Lombardi Twins Fund for the Valley

The Lombardi Twins, recently created a fund at the Valley Community Foundation (VCF) to help support organizations, causes and issues special to them.

Republished from an Oct. 13, 2022 press release.

DERBY, CT – Barbara Lombardi and Elizabeth “Betsey” Doane, affectionately known throughout the Valley as the Lombardi Twins, recently created a fund at the Valley Community Foundation (VCF) to benefit their beloved community.

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

The Lombardi Twins Fund for the Valley, a donor advised fund, will help support organizations, causes and issues special to them.

“The Valley has always been good to us, and we hope the fund will help agencies and organizations making a difference,” Barbara said. “Having been in the social services field, I know that there’s a great need.”

The Lombardi Twins are no strangers to giving back to their community. Both have been active in area organizations and nonprofits for years, and both have impressive professional and volunteer credentials.

Barbara, who retired in 2017 after more than 39 years as a substance abuse and crisis counselor, last at BHCare, is still very active in the Valley community. She currently serves on several boards, including the Naugatuck Valley Health District, President of the Derby Centennial Lions Club, and she represents the club on the Valley Council for Health and Human Services.

Betsey, a semi-retired teacher of mathematics at Housatonic Community College (HCC), is currently 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. In 2019, HCC honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding teaching and for her philanthropy. Earlier this year, the Connecticut State University System created an award in her name: The Betsey Doane Innovation Award for Accessibility and Inclusion. It’s given annually to faculty, staff or students who have significantly contributed to access and inclusion.

“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.”

The Lombardi family has been involved in the Valley community for generations. Barbara and Betsey’s father owned and operated the Lombardi Manufacturing Company, and their grandfather founded the Lombardi Motorcar Company, both were in Derby.

The twins are also very famous and well-respected in the ham radio community. They have been licensed operators and ham-radio experts for decades. Both are also longtime members of the American Radio Relay League, the 100-plus year-old national ham radio operators’ association.

Barbara and Betsey lost their eyesight shortly after being born.

“Their blindness has never diminished their drive to succeed and give back to their community,” said Sharon Closius, VCF’s President and CEO.

“These two wonderful women are extraordinary role models to so many in our Valley and state,” Closius said. “We’re thrilled they have asked VCF to be the steward of their fund and we look forward to the positive impact it, and they, will have in our Valley for years to come.”

A VCF Donor Advised Fund, like the Lombardi Twins Fund for The Valley, is a very flexible fund. Donors can recommend grants at any time to any qualified public charity in the country. The Lombardi Twins, however, have decided their grants will always stay in the Valley.

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Lombardi Twins Fund for The Valley