Foundation Recipients

Derrek Metz

Amelia Nathanson
Paul and Mindee Blanco have always been committed to giving back to their community by working to improve the lives of underprivileged children and families. What started as a vision to help the world, one child at a time, soon evolved into what is now the Foundation for Life, Inc.

A prominent philanthropist and Managing Director of Barnum Financial Group, an Office of MetLife, Paul encourages all of his employees to give back through both charitable contributions and volunteerism. Paul’s dream is for 100% of his employees to actively participate in charitable giving in some way. In 2006, Paul and Mindee created the Foundation for Life, Inc. as a vehicle through which Barnum Financial Group employees could assist those in need throughout their community.

In 2006, Junior Achievement inducted Paul into their Hall of Fame and in 2007 he was named Philanthropist of the year by the Fairfield County Remodelers and Home Building Association. He was inducted into the Connecticut Business Hall of Fame and his firm was recognized as the “Best Place to Work in Connecticut” by the Hartford Business Journal in 2007 and 2010. Paul is also on the Board of the Shelton Boys & Girls Club.

In addition to her active role on the Board of the Foundation for Life and Chairperson of the Foundation’s Allocations Committee, Mindee is also the Director of Barnum Financial Group’s Wealth Strategies Division. She has been involved as a volunteer for the Feroleto Children’s Development Center for many years and currently sits on the Child and Family Guidance Board. Mindee is also an avid supporter of Junior Achievement
Board Members


     Joseph D. LoPresti


      Amelia Nathanson


      Benjamin Howarth


      Derrek Metz

Board of Directors

Paul Blanco

​Mindee Blanco

The Foundation for Life is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in 2006 by Paul and Mindee Blanco. The mission of the Foundation for Life is to improve the quality of life for the people and families we serve through actions that promote change and deepen connections within our community.

Since its inception in 2006, the Foundation for Life has supported hundreds of organizations throughout the North East who are working to better the lives of those in need throughout the community. In addition, the foundation hosts several of it's own charitable functions throughout the year.

About the Foundation

"improving the quality of life for the people & families in our community"

Derrek is a Managing Sales Director for Barnum Financial Group, an Office of MetLife, who currently manages the Stamford, Connecticut office. With over 12 years of experience in the financial services industry, his areas of focus are coaching elite advisor teams, training on financial planning, and specializing in wealth preservation and estate strategies. As a cum laude graduate of Bucknell University, Derrek earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and currently holds his Series 4, 7, 24, 51 and 66 securities licenses. While originally from farm country located in central Illinois, Derrek currently lives in the Silvermine neighborhood of New Canaan, CT with his wife Polly, who teaches in Darien, CT, and their two sons Jack and Grant. As avid skiers, the whole family actively enjoys chasing powder, but sailing, tennis, and traveling are also passions. Derrek is also a part of the New Canaan Land Trust, Fairfield Country Financial Planning Association, Silvermine Community Association, Kiwanis Club, and the Foundation for Life.

Allocation Committee Chair

     Mindee Blanco

Communication Committee Co-Chairs

    Lynn Waldvogel & Ian Querze

Fundraising Committee Chair

    Melissa Poli   

Committee Chairman

News & Press Releases

A multi-faceted leader, Amelia Nathanson has served in a variety of roles since joining Barnum Financial Group, an office of Metlife, in 2010.  Today, she is part of the firm’s Training and Development team as well as conducting sales development programs for advisors at all levels of experience.  She also manages the firm’s two summer internship programs,. Amelia is a Kolbe Certified Consultant and co-led the rollout of the Kolbe System™ throughout Barnum to help the organization better select and maximize talent and build and manage more effective teams.  Her energy and dedication to all of the efforts she is involved in resulted in her being named the Barnum Financial Group Associate of the Year in 2012.  She is a noted resource on professional development and maximizing employee talent and has been featured in HR Magazine and GAMA Journal. A graduate of St. John’s University in New York, Amelia earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and masters of business administration degree in business management and finance.    Amelia lives in Plantsville, Connecticut with her husband Mike.  She  volunteers in a number of organizations that promote education and regularly conducts workshops at colleges on interviewing and resume writing skills. 

Ben Howarth is a Financial Services Representative and Financial Advisor with Barnum Financial Group, an office of MetLife. Ben provides knowledge and value to his clients while exemplifying the utmost standards of professionalism and integrity. One of his areas of expertise is working with families that have a dependent with special needs. Ben received his Bachelor of Science with a concentration in finance and a double minor in Communications and Legal Studies from Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. He is a resident of Griswold, CT and enjoys spending his free time with family and friends. He is a member of several industry associations including Million Dollar Round Table (Quarter of the Table), the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and has earned his Certified Advisor for Senior Living designation.

Benjamin Howarth
Joseph D. LoPresti
Joe is the Senior Agency Sales Director at Barnum Financial Group, An Office of MetLife. Joe started his career with MetLife 19 years ago. As Agency Sales Director and BFG South Market Leader, Joe leads a team of over 200 highly productive Financial Service Representatives, Sales Managers and Agency Directors. In 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 Joe was recognized as the number one MetLife Agency Sales Director in the country. Joe was also named by Fairfield County Business Journal as one of the top 40 leaders under the age of 40 in Fairfield County. Joe also gives back to his community by coaching youth baseball and basketball, as well as contributing time and resources to several local charities and organizations. Joe serves on the Board of Directors at the Valley United Way and BFG's Foundation For Life. Joe is an avid sports fan who lives in Woodbury, CT with his wife Amy and their four children Tanner, Kassi, Carli and Hannah..
Paul and Mindee Blanco
 Kristy Brown

Fundraising Events

Lucy Andrade

Richard Bauer

​Caitlin Beaudry

Jeffrey Blanco

Michael Bucci

Katharine Chaney-Jones

John Corraro

Natalina DeMeis

Dana Ian

Cherie Johnson

Kevin McAvoy

Danielle Giordano Plotkin

​​Connor Shugrue

Pessie Wong

​Stephanie Zapata