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
Christopher G. Aroh, CPA, CohnReznick
Clement Lewin, Ph.D., MBA, Associate VP R&D Strategy, Sanofi Pasteur
Ivan Maisel, Senior Writer,
Peter F. Culver, JD, Wealth Management Advisor, IWM Advisors, LLC
Jack A. Soos, MBA, Sr. Manager, Industrial Engine Programs, Pratt & Whitney
Len Novick, Principal , Estreich and Company, Inc.

Honorary Board Members:

Carla M. McCall, Co-managing partner, AAFCPAs
Nancy Brockman, Owner, Creative Director, Chimera Communications, Inc.
Alan B. Lazowski, Chairman, Founder LAZ Parking
Michael J. Kuziak, Chief Operating Officer LAZ Parking
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, Psy.D., Miami, FL 
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 Development Director for 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 earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in 2002. Her 14-plus years of project management in the health care industry serve her well in her multi-faceted role as the Communications Manager which includes event planning, social media management, blogging, writing press releases, partnering with media, driving marketing campaigns, creating mental health awareness campaigns, and more. Rachel’s strong focus on strategic marketing, paired with her innate passion for helping others continues to make a positive impact in the community.

She was born and raised in Connecticut but has traveled across the country, living in New Jersey, California, and New York. She enjoys spending time with her family, barre, dance, yoga, the beach, and blogging. She is a contributing writer for The Mighty. Her next adventure is working to self-publish her children’s picture book manuscript.

Email Rachel at

Leah Nelson, Program Manager

Leah Nelson earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut, where her passion and experience with mental health advocacy began. She joined the Jordan Porco Foundation in 2012 and serves as the Program Manager, overseeing the growth, development, and integrity of the organization’s critical programs. Leah is a Certified QPR Trainer and has also presented her lived experience with mental health and suicide to a number of audiences. Leah volunteers as a canine foster parent with PAWS New England and as a Big Sister with Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters. Her favorite self-care activities include long drives singing along to the Indigo Girls, watching re-runs of Frasier and the Golden Girls, stand up paddle boarding or snowshoeing depending on the season, and spending quality time with her four-legged children: Mufasa the Lionhead rabbit and Sarabi the cat.

Email Leah at

Liz McOsker, MPH CPH, Senior Program Coordinator & Data Analyst 

Liz joined JPF in March 2014. She earned her BA in History and English from the University of Connecticut, an MA in History and MAT in Education from Northeastern University, and an MPH from the University of Florida. She completed her MPH internship at the UConn Center for Public Health and Health Policy and sits on the Data and Surveillance Committee of the CT Suicide Advisory Board. She is nationally Certified in Public Health (CPH) and is a certified QPR Trainer who enjoys combining her passions for health and education through JPF’s programs. She also likes spreadsheets, data analysis, and being the unofficial tech support person in the office. In her free time, Liz enjoys running, cooking, reading, traveling, learning languages, and spending time with her husband and their golden retriever, Lucy.

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



Mac Klein, Programs/Data Intern
Lauren Leavey, Grants Intern
Aleena Garcia, Grants Intern
Juliana Holcomb, Marketing/Communications Intern