Leading with a vision.
When Candy Cucharo moved to Manhasset in the early ‘80s, she felt motivated to get involved in the local neighborhood. Then a professional in the banking industry, she made an impact by volunteering as a classroom assistant at the Henry Viscardi School in nearby Albertson. In turn, the experience made an impact on Cucharo by igniting a growing passion for philanthropy.
Now, in 2018, she continues to leave her mark as the unanimously appointed new chair of the Abilities, Inc. Board of Directors at The Viscardi Center. Her leadership and expertise will guide the Center’s progress in advancing work opportunities for adolescents and adults with disabilities in a competitive and ever-evolving employment market.
“The Viscardi Center’s mission has always been compelling to me,” Cucharo said. “It specializes in serving a group that is still overlooked. Even today, I believe society isn’t doing enough for the disability population.”
In the decades following her time as a volunteer, Cucharo made moves to address social issues that she believed deserved more attention. She went back to school and received an MSW from Fordham University, adding to an MBA with a concentration in strategic planning from NYU. She then paved a second career in non-profit management and research, from Program Director at Tuesday’s Children — an organization providing personalized support to traumatized, grief-stricken children, families, and communities affected by terrorism or traumatic loss — to Infant Mental Health Specialist at the Institute for Parenting at Adelphi University and founding Board Member of the New York State Association for Infant Mental Health.
An unwavering desire to “do good” brought her back to The Viscardi Center in 2013, when she joined the Abilities, Inc. Board of Directors, and later, the Reach for a Star Luncheon Committee. These days, Cucharo views Viscardi as family — literally. Her daughter Elena, who developed a career as a music teacher at the Henry Viscardi School, met her husband at the organization. When she’s not giving back, and managing the Gristmill Foundation, a small family foundation, she’s spending time with her two-year-old granddaughter.
Looking forward, Cucharo is determined to focus on projects that solve real challenges with real results.
“I like to know how I’ve influenced positive change,” she said. “At Viscardi, I can see the outcome of my support.”