Bernadette Bimonte-Hackett Fund for Women & Children
Est. 2021 by Bernadette Bimonte-Hackett
For thousands of people, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is synonymous with delicious pizza. But for Bernadette Bimonte-Hackett, it was home away from home. She spent each Sunday in an apartment above the restaurant, teeming with cousins, aunts and uncles, as her grandparents held their weekly dinner.
It was also the place where she saw all that it took for a woman to raise a family and run a highly successful business.
“My mom and my aunt ran the restaurant after my grandfather, Frank Pepe, died. My mom was a divorcee raising four children largely on her own while working in her family business. I saw how hard she worked, how much she had to juggle, and how generous she was with customers and staff, with vendors and with her extended family. My mother’s resiliency and fortitude inspired me, in part, to become a social worker,” said Bimonte-Hackett.
Bimonte-Hackett always gravitated toward working in nonprofits that focused on women and children. She received master’s degrees in gerontology and in social work and worked with adults and with children, advocating for those who don’t have a voice.
Retired from social work, she’s continuing in a new way. After talking with staff at The Community Foundation, she created the Bernadette Bimonte-Hackett Fund for Women and Children to provide resources to nonprofits that work in family preservation and on behalf of single mothers and children.
The fund is a way to continue the legacy of her late mother, Serafina Pepe DeMusis, and her late brother Gary Bimonte, who, along with Bimonte-Hackett, her sisters and cousins, was a Pepe’s co-owner, and was always giving back to the community. Though she lives in Madison now, Bimonte-Hackett’s roots in New Haven and Hamden where she grew up run very deep, and she is excited to give back in this way.
“People have always been so supportive of our family business,” she said. She envisions the fund “helping a single mom get some respite, giving her a little time away from the family or sending her kids to camp, providing something that would make their lives a little easier.”
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