Growing Community | Planning Your Garden
Grace Farms Foundation was established in 2009 as a private operating foundation with 501c3 status in New Canaan, Connecticut. The Foundation supports initiatives in the areas of nature, arts, justice, community, and faith, and encourages participation on a local, national, and global level. Grace Farms Foundation carries out its work principally through the publicly available facilities and integrated programs of Grace Farms, an 80-acre property owned and operated by the Foundation, where individuals and not-for-profit organizations can come together to collaborate for good.
Sharon Prince is the Chair and President of Grace Farms Foundation, a private operating foundation established in 2009 to enhance lives through engagement with nature, arts, justice, community, and faith.
Ms. Prince spearheaded the vision for Grace Farms, a new kind of public space shared by individuals and not-for-profit organizations, and she commissioned the Pritzker Prize-winning firm SANAA to design its accompanying River building. Since opening in October 2015, Grace Farms has emerged as a place of grace and peace for all. It has garnered numerous awards for contributions to architecture, environmental sustainability, and social good, including the AIA National 2017 Architecture Honor Award, Fast Company’s 2016 Innovation by Design Award for Social Good and the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize from the Illinois Institute of Technology, where she participated in the symposium Reimagining the Metropolis. Ms. Prince was appointed to the 2018 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury.
Through her work with the Foundation, Ms. Prince has fought to end child exploitation, human trafficking, and violence against women on a local, national and international scale. In 2016, she co-hosted a convening with the United Nations University entitled Fighting Human Trafficking in Conflict, which resulted in a published report to the United Nations Security Council and the UN Resolution 2331 in December. Grace Farms Foundation is developing and initializing a global media campaign Unchain: Freedom Needs Fighters to end modern day slavery with WPP and Shazam.
Ms. Prince also serves on the Board of Next Generation Nepal, a charity dedicated to reuniting victims of child exploitation with their families. In 2017, she received NOMI Network’s Abolitionist Award and Auburn Seminary’s Lives of Commitment Award. Prior to developing Grace Farms, Ms. Prince was the President of 66North, an Icelandic technical outerwear brand that she developed and distributed in 100 stores in North America. She holds a BS/BA and MBA from the University of Tulsa.
Michael is General Partner and CEO of Chen & Associates. He serves as the Senior Advisor to the President of Grace Farms Foundation and as Chairman of the CEO Forum Company. Previously, Michael served as the President and CEO of GE’s media financing business, President of NBC News’ Strategic Initiatives Group, and board member for The Weather Channel. He also spent 10 years as a Senior Vice President of North America for GE Capital Aviation Services and founded the Peacock Equity Fund. Michael received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester and a master’s in business administration in finance from the Johnson School at Cornell University, where he is also an Emeritus Advisory Board Member.
Krishna is an active strategist on initiatives to combat human trafficking on a global, national, and state level. In a distinguished legal career spanning more than two decades, she served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut from 2003 to 2015. Prior to joining Grace Farms Foundation Krishna served as the Deputy Chief of the National Security and Major Crimes Unit from 2010 to 2015.
Since joining the Foundation, Krishna has been at the center of organizing actions against human trafficking in Connecticut including helping to draft amendments to strengthen Connecticut’s existing anti-trafficking laws, which went into effect on May 17, 2016. She also leads innovative big data platform training sessions at Grace Farms for law enforcement to locate and apprehend traffickers and rescue survivors. Krishna has also worked with the private sector, academia, and government to create an innovate program that will provide a high level training to hotel and motel staff throughout Connecticut. On a national and international level, Krishna has worked with other recognized leaders and organizations to convene global experts to identify ways to combat human trafficking in conflict as well as to look at ways to create more transparency in global supply chains.
Prior to joining Grace Farms Foundation, Rod oversaw the New Haven office in Connecticut with the Department of Homeland Security. His career as a federal agent began in 1995 and throughout that time Rod has investigated a variety of federal criminal violations. He has received numerous awards including the Medal of Valor for his heroic actions during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As Director of Safety and Justice Initiative Advisor, part of his responsibilities include the advising and training of federal, state, and local law enforcement in combatting human trafficking and illegal wildlife trade on a local, national, and global level. In addition, Rod develops and facilitates educational programming geared toward awareness and prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Lisa Lynne has a combination of professional experience in the performing arts, 20 years of ministry, and extensive work in the not-for-profit sector. She oversees and facilitates the engagement of not-for-profit organizations through the space grant program, manages the tour guide program, and provides direction to community programming at Grace Farms, such as the Community Garden. She is passionate about the development of meaningful relationships and advancing the mission of Grace Farms Foundation in collaboration with local, state, and national not-for-profit partners. Lisa Lynne holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie-Mellon University and a master’s from Alliance Theological Seminary. She and her family currently reside in New Canaan.
