Endowment Fund for Parade Established in Honor of Marilda Gándara, Retiring Head of the Aetna Foundation and a Community Champion
Aetna (NYSE: AET) and The Aetna Foundation today announced the establishment of an endowment fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving that will support the Connecticut Veterans Day Parade, and an initial contribution of $75,000, in honor of Marilda Gándara, who is retiring as head of The Aetna Foundation after a 30-year career with Aetna.
"Marilda has helped make corporate philanthropy and employee volunteerism in the communities we serve a recognized and respected part of the Aetna culture - what we call The Aetna Way," said Ronald A. Williams, Aetna chairman and chief executive officer. "She has long been an advocate and supporter of the Connecticut Veterans Day Parade and we are pleased to honor her hard work and successful career. We wish her a happy, fulfilling retirement in the years to come."
"Marilda has been a tireless supporter of the Connecticut Veterans Day Parade, and many other projects in this region," said Linda J. Kelly, president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. "We are pleased to work with Aetna to establish this permanent fund that will honor Marilda's commitment to this community."
In addition, a benefit roast in honor of Gándara, was held yesterday. Proceeds from the event, estimated at $15,000, will be donated to Foodshare.
Gándara's career with Aetna began in 1978 when she joined the corporate law department, focusing on real estate, bankruptcy and environmental law. She established a track record of success in a variety of roles, including Corporate Planning and Financial Reporting and Real Estate Investments. In 1996, she was named president of the Aetna Foundation and head of Corporate Public Involvement, and played a key role in extending Aetna's corporate philanthropy. Under Gándara's leadership, $180 million in grants have been awarded to nonprofit organizations and Aetna Volunteer Councils have increased from two to 43. In addition, Gándara has served on the boards of many national and local organizations and has played a key role in multiple efforts, including the Hispanics Philanthropy Funders Collaborative which has raised over $50 million for Latino non-profit capacity building and the Connecticut Veterans Day Parade, now the largest in New England.
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