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Two community leaders appointed to Board of Hartford’s Jewish Community Foundation

WEST HARTFORD, Conn.—Neil Kochen of West Hartford and Tracy Smith of Bloomfield have been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford. Merrill Mandell of West Hartford, chair of the Governance Committee, presented the nominations at the Jewish Community Foundation’s recent Board meeting.

A seasoned corporate financial executive, Neil Kochen recently retired from a 35-year career in finance in the Greater Hartford area, that included work at Aetna Life and Casualty, Aeltus Investment Management, ING Financial Services, Alpha Equity Management, and most recently MassMutual Trust Company.

Over his career, he has served as portfolio manager, head of strategy and policy, chief asset/liability strategist, chief risk officer, chief financial officer, and most recently as chief investment officer.

Kochen and his wife, Sharon, are members of Beth El Temple in West Hartford and active members of the Greater Hartford Jewish community.

Since moving to West Hartford in 1986, he has served president of Solomon Schechter Day School (SSDS) and treasurer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. He currently serves on the Harold Grinspoon Foundation Investment Committee. He also is a board member of Voices of Hope, a non- profit that raises consciousness about the Holocaust.

Kochen holds a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics/economics from the University of Rochester, and a Master’s degree in business administration, accounting and finance, from Columbia University.

He and his wife are the parents of four adult children who are all SSDS graduates.

A dedicated community leader committed to social justice issues, Tracy Smith began her career as an Urban Fellow for the City of New York, before moving to Washington, D.C. to work for Gallaudet University, where she trained employers to accommodate the workplace for deaf students.

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and Spanish from Connecticut College, and a Master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania, Smith worked in New York for the Victim Services Agency to establish effective abuse investigation teams statewide. Later in her career, she served as director of community initiatives at Planned Parenthood of New York City, where she developed and supervised programing in the South Bronx and Lower East Side to reduce teen pregnancy and improve sexual and mental health outcomes. Most recently, she worked in Hartford at Grace Academy, designing and implementing a comprehensive health curriculum, and supporting students through their high school years.

Smith and her husband, Dan Joseph, are members of the Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation (FVJC) in Simsbury, where she chaired FVJC’s Education and Pulpit Search Committees, and served on the executive board, before becoming president in 2018. During her three-year tenure, FVJC initiated outreach and in-reach efforts resulting in increased membership and the completion of a major capital renovation. In addition to FVJC, Smith serves on the board of the American School for the Deaf.

Ms. Smith a and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.

Smith and her husband are the parents of three children.

For more information about the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, visit

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