New Days Ahead
Our all-volunteer group is raising money because we know there are going to be financial needs for years to come. In the short term, we’re here to help the families of the 26 victims, those who were wounded but survived, the twelve kids who witnessed the massacre first-hand, and then the others affected by the shooting. We are actively seeking those who fall within these groups to step forward with their needs. We are prepared to help. There will be no bureaucracy, no forms that need to be filled out. Just contact us.
We issue press releases and have this Web site because we want the world to know where they can direct their good will, but we also have the Web site so those affected know we’re here to help, support, and honor them and their lost loved ones. We will continue to work on behalf of the victims knowing that although we can’t take their pain and suffering away, we can help with day-to-day expenses and bills so they can focus on themselves and their family’s wellbeing. While we will remain financially transparent and will be audited annually to be in compliance, we will make no announcements about who specifically we have made disbursements to. We are not looking to publicize nor exploit those we’re trying to help.
We place our faces and backgrounds on this page not for self-ingratiating reasons, but so that you may know we are real, concerned volunteers with real lives relating to Newtown, and are dedicated to assisting in the long-term healing needs of those who remain, and the respectful honoring of those lost. If you see us in the grocery store or at church, we are happy to hear ideas, constructive criticism, or commentary so that we can continue to evolve to better serve the needs of those who are affected by this tragedy.
Newtown Memorial Fund Board Members:
My name is Brian Mauriello, and I established the Newtown Memorial Fund on December 14, 2012. I’m a near-lifetime resident of Newtown. My family moved from upstate New York to the Sandy Hook area of Newtown, Connecticut in 1984, where I attended Middle Gate Elementary School in the Botsford borough of Newtown. I graduated from Newtown High School with many friends from my elementary school as well as Sandy Hook Elementary, Head O’ Meadow, and Hawley elementary schools here in our great town. In my early professional career after college, I worked in the Midwest and California, but in 1999 I moved back to Connecticut and eventually moved back to Newtown in 2005, where I now reside.
My 6-year-old attends school here in Newtown at a different elementary school than where the attack occurred, so he was obviously spared during the terrible and horrific event that Friday morning. For that I am forever grateful and, therefore, forever dedicated to ensuring our community has a proper fund for the memory of those who did perish, and for all those affected by this tragedy.
Consequently, I’ve chosen to help create something that I think this community will need — not just today or this month, but for generations to come — an enduring memorial fund. You can read more about this on our Mission page as to its purpose and intended projects. Newtown Memorial Fund, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We can accept tax-deductible donations from individuals and corporations alike. I also intend on providing regular financial reporting and on publishing the results with full disclosure. Check back on this page as our board develops and our mission grows.
Jeff Belanger is a father, a former student at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and a Newtown High School alumni. He’s also a writer and author of non-fiction books for adults and children. His 14 books have been published in six languages. Additionally he’s written for newspapers like the Boston Globe, USA Today, and the Newtown Bee. He currently works in television production. He has an extensive background in marketing, public relations, and corporate branding, and holds a B.A. from Hofstra University.
Robert Davenport, C.P.A.
Robert M. Davenport is a Certified Public Accountant and a Partner with the firm of Nanavaty, Nanavaty & Davenport, LLP. Over Bob’s career, he has specialized in serving the tax and financial needs of entrepreneurial companies and their owners. Bob holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, Accounting and a Master of Accountancy with an emphasis in Taxation from the University of South Carolina. He is licensed to practice in the state of Connecticut.
Bob is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants, Newtown Chamber of Commerce, St. Rose of Lima Church Finance Council, Treasurer of Newtown Nighthawks Football Association, and past Treasurer of Newtown Youth Football & Cheer Association, Newtown Youth Services, Inc., and Newtown Youth Baseball Association.
Sara is a Newtown High School graduate, Class of 1992. Currently living in Stamford, CT, she works in New York City for the nonprofit CECP as the Head of Communications and Marketing. Sara implements the day-to-day activities surrounding CECP’s media, events, and materials and facilitates interactions with its Fortune 500 corporate members. Prior to CECP, Sara was Vice President at Widmeyer Communications, a communications firm in Washington, DC and New York, NY. Sara provided communications counsel on a wide variety of domestic policy issues to the nation’s leading foundations, nonprofits, and corporations. Sara brings to NMF a specialized background in education policy through her work at the U.S. Department of Education, National Education Association, and the Education and Workforce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as grassroots organizing through political campaigns in Florida, New Hampshire, and England. Sara has an M.A. in Public Administration from The George Washington University and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire.
Dr. Susan Belanger resides in Newtown and is a licensed psychologist in independent practice. Dr. Belanger holds Masters of Arts and Doctorate degrees in Applied Developmental Psychology and has been practicing, publishing, and presenting in the field of child welfare and mental health with children, adolescents, and their families for over 16 years. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Kevin’s Community Center, a free medical clinic in Newtown, CT. She formerly worked with the Community Health Center providing mental health counseling to children and their families, as well as the Department of Children and Families providing assessments to children entering the foster care system. Dr. Belanger has served on several local and national advisory boards, including Middletown CT’s Multi-Interdisciplinary Team and New York City’s Council of Family and Child Care Agencies (COFCCA) Managed Health Care Task Force, collecting data aimed at improving the delivery of quality medical services to children in foster care in New York City.
