Lombardi Twins Fund for the Valley

Est. 2022 as a donor advised fund by the Lombardi twins, Barbara Lombardi and Elizabeth (Betsey) Doane.

Lombardi Twins
Elizabeth “Betsey” Doane and Barbara Lombardi. Photo credit: Fred Ortoli Photography

Like most teenage girls growing up in the Valley during the 1950s, Barbara Lombardi and Elizabeth “Betsey” Doane went to school, had tons of friends, learned to play the piano, and took ballet lessons.

The sisters, affectionately known as the Lombardi Twins, were quintessential Valley teenagers, doing all the things kids their age did, if not more. Their formative years of education were at The Oak Hill School in Hartford, finishing their senior year at Notre Dame High School in Bridgeport.

“We were certainly always busy at school,” Barbara said. “We wrote articles for the school newspaper, we took ballet and even participated in a couple of minstrels. Then there were music lessons and we played classical pieces in school too.”

Barbara and Betsey lost their eyesight shortly after being born, but that didn’t stop them from achieving full and busy lives, both then and now.

“Our mom and dad were wonderful,” Barbara said. “They exposed us to so much and they always told us there’s no such word as can’t. It wasn’t allowed in our vocabulary.”

The twins also said their parents taught them to be involved in the community and give back whenever they could.

In 2022, Barbara and Betsey established the Lombardi Twins Fund for the Valley, a donor advised fund, that supports organizations and causes dear to them.

“There are many needs in the Valley, and we hope this fund will be there for those struggling,” Betsey said. “We really want to help the underserved with food, and services in general.”

Barbara, who retired in 2017 after more than 39 years as a substance abuse and crisis counselor, is still very active in the Valley community and state. She serves on several boards, including the Naugatuck Valley Health District, President of the Derby Centennial Lions Club, and was appointed by Gov. Ned Lamont as a Commissioner to the State Independent Living Council.

Betsey is a semi-retired teacher of mathematics at Housatonic Community College and is President of the Derby-Shelton Rotary, a board member of the Valley Transit District, and an advisory board member of the University of New Haven’s Tagliatela College of Engineering.

“Being blind has never diminished their drive to succeed and give back to their community,” said Sharon Closius, VCF’s President and CEO. “These two born, but that didn’t stop them from achieving and living wonderful women are extraordinary role models to so full and busy lives, both then and now. many in our Valley and state.”

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Lombardi Twins Fund for The Valley