Mark is a National Geographic Channel filmmaker and Emmy-nominated wildlife television host who grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut. In addition to his film work, he serves on the Board of Directors of The Explorers Club where he is Chairman of Wildlife and Conservation. He devotes his career to the preservation of the natural world, the restoration of threatened and endangered species, and the exploration of how to inspire the public to experience the wonder and awe that nature can provide. Mark serves as Nature Initiative Director for Grace Farms Foundation.
Kenyon, a multi-media performance artist also known as little ray, has been the recipient of a Greer Garson Award, a National Young Arts Foundation Award, and was named a White House Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He studied religion and the arts at Yale Divinity School and at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music where he was awarded the Director’s Prize for his presentation of the blues aesthetic as American lament. He later served as Artist-in-Residence for the 2015-16 academic year. As Arts Initiative Director for Grace Farms Foundation, Kenyon seeks to actualize the integrative presence of the arts throughout the initiatives at Grace Farms by developing new, collaborative, and site-specific works in the literary, visual, and performing arts through various innovative partnerships.
Chelsea is an award-winning publisher, entrepreneur and communications thought partner with expertise in brand development, strategic communications, print design, project management, and marketing. In addition to her role as Communications & Marketing Director for Grace Farms Foundation, Chelsea is founder of Chelsea Print & Publishing, established in 2011. Through her business, Chelsea has created positive and innovative aesthetically-focused storytelling for individuals and companies across industries ranging from the Bordeaux Wine Council to United Nations University. Chelsea has been featured as a commentator in Forbes, C Magazine and Wine Spectator, and as a guest speaker at Stanford Business School and Harvard Business School. Chelsea has been working with Grace Farms Foundation since 2015, and published the Foundation’s inaugural book, and souls are candles.
Megan holds a master’s of business administration and a bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University. She brings a diverse background to her role, with more than eight years of experience in marketing and customer engagement within the financial services sector. Prior to joining the Foundation, Megan worked as a business development associate for AQR Capital Management, a Greenwich-based hedge fund. She currently serves as the Engagement Manager for Grace Farms Foundation. In this role, she leads the organizational effort to cultivate long-term, meaningful relationships with the philanthropic, donor, and private sector communities.
Prior to joining Grace Farms Foundation, Regan led the Marketing Department at Hart Howerton, an inter-disciplinary planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design firm in New York City. Previously, she worked for Robert A.M. Stern Architects, providing marketing services for their product design subsidiary. Currently as Marketing Manager for Grace Farms Foundation she assists the Director of Communications & Marketing with all event-related marketing and outreach, as well as overall brand awareness and development.
Pamela holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Hamilton College and is currently working on a master’s degree in museum studies at Harvard University. She joined Grace Farms Foundation in August 2015 and currently serves as the Arts Initiative Curator. Previously Pamela held positions at institutions including: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Christie’s, the Yale University Art Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery.
Adam, named one of the 10 most impactful leaders in the ski industry under 30 in 2014, most recently lived and worked in Squaw Valley, California. He attended the University of Richmond and has travelled to more than 20 countries. As Director of Food and Beverage of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, a nationally renowned mountain resort with more than 6,000 skiable acres, he oversaw 22 different food and beverage destinations, including catering and events, lead the concept and design of 11 new restaurants with environmentally sustainable operations, and managed more than 400 employees a year. Adam started as a volunteer for Grace Farms Foundation and is currently the Director of Operations.
Frank strives to deliver a gracious experience to all who enter Grace Farms and hopes to set the pace for how the public interacts with this space. He created the tea programming in the Pavilion and is a natural “host” thanks to his multinational childhood spanning three continents as the son of a diplomat. This diverse upbringing contributed to his entrepreneurial spirit and panache, leading to his extraordinary professional career from underwater cave explorer in Florida to running his own bi-coastal tea company in New York City. Frank resides in Wilton with his family.
Neena has a bachelor’s degree in culinary and hospitality management from Monroe College. She is the former Garde Manger and Pizza Chef at Jean-Georges’ Inn at Pound Ridge. Neena has been teaching cooking techniques for the past nine years to adults and children. She has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, New Canaan News online, Fairfield Parent magazine, and CTBites. Neena was also the guest speaker for a 2013 Fund for Women and Girls luncheon featuring Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She currently serves as the Commons Manager for Grace Farms Foundation.
Before transitioning to Grace Farms Foundation as the Director of Facilities, Bill owned and operated his own residential construction business for more than 30 years. Deeply committed to the community, Bill has donated his time to various local projects, including an ABC Extreme Makeover and a local makeover in his hometown of Ridgefield. He was instrumental in overseeing the construction of the award-winning River building at Grace Farms and continues to coordinate the smooth functioning of the 80-acre property so it can be enjoyed by all.