Christian is a Newtown resident and a father of two young children. He and his wife moved from New York to the Sandy Hook borough of Newtown 8 years ago to start their family. He is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of GSS, a locally-based executive search firm that exclusively services the healthcare industry. In addition, he plays an active role in both forming and raising funds for innovative, start-up businesses.
Jim Gaston, Esq.
James O. Gaston, Sr. has lived in Newtown for more than 23 years. He is married with four children, ages 24 through 16. He majored in Finance and Economics and is a practicing lawyer. Gaston served long on both the House of Delegates and the Board of Governors of the CT Bar Association, the Board of Governors of the CT Trial Lawyers Association, and he sits on two Non-Profit Boards. He was elected and served 10 years on Newtown’s Board of Finance, and presently he is a Selectman on Newtown’s three-member Board of Selectmen.
Phil Hynes and his wife have lived in Newtown for 43 years. His two children have gone through the Newtown Public Schools, and now his grandchildren are doing the same. He grew up in Norwich, CT, attending public and parochial schools there, followed by four years of service in the US Coast Guard. His family settled in Newtown in 1969, after looking for a safe, quiet, rural setting in which to raise a family. He worked as a licensed electrician for 8 years, then joined the Trumbull Police Department, where he is still employed nearly 35 years later as a sergeant. Hynes is a certified police firearms instructor, he supervises the scuba team and honor guard, and he previously served as a member of the Southwest Regional Emergency Response Team.
Attorney Jerome Mayer has practiced law in Bethel and Newtown, Connecticut, for 31 years, and has lived in Newtown for 30 years. He’s a member of the Danbury and Connecticut Bar Associations, and been a member of the Newtown Lions Club since 1989. He currently serves as a director and officer of the Cullens Youth Association in Newtown and the Fairfield County Farm Bureau.
Rick Mazzariello has been a resident of Sandy Hook for more than 30 years, having moved here with Union Carbide Corporation. The Mazzariello family moved from New Jersey and carefully screened area schools and chose Sandy Hook because of the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the wonderful administration and teaching staff there. All of his children attended Sandy Hook. Mazzariello’s wife worked there for 25 years as a teacher and later as the Assistant Principal until she retired about five years ago. She has volunteered to go back to work in that capacity to help with the transition to the new school location in Monroe. Mazzariello owns his own business. His background is primarily marketing and sales relating to the Chemical Industry. He is a former Member of the Board of The Newtown Fund, a local charitable organization that organizes charitable activities and uses donated funds to help Newtown residents in need. He will use that experience to help launch and develop the Newtown Memorial Fund.
Tim is a graduate of Newtown High School. He has been a public school teacher since 1997, and in Newtown since 2000. He currently teaches fifth grade at Reed Intermediate School. Prior to Reed, he taught first grade for five years at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Tim graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.S in Elementary Education and with an M. A. in Education. In 2012, Tim earned his Intermediate Administration and Supervision Certificate (092) from Sacred Heart University. Since 2010, Tim has been involved in a STEM program with the State of Connecticut to help further science, math, and technology instruction in Newtown. For the past fifteen years, Tim has collaborated on various science grants and programs to help further science education in Connecticut.
Andy Sachs is the father of two young children and the husband of a Newtown native. Professionally, he is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker and team leader of “The Around Town Team.” He also proudly serves as an elected member of the Board of Newtown Police Commissioners. Before entering real estate, he worked in non-profit development, campaign fundraising, and national sales and marketing management.
Julie has been a volunteer member of the Newtown Scholarship Association since 2004, currently serving as the Association’s President. She is the Executive Director of University Financial Assistance at Sacred Heart University (SHU) in Fairfield, CT, a position she has held since 1987. For over 30 years, Julie has helped countless students attain a higher education through the administration of financial aid. She is well known and respected in her chosen field, serving on several Boards of Directors and a frequent presenter at College Board activities. She regularly interacts with students and parents at high school financial aid nights and college fairs. Her technical knowledge of the field of financial aid is extraordinarily broad and her passion for helping students achieve their dreams of a college education is as strong today as it was in 1979 when she first joined SHU’s financial aid department as an assistant director. Julie and her husband Dominick have called Newtown home since 1980. They moved to their current home in Sandy Hook in 1994. Their son Nicholas was educated in the Newtown public school system, as was his wife Kaitlin, both graduating from Newtown High School in 2001. The Newtown Scholarship Association, the people of Newtown, and especially the borough of Sandy Hook, are close to Julie’s heart, and she considers it an honor to be able to be a part of the Newtown Memorial Fund.
Charles M. Zeynel is the President and CEO of ZAG International, a raw materials sourcing and marketing company serving the global construction industry based in Stamford, Connecticut with offices in Italy, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and China. Charlie founded ZAG in 2001 following a 24-year career in sales and marketing, M&A, joint venture, and senior management assignments with Union Carbide Corporation and the Dow Chemical Company. Appointed as an Adjunct Professor in 2002, he teaches an annual MBA course at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and is a regular lecturer at its Iacocca Institute Global Village Programs.
Charlie and his wife, Sue moved to Newtown in 1980 and chose to live in Sandy Hook after meeting Ron Vitarelli, then the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School and his staff. They were so impressed with Ron’s energy and commitment as well as the overall SHES vision and philosophy, they decided this was the perfect school for their two young children, Jenn and Chris who both started there in kindergarten. Having spent countless hours in PTA meetings, school fund drives, Jolly Green Giant fairs, and various other events over 9 years, they lived the SHES experience and realize this was one of the best decisions they ever made.
Contact us for more information.