Press Release: Announcing the Launch of Our New Website

Tom Forschner

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Thomas E. Forschner, CPA, MBA

Thomas E. Forschner is a Certified Public Accountant with his Master’s in Business Administration & Finance from Xavier University, his Bachelor’s in Accounting and Economics from Muskingum University, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants. His board and nonprofit experience includes, being a board member of Medical Research Charities, the CFO of the Lyme Disease Foundation, retired from the Connection, Inc., and consulting for Child Guidance, nonprofit.

Tom started his career with KPMG Global as a Staff Accountant, Audit, where he excelled at his job. Tom directed the office's Computer Audit Group, which was responsible for data center reviews. His audit client responsibilities ranged from, billion-dollar multinationals to small regional firms. He also specialized in reorganizing and turning around difficult or marginally profitable audit engagements. In this capacity he managed multiple client engagement teams and supervised a staff of 30 professionals. Additional responsibilities included identifying opportunities for client development and coordinating the activities of the Tax and Consulting departments. Tom was also responsible for the implementation of the firm's use of personal computers in the Hartford office, which included introducing and training all professionals in the use of personal computers. Mr. Forschner’s industry experience includes: nonprofit organizations, real estate, high technology, investment, insurance, banking, manufacturing, utilities, finance, and educational institutions.

Because of his excellent work, Tom was selected from KPMG Global’s New England region for a highly competitive Executive Training Program to work at the Executive Office in New York City, as Senior Manager in the Department of Professional Practice. He supported the worldwide professional staff. His accomplishments included: reduction of expenses by 20% through automation of the audit process, being one of the first to implement portable computers (Apple’s) to clients in order to streamline the audit process and consolidate supply purchasing; coordinate several long-range planning and research projects designed to enhance the firm's approach to its professional responsibilities; creating marketing and business plans for a variety of new accounting products; development of the budget and fee portion of a major multinational client’s merger proposal (RCA); analyze and developed the firm’s response on important accounting and auditing issues involving the SEC, AICPA, EITF, and FASB; assisted in the coordination of the firm’s personal computer migration, including evaluation of hardware & software as well as development and testing of training materials for thousands of worldwide professional staff; prepare and issue communications to operating offices on policy decisions; and consulted with operating offices on technical accounting and audit matters.

Subsequently, Tom broadened his experience by taking a position as First Vice President & Assistant Controller at Northeast Savings, F.A. where he was responsible for financial reporting of this $8 billion thrift. He directed the restructuring and automation of the 75-person Controller’s Department that resulted in increasing the efficiency of the financial reporting function and improving the budgetary & financial analysis process. Mr. Forschner accomplished this by collaborating with department executives in developing financial, budgetary, and product-pricing projections. In addition, he coordinated the work of the outside auditors. Because of his excellence he was promoted to Chief Financial Officer of the Consumer Lending Division where he conducted a feasibility study regarding the purchase of a consumer credit company and eventually integrated the new firm’s operations into the bank’s structure; and established the financial systems and procedures, as well as reporting requirements for this new division that helped the bank enter the emerging home equity lending market. Tom was promoted to Vice President, Special Financial Projects, where he was responsible for merger and acquisitions, divestitures, due diligence, and new product projections; and served as interim Tax Manager for the Bank.

In 1988, Tom cofounded the Lyme Borreliosis Foundation (“LBF”) [the name was later changed to “Lyme Disease Foundation, Inc.” (“LDF”)] with his wife Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner and a team of scientific, business, and advocacy experts in tick-borne diseases. No other such organization existed at this time. Karen (a full-time volunteer for 35+ years) and Tom (a current volunteer) hoped to find a cure for their congenitally infected son who over time became multi-handicapped and then eventually died during a relapse in 1991, when his brain crushed itself from inflammation. On autopsy, the Lyme pathogen was found in his optic nerve.

LDF’s media program was highly successful. Within days of being on TV, the LDF started receiving 15 – 20 trays of mail every day for months. TIME magazine termed the result the “most successful awareness campaign” of any health organization.

It became clear the LDF needed to be staffed. Tom was hired as the Executive Director by an independent subcommittee of the Board (Karen had no input). Tom managed all operational aspects including designing, programming, and implementing a highly computerized network.

The LDF’s effort resulted in increased research funds for state and local governments, rapid growth in recognition of Lyme and other diseases in new states, and the widespread understanding of emerging new tick-spread diseases. Tom’s other LDF activities included: the creation and oversight of all accounting and financial standards including budgets, financial statements, board reports, state tax filings, federal tax filings, external auditor’s annual independent audit, and payroll taxes; development of efficient procedures, polices, and strategies to meet the needs of millions who contacted us by the LDF’s phone (and the Forschner’s home phone), mail, email, and faxes every year; managed 10 employees with a $1.2 million annual budget; and interacted with a diverse spectrum of people on a daily basis (e.g. donors, state & federal agencies, members of the U.S. Congress, state legislators, legal counsel, auditors, researchers, healthcare providers, corporate executives, and media).

