Board of Directors & Staff
Fr. Francis Hilton, President
Father Hank Hilton is a native of Monmouth County, New Jersey. He graduated from Fordham in 1978 with a B.A. in Economics and then completed an M.A. in Economics the following year. Father’s other Masters degrees are from Loyola Chicago, Boston College and Harvard. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and then began a 15 year career as an Economics professor at Loyola Baltimore. Prior to leaving Loyola in 2011, Father served as department chair for four years.
Before entering the priesthood, Father worked as an Energy Economist at Texaco. He continued his work in the energy industry for nearly 20 years at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, now part of IHN Global. Much of Father’s academic research has studied the intersection of energy and environmental issues.
Father’s service to people with disabilities began early in his youth when his youngest sister, Judith, was born with Down Syndrome. Her influence steered him into many forms of service at the Arc of Monmouth where he served as Board President from 2018 to 2020 and was awarded the Countess Buxhoeveden Award, the Arc’s highest honor for those who support its mission.
In addition to serving on the board of XSB and the Arc of Monmouth, Father has also served as a trustee of Canisius College, LeMoyne College, Loyola Blakefield Academy and Cristo Rey of Baltimore.
Currently, Father Hilton is pastor of St. Joseph’s parish in Hillsborough, NJ and is a visiting professor of economics at Rutgers.
Mr. Breandan Ward, Vice-President
In 2017, Breandan Ward joined Xavier Society for the Blind’s Board of Directors. Breandan was born in County Monaghan, Ireland and graduated from University College Dublin in 1999 with an honors degree in Commerce in French. He started his career at Goldman Sachs in London and subsequently joined Morgan Stanley where he held various leadership roles in their London and New York offices.
In his most recent role as Executive Director, Breandan led the Global Margin Operations department which was responsible for monitoring financial and operational risks for Morgan Stanley’s industry-leading margin lending business.
Breandan left the banking sector in 2016 to pursue an Executive Masters in Public Administration at New York University. His current areas of study include Conflict Resolution, Religion and Radicalization, and Public-Sector Reform.
Breandan was diagnosed in 2003 with an inherited form of macular degeneration. He is an avid runner and enjoys playing Irish music and studying languages including Hebrew and Arabic. After completing his undergraduate degree in Ireland and France, Breandan lived and worked in Australia, Israel, and England, and has lived in New York since 2011.
Breandan is an active volunteer with New York Cares and a member of Church of the Incarnation, Madison Avenue, and Congregation Beith Simcha Torah on West 30th Street. Breandan supports the work of the Xavier Society for the Blind and its essential purpose of helping those living with blindness and visual impairment to integrate religion and spirituality into their lives.
Ms. Kitty Wynne, Treasurer
Kitty Wynne has a long lineage and history in Catholic and Jesuit education. After 12 years of parochial education in Syracuse, NY, she went to Le Moyne College as had her parents and several aunts, uncles, cousins, a brother and a sister-in-law. Kitty’s husband Tom also was graduated from Le Moyne.
She is active at Fairfield University as a Eucharistic Minister and is on the Board of Directors of her alma mater, Bishop Grimes High School.
Previous Board commitments include:
• President, Girls Inc. (formerly, Girls Club)
• The Depot Teen Center of Darien, CT,
• The Junior League,
• The YWCA of Darien and other community and school boards.
One of Kitty’s most meaningful commitments was to serve as a mentor to a student at Kolbe Cathedral High School in Bridgeport, CT. She was honored to be with the young lady through high school to ultimate matriculation at University of Connecticut.
Currently employed as the Finance Director of a private preschool, Kitty also serves as Treasurer of the Noroton Yacht Club.
Mr. Daniel Morrison
Dan is the founder of the Morrison Law Firm, P.C., which provides litigation services and counsel to clients in both New York and Connecticut. The firm’s offices are located in White Plains, New York and Greenwich, Connecticut. Many of Dan’s clients include businesses and individuals involved with liability claims. Dan also handles insurance coverage. He specializes in products liability, construction defect, environmental and professional liability matters. Additionally, Dan represents and advises property owners in litigation and lease transactions.
Dan is the product of a unique combination of the Jesuit and Quaker traditions. He graduated from Fordham Law School in the Bronx, Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and the Fordham University School of Law in Manhattan. Dan’s brothers, Matt and Neil, who are also practicing attorneys, similarly attended both Fordham Prep and Fordham Law School.
Dan is a native of Yonkers, New York, where he and his family were parishioners of the Annunciation Parish in the Crestwood section of Yonkers. Dan and his wife of thirty years, Catherine, have resided for years in Westport, Connecticut, where they raised their two sons, Daniel and Peter, who are graduates of Jesuit institutions Fairfield College Preparatory School, Boston College, and Fordham College. Dan and his wife are parishioners of Assumption Church in Westport, where the well-known sight-impaired musician, Jose Feliciano, is also a member.
Dan has been an active alumnus of Fordham Law School, having served as President of the Westchester/Putnam Chapter of the Fordham Law School Alumni Association. Additionally, he is a member of the Fordham Law School Small to Midsize Firm Dean’s Advisory Council. Further, Dan is active in the New York State Bar Association, where he has served as Co-Chair of the Environmental Insurance Committee.
