Tonight’s Meet a Mom Kristen Rosenbaum is a true superwoman – She is a Greenwich Mom of 5, a partner at Tribeca Early Stage Partners, a small venture capital firm that focuses on FinTech, and the Co-President of Impact Fairfield County, a women’s collective giving organization that provides grants to non-profits in Fairfield County. Somehow she also finds time to be an avid outdoorsman!
Kristen shares with us her deep passion for philanthropy and how it has always been a part of her family’s values, particularly supporting local non-profits who work directly in our community. And she shares why Impact Fairfield County in particular is so vital to our community.
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself personally? Names/ages of kids, etc.?
My family moved to Greenwich from The Bahamas in January 2010 in the middle of a snowstorm. Our five kids, who were 8, 7, 6, 4, and 2 at the time had seen snow before, but never as much as they did that first winter! Thirteen years later, snow sports (especially skiing) are their favorite activities. Sydney (21), Teddy (20), Maddy (19), Todd (18), and Zac (15) enjoy returning to the Bahamas to visit, but love living in Greenwich where we can experience all four seasons.
Outside of parenting my five kids and four dogs, I am a partner at Tribeca Early Stage Partners, a small venture capital firm that focuses on FinTech, and I am the Co-President of Impact Fairfield County, a women’s collective giving organization that provides grants to non-profits in Fairfield County.
I am also an avid outdoorswoman. I enjoy spending time in the mountains (in both the winter and summer), on the water, or even just walking around my neighborhood. I also love competing in marathons and triathlons and recently completed two 70.3 Ironman triathlons. Greenwich might be the best town in the world for training, running in particular. I am so grateful to be able to walk out my front door and take off on the beautiful, tree-lined streets.
Where do you live in Greenwich, what do you love about Greenwich and your neighborhood, and what made you decide to move there?
We lived abroad for ten years, five in London and five in The Bahamas. My husband and I knew it was time to move home when our children weren’t sure which country to march with at their school’s annual International Parade (two ended up marching with The Bahamas and one with the United Kingdom)! We needed to be near New York City for my husband’s job, so we just happened to first visit Greenwich. We knew it was the right place as soon as we arrived. It was a beautiful spring day: the tulips were blooming, the beaches were open, families were out walking along the sidewalks, and soccer and lacrosse teams were practicing on the fields nestled among the neighborhoods. The hard part was choosing where to settle in Greenwich.
In the end, we decided to build a house in Belle Haven. Throughout the (long!) process, we lived in three different rental houses, luckily all in Belle Haven just down the road from our project. In fact, our third rental was right next door to our second! However, I did learn that it doesn’t matter whether you move across the country or to the house next door: moving takes an unbelievable amount of work. We finally settled into our house in the summer of 2014 and can’t imagine being anywhere else. We love Greenwich for its proximity to the water (we enjoy boating and fishing), the ease of commuting to New York City for work, and its excellent schools and infinite activities for kids. We love Belle Haven specifically for the close-knit community and the wonderful families who live here. My kids are so fortunate that they have experienced the independence of walking or biking to their friends’ houses over the years. And, my husband and I feel so grateful to be a part of this beautiful, welcoming neighborhood so close to the water.
Please tell us about Impact Fairfield County.
Impact FFC engages women of Fairfield County in local philanthropy on a deep level by consolidating individual donations into large transformative grants for deserving local non-profits. Last year we had 264 members, evaluated 62 proposals, and provided $264,000 in grants to implement programs that will make an impact on the lives of those underserved in our community. In total over the last eight years, Impact FFC has collectively funded over $1.8 million for projects across our county. Some examples of these programs include: an outdoor learning center for a grade school in the Hollow neighborhood of Bridgeport; an early childhood and parenting program for homeless families in Stamford; a program to provide timely and compassionate sexual assault forensic exams in Greenwich, Stamford, and Norwalk hospitals; and a hydroponic urban farm that provides vegetables to food pantries in Bridgeport.
Can you please share about how you came to volunteer for Impact Fairfield County?
I joined Impact FFC eight years ago, when Wendy Block and Vicki Craver first founded this collective giving organization, for a number of reasons. I wanted to learn more about the important work that non-profits do in our community: what are the greatest needs in Fairfield County and how can organizations best support the underserved? I also was eager to meet like-minded women in Greenwich and neighboring towns, women who are driven to work together to improve the lives of those in need. Finally, I joined Impact FFC because I believe it is important to be a philanthropic role model for my children. I hope when they see me taking an interest in local social causes, it inspires them to do the same, to consider others, and to leave the world a better place than they found it.