The LDF received numerous state, local, and national awards, and secured the adoption of Federal legislation that funded Health and Human Services’ (NIH & CDC) establishment of national research & education grants. Tom was instrumental in leading the effort in Connecticut to secure mandated insurance coverage of Lyme disease diagnosis and treatments as recommended by a patient’s doctor.

In addition, Tom qualified the LDF for various federated charities, including state and federal workplace donation campaigns; developed an award-winning website with the ability to conduct web-based sales, donation programs, and providing information to 250,000 households that needed assistance. The LDF fundraised over $13 million dollars with a very low overhead rate of 13%. They did this through a combination of individual private donations, corporate sponsors, direct mail requests, web-based programs, a telethon, golf tournaments, and government grants. Karen then started a doctor referral program for patients and as mentors for healthcare practitioners who need diagnosis and treatment guidance.

Tom also supervised $500,000 in LDF grants awarded to researchers. This included funding NIH employees to create a direct detection test. He was responsible for all Human Resources. Tom designed and computerized an automated 800# phone system in order to reach marginalized populations; assisted in the production of two award-winning TV programs, 27 scientific conferences, and testified in a variety of state and federal legislative hearings.

After a 1989 LDF medical conference held in San Francisco, Tom, Karen, and Jamie found themselves in the middle of the street in their car in San Francisco during the Loma Prieta 6.9 earthquake. They were in the darkness with explosions, bridge collapses, and fire all around them. They followed ambulance sounds in the dark to what they hoped would be a hospital. By another stroke of luck, an LDF board member – Dr. Paul Lavoie, was sitting in his office in that exact hospital. He was waiting to assist anyone in need. When the hospital told him the Forschner’s had arrived, Dr. Lavoie gathered G-tubes, nutrition, and diapers for Jamie and then took the Forschners to his home by crossing one of the only remaining useable bridges (the other bridges had collapsed). The next day, they used their pre-booked flight to get home.

Eventually, Tom moved on to be the Chief Financial Officer of The Connection, Inc. (“TCI”). Prior to his hiring, TCI had 2 companies, 260 employees, 10 properties, with a combined revenue of $26 million. The organization grew dramatically under Tom’s leadership where he assumed increasing responsibilities. When he left, the firm had grown to 6 diverse non-profit social service companies with over 500 employees, 70 cost centers, 35 properties, and revenue in excess of $50 million. The primary funding source was from State and Federal grants. Initially, Tom managed finance, accounting, and strategic planning duties. His responsibilities increased to also include risk management, real estate development, facilities management, infrastructure enhancement, fleet management, programming, and information technology.

Tom’s experience included supervising the merger of two companies into TCI’s existing structure and systems, including all accounting functions, personnel positions, facilities, services, and communications devices; establishing new companies to facilitate growth and our access to capital; securing $3 million in state bond funding; managing the installation of new unified payroll, accounting, medical billing, and electronic invoice payment systems; upgrading accounting controls and formalized the monthly closing; negotiating the refinancing of $3 million of debt in addition to securing $1.7 million in Lines of Credit; refurbished a 100 year-old 90,000 square foot building into an energy efficient showpiece reducing electric bills 80% and making the building self-sustaining in case of a power outage; upgraded Information Technology by improving the hardware and software infrastructure; introduced the “Scrum approach” (self-organizing & cross-functional) to teamwork and project management for the programmers; completed a mirrored offsite server, increasing security of the firm’s data needed to provide services; installed a new phone system that cut telecommunication costs by 90%, and united all of 300+ phones into one system, despite having numerous physical locations throughout the state; established fleet accounts with two major auto carriers utilizing the State purchasing contracts, saving 30% per vehicle and increasing the firms’ ability to transport clients. The fleet increased from 20 to 80 vehicles. By not utilizing traditional leasing, the firm saved on fees, sales tax, property tax and interest; and created a maintenance and tracking database for the firms’ fleet, increasing safety by monitoring the driver’s actions to identify and remove unsafe drivers and discover maintenance issues before problems occurred. He retired in 2019.

With the expertise he had developed, Tom established his own consulting firm which provides guidance for health service nonprofits. His most recent consulting assignment was with a healthcare nonprofit, where he documented all accounting procedures and made recommendations regarding improvements in the financial systems. To do this, he temporarily assumed the position of Chief Financial Officer and guided the organization thru COVID19 changes by obtaining Covid-related relief grants that were used to improve functionality for staff operating remotely.

Tom is used to hard work. He put himself through college by working summer jobs as a lifeguard and being a construction worker in New York City. After marriage, he put himself through graduate school earning his M.B.A., and later his C.P.A. Tom is certified in boating and has his scuba certifications for Open water, Advanced Open water, Deep diving, Wreck diving, Night diving, and Navigational diving.

We are very lucky to have Tom volunteering with the Lyme Disease Foundation, Inc. and look forward to using all of his skills!
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