Dan is proud to serve on the XSB Board in furtherance of its mission to assist sight-impaired individuals of all faiths.
Mr. Mike Robinson
Mike is currently the President of NFB of New York. His interest in working with the National Federation of the Blind stems from his own personal journey as a legally blind individual. Mike was diagnosed with Myopic Degeneration and Cone-Rod Dystrophy at birth. Born and raised in Tonawanda, New York, he is a graduate of SUNY Delhi, where he received an Associate Degree in Restaurant Management.
After graduation, Mike worked in the Randolph-Sheppard Business Enterprise Program, managing stands in the Buffalo and Rochester areas. He also worked in the Technical Support field as a call center technician, and for the Internal Revenue Service. He self-taught himself the skills of Computer Design & Computer Repair.
Mike’s passion for working with the NFB began in 1988, after attending his first Convention. It is there that he met his wife, Angie, with whom he recently celebrated his 30th anniversary. Mike and Angie are the parents of two sons. Mike is an active Boy Scout leader and proudly witnessed both of his sons make it to the rank of Eagle Scout. One of Mike’s greatest joys is watching kids learn and grow, and “just be kids.”
Since that convention back in 1988, Mike has been an active, involved member of the National Federation of the Blind. He served as Second Vice President of NYS for ten years and President of the Buffalo Chapter for eighteen years. Also during that time he was active in the Tonawanda Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus, and served two terms as Faithful Navigator for the Nelson-Baker Assembly.
Mike’s current mindset is to grow the NFB’s organizational benefits by establishing and strengthening ties with other organizations for the blind of NYS. He intends to increase the organization’s name recognition, as well as establishing the NFB as a leading resource for the blind. He constantly works to educate the public about blindness and strives to empower all blind persons with the tools and attitudes necessary to “Live the Lives They Want”.
Mr. Paul Fontaine
Paul graduated from the University of Maryland in 1991 with a B.S. in Computer Studies and a minor in Special Education. In 2017, he completed a master’s degree in Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America.
In addition to Paul’s 37 years of experience in Information Technology in both the private and public sector, he has dedicated over three decades of service to the Catholic Church and to people with disabilities.
Currently, Paul is a technology consultant for Disability Support Services at The Catholic University of America. Prior to this, he fulfilled other roles for the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. General Services Administration, Prince Georges Community College, and Digital Equipment Corporation, among others. A veteran of the United States Navy, he is also an avid volunteer for Prince Georges County’s Special Olympics and Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, where he is currently responsible for captioning Masses for the parish’s YouTube channel.
Dr. Inés Chisholm
Inés is a patron of Xavier Society for the Blind, and is currently working on helping the organization expand its Spanish audiobook library. Ms. Chisholm previously attended SAAVI Services for the Blind and holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in Bilingual Education from the University of Florida. A parishioner of St. James the Apostle in Coolidge, AZ, Inés is also RCIA director at her parish. In addition, she is a certified Lay Ecclesial Minister in the Diocese of Tucson. Inés attended Hesychia School for Spiritual Direction in Tucson to become a Spiritual Director using the Evocative Method.
Ms. Donna Crilly
Donna graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (History) and Certificate in Women’s Studies from Rutgers University’s Douglass College. She was subsequently awarded with distinction a Master of Theological Studies from Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Currently, Donna is Senior Academic Editor at Paulist Press, where she has worked in a variety of editorial positions since 2009. Prior to joining Paulist Press, she fulfilled editorial roles for Liturgy Training Publications, Pearson Education, St. Scholastica Priory/St. Bede’s Publications, and was a freelance editor on various projects. Passionate about publishing, she serves as Secretary on the Association of Catholic Publishers’ Board of Directors.
Dr. Skylar Covich
After graduating from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2009, Dr. Covich went on to receive a Master of Arts in Political Science in 2012 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He earned his PhD in the same subject five years later. Totally blind since birth, Dr. Covich has been committed to many organizations serving people living with sight loss, with experience in the academic and nonprofit worlds. He has been involved in many fellowships including the American Foundation for the Blind’s Leaders Development Program, and the Catholic Tepeyac’s Leadership Initiative. In addition, he was a founding member of the Lighthouse Guild for the Blind’s Visionary Board. Committed to accessible technology, Mr. Covich is currently employed at the Braille Institute of America where he supervises a team of technology instructors throughout southern California and provides strategic planning for the Connection Point program. A practicing Catholic, Dr. Covich sings in the Mary Magdalen Chapel Latin Mass choir, where he learned Gregorian chant and polyphony by ear, and he is a Lay Dominican.
Ms. Vivian Fridas
A native New Yorker, Ms. Fridas graduated from St. John’s University with a Masters of Art in Government and Politics (International Relations) in 2013. After graduation, Ms. Fridas has lent her time and experience to various groups with a focus on disability inclusion. She has been involved in many organizations such as the United States International Council on Disabilities, the National Democratic Institute, the International Disability Alliance, the United States International Council on Disabilities, Learning Ally, and the Global Observatory for Inclusion, among many others. She is currently employed by the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) in Alexandria, VA where she helps lead efforts to protect, support, and grow the company’s AbilityOne program and cultivates understanding and support for NIB with federal agencies and organizations concerned with disability employment and federal procurement policy.