Board of Directors


Paul Blanco

Mindee Blanco

Executive Board of Directors


Joseph D. LoPresti

Vice President

Amelia Nathanson


Benjamin Howarth


Derrek Metz

Committee Chairman

Allocation Committee Chair

Mindee Blanco

Communications Committee Chair

Ian Querze

Fundraising Committee Chair

Melissa Poli

Board of Directors

Lucy Andrade

​Richard Bauer

Jeffrey Blanco

Michael Bucci

Katharine Chaney-Jones

John Corraro

Natalina DeMeis

​Dana Ian

Cherie Johnson

Kevin McAvoy

​​Connor Shugrue

The Founders

Paul & Mindee Blanco

Paul and Mindee Blanco have always been committed to giving back to their community by working to improve the lives of underprivileged children and families. What started as a vision to help the world, one child at a time, soon evolved into what is now the Barnum Foundation for Life.

A prominent philanthropist and CEO of Barnum Financial Group, Paul encourages all of his employees to give back through both charitable contributions and volunteerism. Paul’s dream is for 100% of his employees to actively participate in charitable giving in some way. In 2006, Paul and Mindee created the Barnum Foundation for Life as a vehicle through which Barnum Financial Group employees could assist those in need throughout their community.

In addition to his numerous achievements in the financial services industry, in 2006, Junior Achievement inducted Paul into their Hall of Fame and in 2007 he was named Philanthropist of the year by the Fairfield County Remodelers and Home Building Association. Paul is also on the Board of the Shelton Boys & Girls Club.

In addition to her active role on the Board of the Barnum Foundation for Life and Chairperson of the Foundation’s Allocations Committee, Mindee is also the COO of Barnum Financial Group. She has been involved as a volunteer for the Feroleto Children’s Development Center for many years and currently sits on the Child and Family Guidance Board. Mindee is also an avid supporter of Junior Achievement



Joseph D. LoPresti

Joe has been on the Board of the Barnum Foundation for Life since its inception and has served as the President since 2013. He has a deep rooted belief in giving back to the community; specifically to children of less fortunate circumstances.

He truly enjoys the impact that the Foundation makes on our community, through donations we are able to make to various organizations and programs like Bikes for Kids.

Joe is the Managing Director at Barnum Financial Group where he has helped create a collaborative culture that nurtures leaders and empowers outstanding performance. He has earned a number of accolades for his leadership and performance throughout his career.

He currently resides in Woodbury, Connecticut with his wife Amy and 4 children, Tanner, Kassi, Carli, and Hannah.


Vice President

Amelia Nathanson

Amelia has been on the Board of the Barnum Foundation for Life since 2014. She loves that we try to give as much as possible to smaller organizations in our local communities. "These organizations are run by true heroes, and my hope is that our fundraising efforts help them achieve their missions and impact people’s lives."

Her favorite thing about taking part in the Barnum Foundation for Life is working with the other board members and how they try to make each event fun and different.  She also loves that we give our Barnum associates the opportunity to give back in their local community with various opportunities, whether they prefer to be more hands on through volunteer efforts or as a donor.

Amelia is the Director of Operations at Barnum Financial Group where she is responsible for the overall success and accountability of the Barnum Operations team and the efficient processing and tracking of new business applications for all lines of business. She has been with Barnum since 2010.

She currently lives in Southington, Connecticut with her husband Michael and their twins Luciano and Stella.



Benjamin Howarth

Ben has been on the Board of the Barnum Foundation since 2012. He joined the board because it gave him an opportunity to change the lives of children in his community.  "I feel very blessed to have been successful in my career and that I am able to give back to families and children that may be less fortunate."  

What he loves most about the foundation is the significant impact that we create through the programs that we sponsor. From giving a bike and helmet to an underprivileged child or delivering a check to an organization like the Tomorrow Fund to help families who’s child was diagnosed with cancer. "Being able to give back just feels good and you are helping those less fortunate."

Ben is a Financial Advisor in Barnum Financial Group's Warwick, Rhode Island office. He has been ranked as one of the Top Producers of the firm for many years and has earned a number of accolades for the work he does on behalf of his clients.

He currently resides in East Lyme, Connecticut with his Fiancé Kourtney. 



Derrek Metz

Derrek has been on the Board of the Barnum Foundation for Life since 2015. He believes in truly connecting with people, beyond the day-to-day surface level, to help out our fellow neighbors without expecting anything in return. That passion has driven him to support organizations founded on helping others with no expectations of anything back other than a smile and a quick thank you.  "That’s what it’s all about", he says.

"I love connecting with the community and seeing the smile on a child’s face when getting a new bike. That said, I equally enjoy the relationships we build within the foundation volunteers themselves, especially when we come together to create these impactful opportunities for our community."

Derrek is a Financial Planner with Barnum Financial Group and has over 14 years of experience in the industry. He currently lives in the Silvermine neighborhood of New Canaan, Connecticut with his wife Polly and their two sons Jack and Grant. As avid skiers, the whole family will always look for a good powder day, but sailing, tennis, and traveling are also passions. 

Derrek is also a member of the New Canaan Land Trust, Fairfield Country Financial Planning Association, Silvermine Community Association, and the Kiwanis Club.