Board of Directors

The Jordan Porco Foundation’s Board consists of the founders:

Ernie Porco, Chairman
Marisa Giarnella-Porco, President

As well as the following dedicated individuals:

Carlo Fusco, Chief Underwriter, Mass Mutual
Len Novick, Principal , Estreich and Company, Inc.
Carla M. McCall, Co-managing partner, AAFCPAs
Alan B. Lazowski, Chairman, Founder LAZ Parking
Michael J. Kuziak, Chief Operating Officer LAZ Parking
Nancy Brockman, Owner, Creative Director, Chimera Communications, Inc.
Tom Steen, Executive Director, CASAC, Capitol Area Substance Abuse Council
Clinical Advisors:

Harold I. (Hank) Schwartz, M.D., Psychiatrist-In-Chief, Institute of Living, and Vice President of Behavioral Health, Hartford Hospital
Dr. Mercy Arias,Director of Clinical Training and Associate Professor, Carlos Albizu University
Rocío Chang, Psy.D. , Clinical Research Associate University of Connecticut Health Center, Psychiatry Department
Dr. Elizabeth Cracco, Ph.D., Director of Counseling and Mental Health Services, University of Connecticut, Storrs Campus
Dr. Barry A. Schreier, Ph.D., Director of University Counseling Services and Clinical Professor of Psychology, University of Iowa
Dr. Jason Sikorski, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychological Science, Central Connecticut State University
Steven C. Rogers, M.D., MS-CTR, Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Associate Director of Research, Director of Emergency Mental Health Services for the Emergency Department, and Co-PI for Injury Free Coalition for Kids at the Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center
Celeste Jorge, MPHEpidemiologist, Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) Coordinator, Health Statistics & Surveillance Section, Connecticut Department of Public Health
Michele Martin, MSAssistant Director Campus Recreation & Intramurals/University Wellness Director, Georgia Southern University


Marisa Giarnella-Porco, Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Co-founder and President of the Foundation, Marisa has worked in human services since 1985. Her employment experiences range from the CT Department of Children and Families to various positions with local mental health authorities in Eastern Connecticut. Marisa has actively volunteered for decades in her community and is currently an active member of the CT Suicide Advisory Board. Marisa enjoys cooking, gardening, water sports, and snuggling with her two dogs Sydney and Valentina.

Email Marisa at

Matt Riley, Chief Operating Officer

Matt studied abroad at the American School in London before returning to the United States to earn his Bachelors in Communications from the University of Hartford. He has fifteen years of experience in corporate training and development and ten years in nonprofit senior management, including director positions with the American Red Cross and United Way. Matt is an active volunteer and regularly participates in community engagement activities. He is a Connecticut state certified firefighter, founder of the emergency medical training company, CSR, and is a passionate advocate for suicide prevention. When he’s not working, Matt enjoys spending time with his family or when time permits, golfing.

Email Matt at


Gillian Anderson, Development Director

Gillian Anderson is the new Development Director of the Jordan Porco Foundation. Her first fundraising job was in public television in 1988. She then went on to work for a National Public Radio station (NPR) in 1991 as a Corporate Underwriting Sales Representative. As the station income grew, she soon became the Development Director overseeing all station fundraising efforts. They included individual gifts, major gifts, outreach programs, marketing, special events and foundation grants; growing the department from 3 development staff members to 12. The annual budget of the station grew to $4.5 million.

Gillian was then responsible for a capital campaign to advance public radio and build a new facility, helping to raise 7.6 million dollars. With 28 years of fundraising experience, she is thrilled to join the Jordan Porco Foundation, an organization whose mission is very close to her heart. As stated on her 15 year old daughter Abby’s bucket list, her goal is to #37 “Help Others in a Big Way”.

Gillian serves on the board of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County and is Leader of the Family Readiness Group (FRG) for the 169th RTI for the Connecticut National Guard.

She lives in Trumbull, CT with her husband Charlie, her son Ben, two rescue dogs Logan and Olive, and rescue cat Sushi.

