From the beginning, town residents have served on our volunteer Board of Directors and are chosen for their expertise, knowledge of the community, and their belief in the power of philanthropy to change lives.
It is this strong sense of community that informs decisions to fund grant requests and guides the Foundation toward projects that have a positive impact on the community. The Board of Directors is responsible for advancing the Foundation’s mission and vision, defining and advancing a long term strategic plan, creating sound organizational policies, and safeguarding our financial health.
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March 26, 2022
November 24, 2021
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Dave Allen has served as a director for 8 years at The Madison Foundation and during some of that time also served as Treasurer and President. Dave and his family have been Madison residents since 1986. He is a Certified Public Accountant who specializes in Corporate Financial Reporting and Estate Management.
Dave presently co-chairs the Heritage Society within the Madison Foundation, which was established to increase the amount of estate bequests and endowment fund creation at the Foundation.
Stephen Dowler grew up in Madison and is a graduate of DHHS and Villanova University. He returned to town in 1999 with his wife and young family to join his family’s residential and commercial real estate business. Over the years Stephen has participated in numerous local community organizations, including Madison Jaycees and coaching youth lacrosse. Currently, he serves on the board of Madison ABC, Inc. and is a trustee of The Guilford Savings Bank.
As a local Madison-based business owner, Stephen continues to want to be involved in the community and is pleased to join The Madison Foundation. He is “especially interested in getting to know the personal story of each fund” and to assist in furthering the goals and mission of the Foundation.
Andrew J. Cialek is currently the Director of Finance and Analysis for Principle Wealth Partners in Madison.
Recently, Andrew and his wife, Luvie, moved to Madison for Luvie’s work as an equine veterinarian in the area. Prior to that, they lived in Charlottesville & Blacksburg, Virginia.
Andrew holds degrees in both Economics and Philosophy from the University of Vermont after graduating in 2013. While at school, Andrew was a member of the Track & Field team and the former President of his fraternity.
In addition to staying active throughout the year, Andrew helps coach a regional high school rugby team in the area and is hoping to grow the presence of the sport in Connecticut.
Leigh Curtis Higgins and her family have lived in Madison for the past 12 years. Leigh currently works at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, and has extensive experience directing nonprofit youth development programs. She grew up in Manchester, CT, graduated from UConn, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer at a rural health clinic in Niger, West Africa. Leigh holds an Ed.D in Educational Leadership.
A Connecticut native, Joanne returned with her family in 1995 and settled in Madison, after more than 20 years in the Boston area. While there she attended Boston University and established a career in Human Resources. In CT she continued her career in HR until her recent retirement, specializing in recruiting candidates at all levels of her clients‘ organizations.
For many years Joanne volunteered weekly at Yale New Haven Hospital, working with pediatric cancer patients on behalf of Circle of Care, where she served on the Board of Directors. She was involved in many activities while her daughter was in Madison schools and is a longtime member of the Shoreline Soul Gospel Choir. Joanne is a past President of the Madison Beach Club.
Returning to New England from the University of Arizona, Laurie became a Director of a Head Start Center, working directly with families in her community. This gave her an understanding of the daily challenges faced by families with limited means.
Laurie and her husband Jack are among the five founding families of The Madison Foundation and Laurie served as a Foundation Director from 2001 until 2019. It was this background that led her to establish the Neighbor to Neighbor Fund within the Madison Foundation in 2008. She has served as the Director of the N2N Fund since its inception.
Laurie has also served as a Governor of the Madison Beach Club, and a board member and secretary of The Deacon John Grave House. She was also a Chair of the Deacon John Grave Live Auction Fundraiser.
Chris Kilbourne is the Web & Social Media Specialist for ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions, and owner of Bicoastal.com LLC, a website design and marketing firm based in Madison. Chris’s career path has taken him in many directions, and his titles have included director of digital technology, lawyer, editor, reporter, legal affairs writer, web designer, and internet and social media marketer.
He has lived or worked in Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Missouri, and Kansas, but has spent at least part of every year of his life in Madison, which has been his full-time residence since 2001. He has seen downtown evolve from Nick’s and Jolly’s to Willoughby’s and Grand Apizza, and he hopes that the town’s continued growth can be done in a way that preserves the community charm that brought and/or keeps us here.
Jon Leckerling has practiced law for over thirty-five years and is the former general counsel for two New York Stock Exchange-listed, Fortune 500 companies. His legal practice includes corporate and business matters and estate planning and administration, and his firm has offices in Madison and Stonington.
Jon lives in Madison with his wife Nancy, who is a UCC (Congregational Church) minister and counselor. Jon is a Board member and the immediate past Chairman of the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, which serves 25 towns and cities in Connecticut including New Haven and Bridgeport.
Renee Pallenberg has been employed by GSB for 27 years (since 1987) in various positions, currently serving as SVP of Retail Banking and Marketing. In her time at GSB, Ms. Pallenberg has worked as in Retail Banking & Customer Service, Information Systems, Marketing, and Business Development. She is a 2001 Connecticut School of Finance and Management (CSFM) High Honors Graduate. Renee has served on numerous non-profit Boards of Directors, including Guilford Youth Mentoring, Guilford Youth & Family Services and is past President of the Guilford Chamber of Commerce. Renee joined The Madison Foundation in 2013 and currently serves on the Grants and Finance Committees, and is Chair of the Marketing Committee.
Renee has lived most of her life in Madison and currently resides with her husband, Carvin and their rescue cat. Besides serving on TMF board, she enjoys skiing, boating and vacationing – anywhere, anytime.
Geoff Palmer and his wife, Heidi, moved to Madison in the early 1970’s. He first became involved in town activities in 1976, when he was elected to a six-year term on the Board of Finance. Following that, Geoff was a founding member and Chairman of the Senior Services Commission. He joined the Board of The Madison Foundation in 1996, and later served as President. He has also served as a Vice President of Madison, A Better Chance (Madison ABC) and as a Board member of SARAH, Inc.
Karen Siclari has been a Madison resident for over 30 years, she raised her two children here and currently lives in town with her husband Ken Handelman.
Karen has a rich history of volunteer work, lending her time to fundraising for various organizations. Over the years she has worked with the E. C. Scranton Memorial Library, Our Lady of Mercy School in Madison, and Hamden Hall Country Day School.
Currently, Karen is on the fundraising committee for The Madison Foundation. She is also a co-founder of demandZERO a (DAVID _ HELP!) fund within The Madison Foundation. She chairs their auction and the annual Lights of Hope fundraiser. Additionally, she serves as Vice President of the Friends of Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.
Karen enjoys cooking, walking her dog at Hammonasset, and reading.