DARIEN — Janet King is passionate about working in her community.

“I think it’s important that individuals give back to their community,” she said. “It’s actually a source of inspiration for me.”

King was recently named the new executive director for the Community Fund of Darien, a nonprofit organization that offers grants for local programs and initiatives in Darien and the surrounding area.

Before accepting the job, King worked for eight years as the volunteer director at Person-to-Person, a social service agency in Darien.

“I was fortunate at Person-to-Person to work with a strong team of leaders,” she said. “I learned everything from building brand awareness, to fund raising, to connecting people.”

At Person-to-Person, King worked with 3,000 volunteers to help those in need in the immediate community.

“My day was working across multiple generations, everywhere from middle schoolers to seniors, and providing them with a rewarding volunteer experience,” she said.

Volunteers who give their time and talent want to be engaged; they also want to leave with the thought they made a difference with their work, she said.

“I saw my job as really matchmaking and finding the right volunteer position for that individual,” King said.

King believes the skills she gained from her previous job will help her to do more good in the community.

“I really enjoyed the Darien community,” she said. “It’s warm and engaging and personal. I wanted to stay in this community.”

King is a native of Cleveland and graduated from Ohio State University. Since then, she has lived in both New York and Silicon Valley. Her passion for her community led her from working for 20 years in a corporate world to working with Person-to-Person.

“It was the job,” she said. “Having the opportunity to have local folks in the community make an immediate difference.”

The Community Fund of Darien has an engaged and focused team, King said, and the organization is passionate about serving the health and human services’ needs in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford.

As executive director, King will oversee the agency. She will work with the board of directors and a staff of five to continue the agency’s mission.

“You give the agency a vision and direction and coordinate all the moving pieces,” she said.

The Community Fund of Darien currently has two initiatives they are pushing, she said. One of the newer initiatives is the Impact Vine, a free crowdfunding website for lower Fairfield county nonprofits to expand their fundraising efforts.

“It’s a great platform for local nonprofits to raise sometimes those smaller bits of money that make a big difference in the community,” King said.

The second initiative is the Thriving Youth Task Force, which involves youth leadership groups pushing their “06820” campaign.

“It’s a campaign targeting binge drinking, increasing parents’ knowledge of the dangerous effects of drinking and the importance of parent role modeling,” she said.

King officially starts as executive director on Sept. 4, but she is already getting acquainted with her new staff and begun the transition.

“Working for a nonprofit is similar to working for a for profit,” King said. “To me you’re just working for a larger community.”

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