Email Gillian at


Rachel Papke, Communications Manager

Rachel Papke is new to the Jordan Porco Foundation (JPF). Rachel earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in 2002. She was born and raised in Connecticut but has traveled across the country, living in New Jersey, California, and New York.

Rachel has been a Project Manager for the past 14 years in the health care industry, with a strong focus on strategic marketing. She is committed to the JPF mission and has a strong passion to help others.

In her free time she enjoys yoga, hip hop dance, the beach, blogging about being a Mom, and spending time with her husband, two young kids, and dog. Her next adventure is working to self publish a children’s picture book.

Email Rachel at

Leah Nelson, Program Manager

Leah Nelson received her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. While there, she took part in founding the UConn chapter of Active Minds and received the Katharine P. Dahl Student Leader of the Year Award at the 2011 Active Minds National Conference. Leah was hired as our first Outreach Coordinator in July 2012. She now holds the position of Program Manager, responsible for overseeing the successful execution of all of the Foundation’s programs and events. Leah is a Certified QPR Trainer and is happy to offer this service to interested colleges. When she is not working, Leah enjoys spending time with her bunny, Mufasa, and cat, Sarabi, while singing along to all things Josh Groban.

Email Leah at

Liz McOsker, CPH, Senior Program Coordinator & Data Analyst

Liz joined JPF in March 2014 as a career change to public health. Previously, she taught English and History at high schools in Connecticut and Boston.  She has a Master’s in History from Northeastern University and a Bachelor’s in English and History from UConn. She is currently working on her MPH through the University of Florida and recently earned her Certified in Public Health (CPH) provisional credential. She is a certified QPR Trainer and loves combining her passions for health and education through JPF’s programs. She also enjoys spreadsheets, data analysis, and being the unofficial tech support person in the office. When she’s not working or studying, Liz enjoys running, cooking, reading, and spending time with her husband and their golden retriever, Zoe.

Email Liz at

Emily Betts, MSW, Program Coordinator 

Emily received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and English from the University of Connecticut. In 2016, she graduated from the UConn School of Social Work MSW program, earning her Master’s of Social Work with a method concentration in Community Organizing and a focused area of study in Urban Policy Issues. In her free time she plays guitar and ukulele and sings at open mics across Connecticut. She also enjoys live music, reading, playing video games, and snuggling with her adorable tortoiseshell cat, Nova. Emily has been a passionate member of the JPF team since June 2015.

Email Emily at

Alex Katz

Alex Katz, MS, Outreach Coordinator 

Alex is new to the organization and is excited to combine her passion for mental health awareness with her love of working with college students. Alex recently graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Master’s degree in Human Development, with a concentration in Higher Education and Student Affairs. She also holds Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Connecticut. In her free time, Alex can be found doing Crossfit (or generally lifting heavy things), competing in Spartan races, and ranting about all things social justice. She also enjoys playing with her puppy, Spartan, and her cats, Mufasa and Cupcake.

Email Alex at


Dave Morency, Operations Coordinator

Dave was our inaugural “Foundation Champion of the Year” award winner for 2014. He spent countless hours driving a truck and helping us set up tents at Fresh Check Days. So when we realized we needed someone on staff to coordinate all our tent and operations work, Dave was the man for the job. We’re pleased to welcome Dave to the team as our Operations Coordinator. He makes tents happen.

Email Dave at

Mike Daly, Administrative Assistant

Mike was introduced to the Jordan Porco Foundation as a volunteer on the Hartford Resource Development Committee (RDC) and has served on that committee for over a year. Mike has a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and Organizational Behavior from Central Connecticut State University and a JD from Western New England University. He enjoys being part of the team, supporting the staff and helping the foundation operate efficiently. Mike will continue to work with the RDC and believes it is very important to share our mission with the community. In his spare time, Mike enjoys working around the house, reading, writing, and volunteering at his church.

Email Mike at



Vincent Buffa, Program Intern 
Emilio Figueroa, Marketing Intern