Founders Hall provides a diverse program of social, educational and physical fitness programs for today’s active seniors in a warm, fun and stimulating atmosphere.
Founders Hall was conceived and built by Founders Hall Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit organization started by the families of Elaine and John Couri and Liz and Steven Goldstone. Their vision was a new standard for senior recreation and education by combining a state-of-the-art facility with a caring staff and an exciting curriculum of classes and activities.
They approached the Town of Ridgefield, where they hoped to locate the building, looking for a suitable location. The Town agreed to lease land on Danbury Road to the Foundation. In 2002, the Foundation built the building and opened Founders Hall. Since then, the Town has extended the lease in 10-year increments with options for future extensions. With continued financial support from generous people like you, the Foundation will continue to operate Founders Hall for generations to come.
Founders Hall is overseen by a board of directors and managed by an executive director with a staff of eight.
Each year, Founders Hall holds four semesters of interesting and dynamic classes, taught by 75 instructors. Fitness classes run year-round. Outside of the classroom, there are scores of opportunities for members to connect with other members and interests they want to pursue. Visit our classes and events sections to learn more.
Although the building was closed to members in March, 2020 due to the coronavirus, Founders Hall continued to provide programming – albeit mostly virtually – throughout the pandemic. Members were invited to return to the building on a reservation basis on June 1, 2021.
Today members have been invited back into the building for classes, seminars, and events. Proof of vaccination and a signed waiver are required.
Visit guidestar.org to view our Form 990.
Who We Are
Board of Directors
- Lori Berisford
- Chris Couri
- John Couri, President
- Liz Goldstone
- Steven Goldstone, Chairman
- Jenn Kubick
- Rudy Marconi
- Kent Rohrer
- Rudy Ruggles
Board of Advisors
- Megan Couri
- LouAnn Daprato
- Ira Joe Fisher
- Debbie Hayes
- Richard Jabara
- Joyce Ligi
- Neil Marcus
- Christopher Pappas
- Mary Laura Pritchard
Grace Weber, Executive Director
Grace joined Founders Hall as Program Coordinator in 2003, took on the responsibility for development and community relations in September 2005 and was appointed Director of Founders Hall in January 2006. Her background includes institutional trust marketing, information systems consulting and consumer marketing as well as five years on the board of directors for a child welfare agency serving as chair of its development program. Grace holds a BBA from the University of Notre Dame.
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Cindy Nesbitt, Director of Development
Cindy brought her talents to Founders Hall in September 2015. She studied computer science at Hofstra University and her prior corporate position was Vice President, Field Operations at News America Marketing. Cindy is active in St. Stephen’s Church and a member of their Nutmeg Festival Planning Committee. She has been a member of the Nutmeg Chapter of the National Charity League and the planning committee for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event.
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Tracy Dubin, Programs
Tracy has a master’s degree in theater management and worked at the Public Theater in New York City for 10 years. She joined Founders Hall in 2006. She has been a Girl Scout leader and is a frequent school volunteer. Her efforts on the Ridgefield Arts Council were key in bringing the Senior Arts Festival to Founders Hall for the first time in 2005.
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Jane Frankenberg, Front Desk
Jane joined Founders Hall in the summer of 2016 as a front desk manager. A native of London, she has resided in Ridgefield since 2004. When not working at Founders Hall, you might find Jane volunteering at R.O.A.R. or designing the window displays at The Purple Frog, a local gift shop.
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Caroline Murray, Communications Manager
Caroline joined Founders Hall in January 2022. She has a BA in Journalism from the University of Illinois. She worked at several large marketing and public relations firms in Chicago before doing the unconventional and becoming a flight attendant. Her love of travel took her all over the world. After over a decade in the skies, she hung up her wings to be closer to her family. In addition to creating her own blog and freelance writing, she worked as a Director at a busy music studio. She is excited to return to her writing roots in this role.
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Nikki Nuut, Social Events and Volunteer Manager
Nikki started as our Member Social Events and Volunteer Manager in December 2021. Having spent time working in math classrooms, NYC kitchens, and on set for video productions, she is super excited to bring her skill set to Founders Hall. She studied Mathematics at Boston College (Go Eagles!) and Secondary Education at Brooklyn College. She resides in Ridgefield with her family and loves being a part of this vibrant community.
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Kim Petruzzelli, Front Desk
A resident of Ridgefield since 2002, Kim has been an active community volunteer, serving both National Charity League (NCL), Nutmeg Chapter, and Rides for Ridgefield. She first came to Founders Hall through her work with National Charity League.
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Lee Rossetter, Finance
Lee brought her experience as a certified public accountant to Founders Hall in November, 2010. A graduate of Bucknell University, she worked at Arthur Young & Co. (now Ernst & Young) and as controller at Novo Laboratories in Danbury. She has been active in several non-profit organizations volunteering as a director of Ridgefield Little League and treasurer for the Ridgefield PTAs.
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Sandy Staples, Front Desk
After several years in customer service at William Pitt, Sandy joined the Founders Hall staff in the fall of 2006. Outside of Founders Hall, she volunteers for ROAR and RMAC (Ridgefield Music and Arts Center).
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