foundation that will allot nearly $10 million in donations.


For months, Newtown residents and well-wishers alike have wondered who will receive the nearly $10 million in donations sent to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund from around the world.

Now three Newtown residents are among those tapped to make the call. They're among the Board of Directors of the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, set up to oversee distribution of funds raised by the venture, a joint effort of Newtown Savings Bank and the United Way of Western Connecticut.

Members include:

  • Monsignor Robert Weiss of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church
  • Former Newtown Finance Director Benjamin Spragg
  • Newtown Attorney Anne Ragusa
  • Joseph DiCandido, President of Nutek Aerospace Corp. in New Milford
  • Danbury Hospital Psychiatry Chair Dr. Charles R. Herrick

Newtown Selectman Will Rodgers chaired the transition team to develop the foundation, whose advisers included former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman. Lieberman will continue serving as a an unpaid adviser to the foundation.

"I think we did a great job integrating the information we gathered from other national tragedy sites with recommendations from the local community, which will properly position the Foundation to make educated spending decisions," he said. "We acted quickly and were cognizant of ongoing developments in Newtown as we formed the Foundation and recruited well-respected Directors, so that the Foundation can begin its work to assist the community on a long road to recovery."

The Sandy Hook School Support Fund is expected to gain additional visibility during the Daytona 500, when racing star Michael Waltrip will drive a car emblazoned with the number 26 and information on donating to the fund. Rodgers told the Danbury News-Times he expects a fundraising kick after the Daytona 500.

Michael Cragin February 23, 2013 at 10:56 AM
this is when it will get cut throat.......free money cripples mankind........every special interest from soccor fields to armed guards......will jockey for position.....with a median income in Newtown of well over 90,000$.....and only 2%of the town below the poverty line.......this will get bizarrrrrrre
Patricia Sabato February 23, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Dr.Charles Herrick rang a bell with me. He was the treating psychiatrist in 2005 of a 14 year old girl named "Katie" who committed suicide while being prescribed psychotropic meds. Her family preceded to sue this Dr. with the law firm Tooher,Wocl and Leyden,LLC The mother was Karen Fortier of Danbury,CT and the Grandmother who found this beautiful young girl was Gloria Mannion who lived at the same address. I remember visiting the family as I am a certified advocate and giving them information on Ablechild.org and CCHR.DCF was also involved at the time,(no surprise). Going through their grieving and pain, they still welcomed me. My heart goes out to all the many victims of these Dr's who are never held accountable, paid to cause harm and even respected for their "work".By the way, he is also a speaker for the very profitable pharmaceutical company "Pfizer."
Patricia Sabato February 23, 2013 at 05:51 PM
This is public information and has been documented in the NewsTimes. The town has a right to know who is handling the funds, please do not block me this time.
Lois Imbriano Barber February 24, 2013 at 01:33 PM
I personally know 3 of the people chosen (Dr.Charles Herrick is NOT among them) and they are thoughtful, practical, and have volunteered their time to the town in the past, not just when millions of dollars were involved. That being said, the only one who doesn't seem to be an attorney or a white-collar professional is Monsignor Robert Weiss. Were any 'Regular Joes" selected for the panel? I volunteered my time and input. I have been raising funds for this town ever since I spearheaded the effort during the 1990's (a $25,000 fundraiser) to get an infra red camera that allows firefighters to see through smoke to save lives and property. These cameras can spot a lost child in the forest at night. I have not seen a complete list of the panel and do not know if any of the families wanted to serve on the panel. I think they should have a say because obviously, they are the ones who are hurting the most. The My Sandy Hook Family Fund helped these families more than the United Way did. When a dad needed a suit for a funeral, they bought if for him while the United Way sat on the needed money. I don't believe they distributed a penny during the first month after the tragedy.
Lois Imbriano Barber February 24, 2013 at 01:46 PM
I wonder if Dr.Charles Herrick is for a better, or for the Affordable Health Care Act that was passed? The real issue that caused this tragedy is not violent video games but is a Mental Health Issue. With only 2 exceptions, most medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies were against 'Obaomacare" because they were afraid it would cut down on their profits and used scare tactics so the much needed bill we got was a watered-down shadow of what it should have been. Here's an ironic fact - former Senator Lieberman, who was picked as the advisor for this fund cast the deciding vote to kill the option of the middle-class who pay for their own health care, to be able to buy into a huge run government pool of self-payers. He blames video games and movies for Adam Lanza, not affordable mental health care. There are THOUSANDS of Adam Lanzas across the nation who are not under professional help. Nancy Lanza was probably a self-payer with a huge deductible. She didn't work, was too young for Medicare, too wealthy for Medicaid, and probably has a huge deduction. I self-pay. It's over $12,000 per year for catastrophic health care (I have no chronic illnesses that have jacked up my rates.) I have a $10,000 deductible. I could not afford an additional $80 - $120 dollars per hour a shrink would cost. we need to change the system.
Lois Imbriano Barber February 24, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Who blocked you? The Patch?
A. G. P. March 03, 2013 at 02:13 PM
First and foremost, I am grateful that someone like you was there to distribute funds in those crucial first days and weeks. That truly is the most important part, for someone to be there to assist an guide the truly distraught.
A. G. P. March 03, 2013 at 02:33 PM
But I must disagree about the health care issue. Nancy and Adam Lanza were living on $200k alimony (correct me if I'm wrong), even in Newtown that's plenty. I've seen over the course of my life, families living MUCH more tightly than that, provide extra services for their children. That's just what you do. And Mr. Lanza was living pretty fat and happy in too I think.
Lois Imbriano Barber March 04, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Adam Lanza is no longer the issue because he is dead. However, there are thousands of other Adam Lanzas whose families cannot afford for them to see a mental health care professional nor the meds they will need. This is a really dangerous situation. No one anywhere will be safe. It has come out that he wanted to beat the record of a mass killing on an island in Europe. We need a much better Affordable Health Care bill. I didn't complete my thought on the post above. I was NOT picked to be on the committee. I was disappointed, but I know 3 or 4 of the people and they have been involved with town as volunteers for years and are very good people. I was wondering if anyone was a "Regular Joe" citizen, and not a doctor or an attorney. We have just as much, if not more common sense than many white collar professionals.


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