A Tribute to Sharon O’Meara: The Soul of Hartford, Connecticut

Sharon R. O'Meara

We are so fortunate here at CSH to have many wonderful funders and supporters. Our relationships go beyond the contracts, benchmarks, and metrics often associated with grants; we share a common purpose and passion to make our communities better places for the most vulnerable among us. It is not uncommon for us to view the people who work with our foundation-partners as valued advisors and friends. One such person who held our affection and shared more wisdom, commitment and kindness than we can express, Sharon O’Meara of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, passed away last week and our hearts are filled with sadness.

Our staff in Connecticut worked closely with Sharon, who was hands-down one of the biggest champions ever for her beloved City of Hartford. Sharon understood that a great community cares about every neighbor and works together to meet its challenges, leaving no one behind. She chose not to ignore the homeless and impoverished, those desperately in need of being seen, and made their well-being and advancement her mission in life.

When others demurred, Sharon rolled up her sleeves and made good things happen. By serving others so well, she became a role model to be emulated.

She was a thoughtful visionary who loved to laugh. Her warmth filled any room she was in with positive energy and a can-do spirit.

These qualities made Sharon a formidable force in life and honor her memory today.

“I got to know Sharon during my time in Connecticut as CSH Director in New England; she had a real warmth about her and a great sense of humor. Talking to her was always easy and pleasant.  She was clearly deeply committed to bettering Hartford – you could immediately tell that when meeting her.”

Larry Oaks, CSH Managing Director Eastern Region

“I first met Sharon when I was Executive Director of Journey Home, prior to my working at CSH.  New on the Hartford scene, I was immediately drawn to her passion, her creativity and her hunger for new ideas to help the service system work better for the most vulnerable people.  I would love seeing Sharon and knew that a meeting on our latest grant proposal would turn into a larger discussion on how to better coordinate systems in Hartford and work with the state to improve outcomes.”

Sarah Gallagher, CSH Director of Strategic Initiatives (former Director in Connecticut)

“Sharon was a delightful person, with a keen grasp of the complex issues impacting the most vulnerable members of the Hartford community. She was committed to fostering meaningful collaborative partnerships, building on the special strengths of each stakeholder group to achieve collective results far greater than if the groups didn’t work together. Her visionary leadership has been a critical driver in implementing housing solutions for some of the highest-need people with disabilities experiencing homelessness in Connecticut.”

Betsy Branch, CSH Associate Director in Connecticut

Sharon R. O'Meara Obituary

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