5 Questions with Foundation President, Paulanne Jushkevich, MA, CFRE

Paulanne Jushkevich joined Connecticut Children’s Foundation (the Foundation) in September of 2023 with over 25 years of experience in professional fundraising–15 years at the executive level– where she led teams of hospital/health science fundraisers through substantial change and significant evolution. Get to know Paulanne.

1. Why did you want to come to Connecticut Children’s?

So, I’ve been staring at this question for like 20 minutes, and all I can think of is – why in Heaven’s name would someone NOT want to come to Connecticut Children’s?! It is truly the culmination of my entire career, to find myself here. Professionally, with so many years of running large, complicated foundations under my sturdy belt, Connecticut Children’s is a very natural progression: something that I’ve done before but something also very new. But on a personal level, the honor to be included in the mission of a children’s hospital in any way has to be the calling of any person who has themselves been blessed with children. And then, when you add on top of that, specifically Connecticut Children’s and their incredible, progressive and ambitious mission to delve into areas of care and Research that might intimidate other institutions… there is simply no scenario where I would not have pursued this with everything I’ve got.

Paulanne Jushkevich headshot

2. Who are your biggest influences?

I have a picture of Michelle Obama in my office taped to the wall, and I stare at it every when I’m trying to weather something graciously and with courage. But I live and breathe for my two sons, who have most certainly influenced every decision I’ve ever made in my adult life. And on a daily basis, I’m so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with people who I learn from every single day, and who inspire me with their brilliance, their determination, and their vulnerability.

3. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Every syllable of Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, as well as Dante Alighieri’s assertion that, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” Now, my husband has always advised me not to mistake my coworkers for my best friends and family. But I’ve completely given up on even attempting to adhere to that one, much to his chagrin.

4. What makes you optimistic about the state of philanthropy?

For better Or worse, I have been in fundraising long enough to have seen some really important evolutions take place in philanthropy, and I really love where it’s going now more than ever. In a Forbes article from March 2022, writer Karla D’Alleva Valas remarks that the three key themes in contemporary philanthropy are:

  • tireless generosity amid challenging times;
  • increased sophistication of donors and;
  • a next generation that is leading the way. 

All of the above are exciting and inspiring, and I am especially encouraged to have witnessed firsthand how people actually become more generous in times of crisis. The sophistication of donors that has increased considerably over the years has rendered even the most modest philanthropist an investor in their charity of choice. This has dramatically changed the way we fundraise, because now the professional fundraiser has the honor of being the conduit to and facilitator of what the donor is determined to impact. It’s a partnership, and one of the most satisfying roles a person could pursue in their career.

5. Tell us something most people don’t know about you.

I have a juvenile sense of humor, and I used to be a professional singer. Also, I detest chocolate for some reason, and yet I will eat a box of chocolates in one sitting. And now that I’ve said that out loud, everyone will know it about me, and I will have to come up with something entirely new the next time someone asks.

BONUS QUESTION: Separately, what are your short-term and long-term goals and vision for Connecticut Children’s Foundation?

We are so fortunate to include some very brilliant professionals at the foundation, and my short-term goal is to integrate myself as quickly and seamlessly as possible. And to
learn as much as I can from them as they go about tirelessly working toward the mission of Connecticut Children’s. I am determined to become part of the fabric of Connecticut Children’s and the foundation, so it’s going to be very important for me to meet as many people as possible, and to learn from them as much as I can in the shortest delay.

I’m looking so forward to working with Jim Shmerling, President & CEO, as he shares with me his vision and that of the board for the short-, intermediate- and long-term goals of Connecticut Children’s. I’m so grateful to the vision and unfailing leadership of former president, David Kinahan, who really made Connectiuct Children’s Foundation the formidable operation that it is today.

So, I know that I have some very big shoes to fill, and I am determined to fill them for a very long time. I will be sitting with my Foundation team members to carve out a solid path that we will follow for the next few years, in order to serve the important needs and ambitious aspirations of Connecticut Children’s. And I will be calling on our community leaders, media, and every one of the heroes and heroines who are part of Connecticut Children’s, to join me in bringing the Foundation to new heights of success, to the benefit of every child who needs us.

Share This Post

Newsletter Sign-up
Want our latest Blog posts sent directly to your inbox once a month? Sign-up below.
Back to Top
Searching Animation