Adam was previously a World Champion snowboarder, with experience on the U.S. Snowboarding Team, and has received various national and international titles. He has 15 years of experience as a National Standard Residential Contractor as well as in custom residential home building and owning his own business. Adam currently serves as Grace Farms Foundation’s Assistant Facilities Director. He manages geothermal and HVAC systems as well as building maintenance and landscaping. Adam and his family reside in New Canaan
Christine came to Grace Farms Foundation with a strong background of administration and creative experience. Previously she was the Director for The New Canaan-Outback Teen Center and has had a 23-year career as a professional photographer. Currently Christine is the Facilities & Purchasing Manager for Grace Farms Foundation. She helps to oversee a very dedicated team of 10 who provide all the maintenance and care for the River building and the beautiful 80 acres of Grace Farms.
Most recently, Sarah served as Managing Director of Roulette Intermedium where she developed and implemented strategic growth initiatives and fundraising plans designed to engage new audiences, artists, and communities at the organization’s new Brooklyn venue. Earlier in her career, she spent five years at MoMA PS1 as the museum’s Curatorial Assistant for Public Programs & Special Events Manager where she managed programming and public initiatives including Warm Up summer music series, the Venice Biennial, the Armory Show, and key programming in collaboration with the MoMA in New York City. Sarah joined Grace Farms Foundation in October 2016 as the Director of Events, managing operations, logistics, and staffing for the Foundation’s public interdisciplinary programming and not-for-profit engagement.
Kate is a Senior Event Manger at Grace Farms Foundation and works primarily on Justice events. She is also responsible for helping to administrate the space grant program and ensuring events run smoothly for the Foundation’s not-for-profit partners. Kate graduated from Hamilton College and, prior to Grace Farms Foundation, worked with not-for-profits for 12 years in roles ranging from marketing to product and event management.
Jack has been involved with entrepreneurial pursuits for more than 25 years. He developed four businesses and has a strong passion for mentoring and coaching sports for youth. Jack has successfully managed the volleyball program at the New Canaan YMCA for more than 15 years and has coached volleyball to hundreds of junior high girls for more than eight years. As Sports and Recreation Manager for Grace Farms Foundation, he introduces and manages various sports and recreation activity as well as the partnerships that enrich the lives of those who participate in basketball, volleyball, chess, pickle ball, and more.
Thomas is an experienced accounting and finance professional with years of diversified experience. Prior to joining Grace Farms Foundation, he was the Corporate Controller for Edgewell Personal Care. He currently serves as Controller for the Foundation and is responsible for the oversight of all finance, accounting, and fiscal reporting activities. Thomas currently resides in Wilton, Connecticut with his family.
Marjorie has more than 20 years of public and charity accounting experience. She is a CPA and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara and San Jose State University. Marjorie also lived in England and worked as an industry management accountant and spent many years as an operational accountant for the education sector. Marjorie serves as Assistant Controller for Grace Farms Foundation and lives with her family in Yorktown Heights, New York.
Nicole served as the Head of People Operations for several technology start-ups including Birchbox, Inc. She holds a master’s from New York Institute of Technology, her SHRM-CP certification, and spent her undergraduate days on “the hill” at Holy Cross. Nicole is the Director of Human Resources for Grace Farms Foundation, where she brings the same passion to serving the team that the Foundation does to serving the community. She lives in Stamford, Connecticut with her husband and two children.
Fred was born and raised in New Canaan, Connecticut. He became a Police Officer for the New Canaan Police Department at the age of 19 in 1987 and worked his way up to the rank of Lieutenant. Fred retired from the New Canaan Police Department in 2015 after 28 years of service and came to work for Grace Farms Foundation as Assistant Safety Director. He lives in New Canaan with his family.
Gilbert is a versatile, jack of all trades IT professional with more than 15 years of experience in the field. He has provided exceptional help desk and customer support on both the user and executive level, domestically and internationally. His goal is to empathize with the end user so he can assure them that whatever problem they have, he can try and solve it in a quick and timely manner with minimal down time. He currently serves as Network & Security Support for Grace Farms Foundation.
Board of Directors
|Sharon Prince||Chair and President, Grace Farms Foundation|
|Roy Medile||Treasurer, Grace Farms Foundation|
|Michael Chen||Secretary, Grace Farms Foundation|
|Jay Fielden||Editor-in-Chief, Esquire|
|Peter Hunsinger||CMO - Partner, Everyone's Earth|
|Taylor McCall-Mazza||Secretary, Grace Farms Foundation|
|Robert Prince||Co-CIO, Bridgewater Associates|
|Chelsea Thatcher||Director of Communications & Marketing, Grace Farms Foundation|
|David Verklin||Senior Advisor, Boston Consulting Group|
|Veronica Verklin||Advisor, Media Policy Center at the University of Virginia|
|Dr. Miroslav Volf||Director, The Yale Center for Faith and Culture|
|Gregory Zehner||Former partner, Goldman Sachs||Associate Pastor Emeritus, Grace Community Church MIT and Yale Divinity School graduate|
Grace Farms is dedicated to providing a warm, welcoming place that all visitors can enjoy. With free access to its 80-acre grounds during public hours, we hope to provide access and opportunities for diverse communities to collaborate for good. Grace Farms Foundation seeks out diversity in all areas, starting with its staff, extending to programming areas.