Foundation names new president

Sharon Reiss Closius has been appointed as the Valley Community Foundation’s new president and CEO.

Effective Jan. 28, Closius will succeed Jamie Cohen, who had announced his upcoming retirement in July, after leading the organization for the past five years.

“In Sharon Closius we have found a candidate who has finance, operations and development experience, combined with an in-depth understanding of what a Community Foundation is and does,” said John Zaprzalka, chairman of the VCF board of directors, who also led the search committee. “We believe that her diverse skill set will help VCF grow and expand Valley philanthropy well into the future.”

Closius comes to VCF from the Fairfield County Community Foundation as that organization’s director of philanthropic services. In that capacity, she worked directly with donors on their philanthropic plans, and oversaw fund management and administration. Prior to that, she served as FCCF’s director of development and director of finance and administration.

A Minnesota native, Closius earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California Irvine, and a master’s degree from Pepperdine University. She is a certified fund-raising executive, the president and a charter member of the Bethel Toastmasters Club and the mother of three.

“I’m excited for this opportunity to join this young and growing organization that has such a strong local presence,” said Closius. “I look forward to working with the donors and the nonprofits — and building on the work of my predecessors, so that VCF can have an even greater philanthropic impact in the Valley.”

Established in 2004, the Valley Community Foundation is affiliate of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. It serves the Naugatuck Valley cities and towns including Shelton, and is dedicated to making. For more information, visit