United Way Team

You are here

Every member of United Way of Coastal Fairfield County's team is dedicated to changing outcomes for children and creating communities where families thrive and prosper. With your help, we are changing lives for the better, cradle to career.


President & CEO

Merle Berke-Schlessel, Esq.
President & CEO

(203) 339-6302

"It is time to change the status quo. We must encourage social innovation and test new ways of solving entrenched problems. We can do this by coming together and bringing diverse ideas to the table. We can LIVE UNITED!"


Deborah Cooper
Information and Data Manager
(203) 339-6311

"My position involves managing with our data warehouse which stores data related to all those we interact with.  This allows our staff to have the information they need to deliver excellent customer service to our donors, community partners, and other United Ways."


Richard Coore
Education Data Science & Analytics Intern

"Data science is one of the most effective tools to assess and pinpoint the barriers children face in the learning environment.  It has been my pleasure to provide data driven solutions to help students reach their full potential through the United Way."


Cathy DeCesare
Sr. Vice President Strategic Initiatives

(203) 339-6309

"I am excited about the collaborative work we are doing to give every child the opportunity to succeed."



Jana Douglas
Masters of Public Administration (MPA) Intern


"I have always been a firm believer in doing work that allows you to love what you do, and do what you love. Change is often hard to enact; but with passion, earnestness and dedication it becomes much more possible. United Way as an organization, along with its outstanding staff and resources, serves as the epitome of how change is brought about. I am delighted and grateful to have been given the opportunity to help create such change that will positively influence the community and help build the future leaders of tomorrow."

Roel A. Eblamo
Pledge, DC, Proc & A/R
(203) 339-6323

"In maintaining the highest standard of performing the above tasks gives our organization a valuable fiscal information about the funds that were raised and ability to financially commit to any impactful community activities/programs. Further, complying with donors’ wishes of where to funnel their funds nourishes the fiduciary relationship forged between United Way and its communities through the years."


Izabela Frankiewicz
Senior Accountant
(203) 339-6348

"As Senior Accountant I manage and report on our financials, handle benefits and payroll, and manage the grants we receive and those we provide to our partners.  For me it’s not just numbers.  It makes me feel good about the money we are investing in the community and the lives we are able to make better."

Dana Freeman
nications Manager
(203) 339-6347

“I look forward to telling the stories of those who’s lives have been changed by United Way and those who volunteer and give to the organization to make the work possible. It’s a privilege to be part of the team.”


Cathy J. Greco
Vice President Corporate Accounts
(203) 339-6304

"In my role, I oversee the Corporate campaign staff and collectively we raise $4.7 million.  I enjoy seeing the companies really connecting with our work and the feeling they get of giving back to the community through United Way."


Hilda P. Johnson
Chief Financial Officer
(203) 339-6322

"I live united by ensuring United Way of Coastal Fairfield County consistently adheres to strict accountability and transparency standards to maintain financial integrity and donor trust."

David Kennedy
Chief Operating Officer
(203) 339-6356

"I help manage all hands-on operational aspects of our United Way and certain key programmatic  initiatives, including our work in preventing and ending homelessness – all with a focus on helping our United Way be more successful in changing the odds for children in our region.  Working with others, I also help set strategy for overall revenue generation, with direct responsibility for all phases of major gifts and special revenue initiatives."

Allison Logan
Acting Executive Director, Bridgeport Prospers
(203) 339-6318

"I am excited to bring my knowledge and passion for early childhood to the Bridgeport Prospers Cradle to Career Collective Impact movement, through the backbone support of United Way. Investment in very young children, their families and education support systems, lays the foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society."


Diane Santaniello
RD Administrative Assistant
(203) 339-6306

"I provide support to the Resource Development group, maintain and develop donor databases, provide customer service for e-pledge and employee campaigns.  I also coordinate correspondence and materials as needed."


Karen K. Sportini
Director, Resource Development
(203) 339-6314

"As a fundraiser in both the residential and workplace arenas, I feel so fortunate to witness the goodness of people on a daily basis."