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Obituary: James J. Harnett, Family & Children’s Association CEO, Dies at 63

Known as the ultimate caregiver, Mr. Harnett shepherded the care of thousands of Long Islanders in his role as president/CEO of Family & Children’s Association, a human care agency serving Long Island’s neediest population. Mr. Harnett passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 23, 2010.

In addition to his role at Family & Children’s, Mr. Harnett served as advisor to The Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, member (formerly, Secretary of the Board and member of the Executive Committee); The Kimmel Housing Development Foundation, Inc., member, Board of Directors; Long Island Federally Qualified Health Center, Chair, Board of Directors; New York State Association of Family Service Agencies, Vice President and Chair of the Advocacy Committee; New York State Health Foundation, Special Opportunity Grants, Peer Review Committee; United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Consultant, Management Training; The United Way of Long Island, Vice President, Agency Executives Council; Anna and Philip Kimmel Foundation, Advisor and Community Advocates, Board member.

Prior to joining Family & Children’s in 2006, Mr. Harnett was the executive vice president, chief operating officer and secretary of Covenant House in New York City, a not-for-profit agency that provides shelter and service to homeless and runaway youth. He has also worked for Columbia University, Catholic Charities of the Brooklyn Diocese, the Catholic Guardian Society in Brooklyn and the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Atlanta. He also worked as a volunteer in Karnataka State, India, for the United States Peace Corps.

Mr. Harnett earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Cathedral College in Douglaston, Queens, in 1968. He received a master’s degree in public administration from New York University in 1974, and completed the Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management Program in 1995.

Mr. Harnett’s devotion to his work was only surpassed by his commitment to his family. He was a loving husband and proud father. He is survived by his wife Fran, and their two children, Sarah and James, his mother, Eleanor, his sister Ellen, brother-in-law Bruce, brothers Richard and Robert, sister-in-law Smokey, and sister Joan. At the family’s request, memorial donations in Jim’s honor may be made to Family & Children’s Association, 100 E. Old Country Rd., Mineola, NY 11501 (516-746-0350) or

Plans are under way to hold a formal tribute to Mr. Harnett. Details will be announced as they become available.