2nd Annual Nonprofits Stars Align Breakfast

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Time: 7:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Location: XFINITY Lounge

Presenting sponsor: Mutual of America

This breakfast will honor the Nonprofits in the Greater New Haven region that are making a positive impact on our region. Awardees must have exhibited exceptional business or community leadership skills, noteworthy results, and be an active participant in business and/or community organizations. And a few talented professionals working in the nonprofit sector, will receive grants to fund their graduate school studies!

The event is made possible through the generosity of our sponsor, Mutual of America.

Food Sponsored and Provided By:


Jackie Downing, Mistress of Ceremonies

Jackie Downing is the Director of Grantmaking and Nonprofit Effectiveness for The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. She has been on the staff of The Community Foundation for seven years. She divides her time between supporting the competitive grantmaking process and strengthening nonprofits through capacity building programs, workshops, giveGreater.org® and technical assistance. A graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, Jackie started her professional career at the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. She went on to be Development and Program Director at the Dixwell Community “Q” House, and Development Director at her alma mater Sacred Heart Academy. She spent four years the Deputy then Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Hamden in the Amento administration, and five years in Fund Development at the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund (now Capital for Change). Jackie has served on the Advisory Board of Sisters’ Journey, co-chaired the Hamden School Readiness Council and has served on the Board of Directors of the Hamden Land Conservation Trust and the Hamden Arts Commission. She volunteers with Hamden’s Whitney Players, Center Stage in Shelton and the New Haven Ballet.

The 2018 Honorees:


Barbara Tinney, a native of the city of New Haven is the Executive Director of the New Haven Family Alliance, Inc. (NHFA) serving in that capacity for twenty-one years. Ms. Tinney is also an adjunct faculty member at the Southern Connecticut State University Department of Social Work She earned her bachelors’ degree from New Haven’s Albertus Magnus College and her Masters in Psychiatric Social Work from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

Barbara’s concern about social justice and quality of life issues for New Haven’s children, adolescents and families prompted her return from the private section to the public sector in 1993. Her service to the New Haven community has been recognized by a number of organizations including the State of Connecticut General Assembly, the City of New Haven’s Aldermanic Board, New Haven Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, The Greater New Haven Business and Professional Association, and many others.

Ms Tinney is a co-author on several published articles including “You get caught up” youth decision-making and violence; “Increasing Outreach, Connection, and Services to Low-income Non-Custodial Fathers: How Did We Get Here and What Do We Know.” Barbara is the mother of two adult children and has two grandchildren Jordan and Douglas. She remains committed to social justice, economic and education equity, strengthening families and supporting parents, family wellness, youth development and community building. Barbara ascribes to the belief that communities working together can overcome any challenge.



Justin Elicker grew up in Connecticut and is an active member of the New Haven community, including running for mayor of New Haven in 2013 and serving on the New Haven Board of Alders for four years. Justin has been an adjunct professor at Southern Connecticut State University, a sustainability consultant, a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, and a high school and an elementary school teacher.

Justin burst on the nonprofit scene in 2014 as the Executive Director of the New Haven Land Trust. Under his watch at New Haven Land Trust, the Land Trust expanded it community gardening program to manage 50 gardens in every neighborhood of New Haven; continued to steward 80 acres of land which remains as public accessible open space; created a year-round entrepreneurial program for youth; and acquired Schooner, which now operates as a signature program of the Land Trust. He has taken a sleepy, land stewardship organization and made it relevant for the 21st century.

Justin received joint masters’ degrees from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Yale School of Management in 2010 and a BA from Middlebury College in 1997. In addition to a passion for gardening Justin and his wife Natalie raise five chickens and a dog named Captain.







Marrakech, Inc. has been providing cost-effective, individualized human services in Connecticut for over 47 years, supporting almost 1,300 children and adults with and without disabilities annually. As a nonprofit in Connecticut, the organization has sustained quality programs and services despite the state budget cuts and crises experienced over the years. Marrakech is the organization it has become in large part due to the tenure and commitment of its staff and Board of Directors. The President & CEO has been with the organization for over 30 years, starting her career there as a direct support professional. This is a story that many employees of Marrakech share because of the career advancement opportunities offered and the prioritizing of internal promotions. Marrakech’s all volunteer Board of Directors, many of whom have served the organization for decades, is diverse in both skill and background, providing sound and balanced guidance. Marrakech employees and the Board of Directors work together as champions of the organization’s staff, the people they support, the communities in which they work, and the organization as whole.


SUNSPOT INNOVATION AWARD: Saint Martin de Porres Academy












Saint Martin de Porres Academy is a faith-based, NativityMiguel middle school that provides a tuition-free, extended day education for underserved girls and boys from low-income families in the New Haven area. It is an independent Catholic school committed to a belief in the dignity and worth of every person and striving to provide each child of all faiths, races, and cultures with a promising start in life and to equip them to fulfill their academic potential while achieving spiritual and social maturity. The vision of Saint Martin de Porres Academy is to break the cycle of generational poverty through education and opportunity.


CONSTELLATIONS AWARD: International Festival of Arts & Ideas






For 23 years, the Festival has delighted audiences with an outstanding mix of entertaining and inspiring programs Internationally acclaimed dance, an eclectic array of world-class musicians, breathtaking circus, ground-breaking theatre and engaging speakers define the Festival as our region’s premier arts and culture destination The June Festival boasts over 200 events and at least 80% are totally free Year-round programs include special town-hall events, a fellowship program for youth, planning and implementing mini-festivals in New Haven’s culturally-rich and under-resourced neighborhoods, and our Visionary Leadership Award.

Each year we welcome artists and speakers from all over the world—Angelique Kidjo, Bristol Old Vic, Camille A Brown & Dancers, Handspring Puppet Company, Rosanne Cash, Claudia, Rankine, Mark Morris Dance Group, The National Theatre of Scotland, Yo-Yo Ma, Bassem Youssef, Druid Theatre, Kronos Quartet, Taylor Mac, Spike Lee, and Salman Rushdie have all shared their talents and ideas New Haven’s walkable historic downtown core and warm June weather forms the perfect backdrop for this highly accessible, international event.

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