DANBURY - The founder of Connecticut Institute for Communities is stepping down as the head of the nonprofit that provides health and education programs for western Connecticut. Katherine McKeon Curran will become president and chief executive officer of the institute beginning Aug. 1, replacing former U.S. Rep. James Maloney, who founded the organization known as CIFC 18 years ago. "I am honored to assume the role of president and CEO at CIFC, where I look forward to continuing to lead our efforts in providing the highest quality services to the thousands of patients, clients, individuals, and families that we serve throughout Connecticut," Curran said in a statement. As the institute's chief operating officer and general counsel, Curran led the organization's response to the coronavirus pandemic. She supported employees as they administered more than 23,000 COVID-19 tests and 12,000 vaccines to the community. Maloney will be a part-time consultant for CIFC. "I am enthusiastic about continuing to engage with CIFC to make notable progress for our communities," Maloney said in a statement. "And I especially look forward to working with Katie Curran in her new role. She is a very talented and dedicated leader, who will do a great job as CIFC's president and CEO." CIFC is based in Danbury and serves low- and- moderate-income families in Connecticut through a combination of health and education programs, as well as housing and economic development projects. CIFC Board of Directors' search process for a new leader was lengthy and extensive, the organization said. Francis J. Muska, chairman of the board, said he's "delighted" with the choice of Curran. "We knew her credentials, and her prior work at CIFC over nearly a decade," he said in a statement. "Her great achievements confronting the COVID-19 public health emergency this last year speak also to her determination, work ethic, and integrity during a crisis. We know that she will continue to flourish in her future endeavors for the community as CIFC president and CEO." Curran joined CIFC in the fall of 2011 as the institute's first staff attorney and compliance officer. She built CIFC's compliance department, becoming an expert in regulatory compliance and operations in CIFC's service fields, CIFC said. She oversaw the Health Center's move to 120 Main St. in downtown Danbury. During the coronavirus pandemic, her duties included working at the vaccine registration center and coordinating with city, state and local partners over various pandemic issues. She oversaw collaboration with the federal government to acquire and distribute vaccines, and then expand CIFC's vaccine delivery capacity. Of the organization's vaccine supply, 65 percent went to underserved and minority populations, identified by the state. Curran holds a Bachelor of Arts in government studies from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., graduating cum laude in 2003. She graduated cum laude with a law degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the Quinnipiac Health Law Journal from 2008-09. She was certified in health care compliance by the Health Care Compliance Association, and last year completed the Harvard Kennedy School's Executive Education Program for Non-Profit Financial Stewardship.