Joan Colello, Executive Director Emeritus

Joan would be the first to admit that she was no expert in philanthropy when Robert Pinkerton asked her to manage the fledgling Pinkerton Foundation back in the mid-1960s. She learned. Fast. And over the next four decades she became one of the most respected—it’s no exaggeration to say beloved—members of the New York City philanthropic community. In her gentle, thoughtful, unassuming way, she set the tone for the Foundation that we hope still exists today: an organization that listens to its grantees and learns from them. Along with longtime Chairman of the Board George J. Gillespie III, Joan also showed an extraordinary willingness to takes chances on early-stage community-based programs long before there were any “metrics” to prove their merit. Many of those early bets—on Good Shepherd Services, Getting Out and Staying Out, Experience Corps, Friends of the Children and a host of others—have paid off in programs that have had a profound effect on the young people of the city. Joan retired at the end of 2009 and remains a valued participant on the Pinkerton board.