My first year as a member of Impact FFC, I volunteered to be a part of the Financial Review Committee and helped evaluate the financial stability of each of our grant applicants. While I was excited to dust off some of my old finance skills, I was mostly inspired by the sheer number of exceptional non-profits in our community all providing essential services. Every year thereafter, I became more involved: I chaired the Financial Review Committee; I joined a Grant Review Committee and spent time digging into dozens of deserving applications; I was elected to the Board and helped grow our membership and our non-profit reach; and this coming year, Impact’s 9th, I will be Co-President along with Jenny San Jose from Darien.
How did you become involved in philanthropy in general? What are some of the local organizations you feel most passionately about supporting?
Philanthropy has always been a part of our family’s values, particularly supporting local non-profits who work directly in our community. From the day we moved to Greenwich, my kids joined many of the programs offered by the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich. Soon after, I was lucky enough to be invited to join the BGCG Board. When you have young children, there is nothing closer to your heart than improving the lives of youth, and BGCG does just that beautifully! Some of the other organizations that I am passionate about are ones that I discovered through my involvement with Impact FFC: Inspirica, Kids in Crisis, nOURish BRIDGEPORT, and Catholic Academy of Bridgeport. There are so many inspirational organizations that need and welcome volunteers; whatever your passion, you can find a way to channel it for the benefit of others!
What do you find the most challenging and most rewarding parts of being a volunteer at a non-profit organization?
Perhaps the most challenging part about working with non-profits is realizing that we can’t make grand, transformative changes overnight. Although we can see the fundamental urgency for programs and funding, clear benchmarks of success can be difficult to achieve. It takes lots of time and patience to make change. However, it is important to recognize that small steps can eventually make a big difference. Part of the reason I love Impact FFC is that we take small steps in the form of individual donations and pool them together to make a bigger impact in the form of $100,000 grants. And, while these grants themselves might be small within an organization’s larger operations, they create a ripple effect from which non-profits obtain notoriety and even larger grants.
Hands down, the most rewarding part of volunteering is seeing the change we make on an individual level. There is nothing better than getting a thank you or hearing a story firsthand from someone whose life we have touched. Impact FFC’s grants have helped to: put a salad on the table of a family who gets their meals from food pantries; find permanent housing for a single mother and her two young children; provide dental services for a family who can’t afford care; meet the mental health needs of a child with a trauma-afflicted history; and provide successful legal representation for a victim of domestic violence. One success story at a time makes the effort worthwhile.
How do you find a balance between motherhood and the work you do at Impact Fairfield County? Any tips for the rest of the Moms out there?
One of the trickiest jobs of being a parent is juggling work, family, chores, and me-time. Like all moms, I often struggle to find the right balance. Impact FFC is entirely run by volunteers who are pulled in a number of different directions, and we are grateful for any amount of time that our members can devote to us. Almost all of the women who are Impact FFC members are also moms and understand that even multi-tasking experts can become overwhelmed.
When my children were young, I volunteered in positions that permitted me to get work done at any time – when the kids were napping, at school, or after they went to bed. Now that my children are in high school and college, I have been able to dedicate more of my time to Impact FFC and take on a leadership position. My best tip to all the Moms out there adding something new to their busy schedules? Start small, and if it feels right, then it will be easy to find the time to do more.
Anything else you’d like to share?
We are always looking for new members to join Impact FFC to help us make an even bigger impact. If you’d like to learn more about us, get involved, or become a member, please check out our website at www.impactffc.org.
We love to support local businesses. What are your fave places when you are in Greenwich to:
Grab coffee: Coffee for Good – While having great coffee and delicious snacks, you get to support Abilis’ job training program for young adults with developmental disabilities.
Workout: Elevate Fitness, which just moved to a brand-new gym in Stamford, has the best personal trainers.
Go on a date night: Tony’s at the J House – No matter how many times we go, Tony always manages to stump us with his trivia questions.
Go out for a girls night: East End – Did you know that the bar turns into a dance party with a DJ on Thursday nights?
Go out to dinner as a family: Abis – you’re never too old to have fun with hibachi!
Get your hair done: Sara Clemente and Cyd Koyanag – They’re now located at Sola Salons in Stamford but moving to Glenville soon!
Get your nails done: Warren Tricomi – For an every-once-in-a-while indulgence
Have fun as a family: Byram Park Baseball Field – It’s not just for baseball, but also a great place for dodge ball, tag, Mother-May-I, etc.