Fairfield County Leadership Council


Fairfield County Leadership Council event - A Culinary Celebration - Nov. 1, 2023


Fairfield County Leadership Council member, Kathy Garrigan, visits with children in SC
Erin Dempster, a member of the Fairfield County Leadership Council, visits with students in SC

In March 2023 Council members Kathy Garrigan (top) and Erin Dempster (bottom) visited our in-school programs at Bethune Bowman School in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

For more information about the Fairfield County Leadership Council contact:
Mary Leffel
Officer, Individual Philanthropy Group
[email protected]

Our Mission

The Fairfield County Leadership Council (FCLC) represents a group of philanthropic leaders who are taking the initiative in building greater awareness and support in Fairfield County Connecticut. We anticipate that council members will demonstrate their commitment to Save the Children's mission - our mission - to ensure every child in the United States and around the world grows up healthy, educated and protected from harm.

Our Vision

Our council members bring special talents and participate in ways that make them the most effective toward achieving our goals. We encourage our members to introduce Save the Children to potential supporters and future council members in Fairfield County who could expand and enhance Save the Children’s ability to fulfill its mission.

We invite our council members to identify Save the Children as one of their own philanthropic priorities. In particular, we ask members to consider the impact of annual giving for the boys and girls who need our help. This could be a family philanthropy initiative and leadership opportunity with teen participation in the Fairfield County Youth Council and or in school clubs.

We encourage council members to visit our field programs to see our work for children first-hand. We also encourage members to attend council meetings and consider hosting or co-hosting a Save the Children salon event or council meeting in their home. Finally, we look forward in sharing a rewarding experience of friendship, philanthropy and fun!

Our Focus

The FCLC anchors our focus within the Save the Children organization’s mission and priorities. In the last two years we have focused on education with support of Early Childhood Development and Return to Learning programs. New focus areas we support include maternal and reproductive health, and gender equality. We adapt to changing needs of children and mobilize quickly when emergencies strike at home or in other countries. For example, in 2017, we held a pop-up event benefitting victims of Hurricane Maria.

Fairfield County Leadership Council

Bernie reading a book.


Joann Bottoni Jepsen – Co-President
Joan Panagos – Co President
Joan Curran
Erin Dempster
Kathy Garrigan
Barbara Kleban, Advocacy Chair
Bernie Park
Susan Seath
Amy van Daalen

Events and Field Trips

A photo of members in the Fairfield County Leadership Council smiling.

Council members (left to right) Bernie Park, Joan Curran, Simonne Hewett, Joan Panagos, Anne Troxell, Kristana Esslinger, Jen Platek, and Debbie Prister visiting our programs in Mississippi.

Fairfield County Leadership Council member smiling with a group of children.

March 29, 2022 —  FCLC had an informative evening, at the Pequot Library in Southport, addressing the Ukraine crisis and its impact on children. Claudia Connors started the evening with an update from Save the Children, followed by State Senator Tony Hwang, and then two Ukrainians, Diana Navrotskova, and Anton Protsenko spoke about growing up in Ukraine and the struggles their families are encountering during this conflict.

January 19, 2022 —  FCLC hosted Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and The Exiles. Along with Janti Soeripto and Mark Shriver, we discussed struggles encountered by children.

December 3, 2020 —  FCLC shopping event at Mitchells in Westport. Mitchells donated 10% of sales that day to help support children in rural America during COVID 19.

November 19, 2020 —  FCLC is a Children’s Voice Sponsor at Save the Children’s virtual event – Kid Strong Together

May 29, 2020 —  Webinar – Save the Children responses to COVID-19 in the U.S

January 2020 —  Visit Save the Children's programs in Marion County, Mississippi

FCLC 2020 Year in Review

FCLC 2019 Year in Review

FCLC 2018 Year in Review

FCLC 2017 Year in Review

For more information or to RSVP please email:
[email protected]

Get Involved

A group of children enjoys story time lead by Save the Children Education Coordinator Maritza Erazo during a community event at the Mulitas Community Center in Puerto Rico. Photo credit: Shawn Millsaps / Save the Children 2018.
Literacy programs run by Save the Children are crucial in Kentucky. Photo credit: Save the Children 2019.


  • Participate in our community outreach, education and fundraising events
  • Tell your schools, organizations and community groups about Save the Children and encourage them to participate in our events
  • Organize events within your company or organization to support Save the Children through the FCLC
  • Spread awareness about Save the Children’s work to improve the lives of children in a sustainable way
  • Volunteer to be a leadership council partner


  • Become an Event Sponsor


Ways to Give



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