After 15 months, Dalio Philanthropies and Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday they were ending the Partnership for Connecticut, the joint public-private venture created to help at-risk youth.
Barbara Dalio, co-founder and director of Dalio Philanthropies, blamed Republican lawmakers.
“Our dream of working together in a bipartisan way to help the disengaged and disconnected youth of Connecticut came to an end because politicians like the two leading Republicans of the House, Rep. Klarides and Rep. Candelora, want to fight in the media rather than debate issues and resolve them with other board members,” Dalio said. “They sought to sabotage The Partnership. It can’t go on like this, so I suppose they ‘won.’”
The Partnership for Connecticut was expected to dole out about $20 million in state funds in addition to $100 million from Dalio Philanthropies. The 13-member board that oversaw The Partnership is expected to vote to disband it.
At a press conference on the north steps of the state Capitol, Lamont said “due to a breach of trust,” he and Dalio agreed it’s time to “disband The Partnership.”
He said in order to be a member of the board “it really is important to have trust there and make sure nobody is trying to undermine the core mission.”
Last week someone “leaked” an email to the Hartford Courant that detailed discussions between the board and Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, who was hired on March 23 as CEO. In the email, Schmitt-Carey complained of a May 4 attempt to fire her less than two months into her $247,500-a-year job.
“A lot of members really wanted to undermine the mission of the board. A lot that was reflected in leaks,” Lamont said Tuesday. “Some of that was reflected in the leak just this past week of a very sensitive personnel matter.”
The Partnership, which was created by the legislature, exempted itself from Freedom of Information laws and faced criticism resulting from that decision.
“The Partnership, well-intentioned as it was, came into existence under a cloud — no public hearing, and the ability to conduct its business behind closed doors,” Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, said. “It became the brightest example of state government’s growing disconnect with the people it serves, and like the push for tolls before it, this development should be a flashing signal to the governor that an overall change of approach is desperately needed as he takes on his biggest and most important policy endeavor yet — the process of reopening our state.”
Dalio said her and her husband, Ray Dalio, will still commit $100 million over the next four years to address the needs of young people who are disengaged or disconnected here in their home state.
Lamont said the matching state funds will be deposited in the general fund.
“We are disappointed that The Partnership didn’t work out, but we are excited to continue the mission that we believe deeply is so important,” Dalio said.