Valley Community Foundation Welcomes Four New Board Members

Four new members join the VCF Board of Directors, as two members make their departure.

Derby, CT (February 17, 2017) - The Valley Community Foundation (VCF) is proud to announce the appointment of four new board members: Francis H. Michaud, Jr., Raymond Oppel, Fred Ortoli and Marianne Smythe replacing former members. The organization also thanks departing board members, Susan Coyle and John Zaprzalka, whose terms concluded at the end of 2016, for their dedicated service to the Foundation and the Valley community.

"On behalf of the VCF Board of Directors, we would like to thank Sue Coyle and John Zaprzalka for their terms of exemplary service to the Valley community. VCF has made significant strides under their tenure and continues to grow as the leading philanthropic endowment of the Valley," said Sharon Closius, VCF President and CEO. "We are delighted to welcome Frank, Ray, Fred and Marianne to our board. They each bring unique knowledge that will help the Foundation build and informed and philanthropic Valley community."

New to the VCF Board:

Francis H. Michaud, Jr, CPA is a founding

partner of Michaud Accavallo Woodbridge & Cusano, LLC and is the partner in charge of technical review. Additionally, he is the founder of the Health Initiative for Men (HiM) program at Griffin Hospital and is also an Incorporator of the Hospital.

Francis has been very active in the Valley community. He has actively participated in the Ansonia Rotary Club for over 20 years, taking on various positions. In 2014, he was the chair of the Ansonia Heritage Festival. Prior to that he was the Treasurer of the Fairfield University Alumnae Association, the university where he obtained his B.B.A. in accounting. He has also served as a board member and President for the Milford/Orange YMCA.

Raymond Oppel is a lifelong resident of Shelton and a self-employed CPA in Shelton since 1993. Raymond is also a member of the Connecticut Society of CPA's and the AICPA. He has a wife, Debbie, who is a teacher in the Shelton school system and they have two children.

Raymond is active in Huntington Congregational Church, having served as treasurer for more than a decade and on the endowment committee since 1994. He has served on the Board and as Treasurer of Shelton National Little League, since 1997, on the Board and Treasurer of Shelton Babe Ruth since 1999, and serves as Treasurer of Boy Scout Troop 3, Derby since 2001, in addition to assisting at the council level. As well, Raymond has been an active participant on VCF's Community Grants Committee since 2014.

Fred Ortoli is a lifelong Valley resident and lives in Oxford with his wife, Lynn. When he is not behind the camera, Fred is serving on the Boards of Directors of the Valley United Way, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, and BHcare Foundation.

Fred enjoys participating in community events such as Men Who Cook, Pedal for PCRC and the Corporate Volunteer Council, among others. He has a passion for outdoor activities, cooking, woodworking, pen making, gardening, stained glass projects, and sports car events.

Marianne Smythe has been a financial advisor for 25 years. She and her husband, Brad, have lived in Shelton for over 33 years, raising two daughters in the Shelton school system. She also has two grandchildren.

Marianne has been very active in volunteer and service opportunities with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport and her home parish of St. Joseph's in Shelton. For the past two years, she has also taken the opportunity to provide financial education and leadership programs for children through Junior Achievement and the Girl Scouts. Additionally, Marianne has served on the Valley Community Foundation's Advisory Council and Development Committee.

Departing VCF Board Members:

Susan Coyle co-founded Real Estate Two, Inc. in 1985, where she and her husband, Frank work. She moved to Shelton 45 years ago to raise a family and buy an affordable home. She has two daughters; her husband has a daughter and a son; between the two of them, they have eight grandchildren.

John J. Zaprzalka is a CPA and partner with the Shelton accounting firm Apicella, Testa & Company, P.C. He resides in Seymour with his wife Laura and two children, Alyssa and Andrew.

About the Valley Community Foundation

Established in 2004, the Valley Community Foundation distributes hundreds of thousands of grant dollars each year to support the local nonprofit sector and the people it serves.

In addition to grantmaking, VCF works in strong partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, to promote philanthropy in Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton.

To learn how your gifts of cash, life insurance, appreciated stocks, bonds, real estate, and other assets can help to support the quality of life in the Valley, please visit the website at or contact VCF President, Sharon Closius, at or 203-751-9162.