Fortunato Farewell

March 31, 2017

Thank you and we’ll miss you, Karla! This month, the HEFN staff and members bid farewell to Karla Fortunato, who just left HEFN’s staff to become the next President of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy.

For the past thirteen years, Karla was an invaluable part of the HEFN staff team, joining me as one of only two staff in 2004. Since 2010 Karla served as co-director of HEFN, providing leadership as the network grew in members and staff, expanded its issues of focus, and evolved towards a new strategic direction.

HEFN is stronger today because of Karla’s professionalism, pragmatism, and persistence. Environmental health and justice philanthropy is stronger because of her commitment to public health, environmental protection, and social equity. She regularly looked at what we were doing, identified where we could be better, and helped us get there.

Closing out this wonderful work partnership is bittersweet. But we expect great things in coming years from Karla and the Connecticut Council – and opportunities for new partnerships. 

I send off this Fortunato Farewell with appreciation for all that has blossomed from Karla’s quiet gifts of hard work and steadfast friendship. And with an excerpt from a May Sarton poem appropriately titled, "The Work of Happiness":

I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree. …
The tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering


Kathy Sessions is Executive Director of HEFN.  She and Karla Fortunato served as Co-Directors from 2010-2017.

From our Blog

Kathy Sessions
Blog posted on July 27, 2019
In 1999, Michael Lerner at the Jenifer Altman Foundation and his colleagues were concerned that the health of people, wildlife, and ecosystems all were being harmed by toxic pollution, but they saw...

Stay Informed