It is with great sadness that NCG announces the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Jenny Chinn. Jenny joined the team 18 years ago and held the longest tenure of anyone ever to have worked at NCG. During that time, she became the backbone of the organization – a steady, cheerful source of support for everyone who got to work with her. Her official title was Senior Operations Manager, but we often referred to her as our office mom.
At its essence, NCG’s work is about building community. Jenny understood this on a deep and personal level. It was in Jenny’s nature to treat everyone like family and she did that daily by creating an inviting space for staff and the NCG community. She welcomed everyone with a warm smile and always made sure we were well-fed and had enough coffee. She decorated the office with plants and colorful furniture, and she took the time to ask about our well-being and that of our loved ones. She offered unsolicited advice on practically everything, but never bothered to gloat when some of us failed to take that advice and inevitably realized the error of our ways. And she always appreciated a selfie, a good bargain, or a bowl of ramen.
“Jenny may have been the office mom, but to me, she was a younger sister,” shared Steve Barton, NCG’s Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. “She never stopped reminding me how MUCH younger she was and made me smile daily with her unique ‘Good morning, sunshine!’ greeting. She brought sunshine to NCG for 18 glorious years and we will miss her deeply.”
“Jenny was my partner,” said former NCG President and CEO Ellen LaPointe. “She made me feel welcome from the first moment I set foot in the door, and she was always at least two steps ahead of me in our work. She got things done, she was a keeper of our history and stories, and she kept us smiling. We were all so blessed to work with her and to know her. There will never be anyone like her again.”
This past year, Jenny fought a tough battle with cancer. On May 12, 2022, her battle ended. We plan to honor her contribution to our community and will continue to celebrate her life. As we grieve her loss, we will keep her family in our hearts. We send our deep condolences to her husband, two sons, parents, and three siblings.
We will love and miss you forever, Jenny. We envision you at peace on a warm beach, somewhere over the rainbow.
Dwayne S. Marsh, President and CEO, Northern California Grantmakers
The depth of the loss helps us appreciate the value of the gift. I’ve never met anyone whose work or life was touched by Jenny that didn’t carry with them a remnant of the warmth with which she went through life. Our lives were incredibly blessed to share in that warmth, and its absence will be profound. But our memories of her will be powerful companions on the journey forward.
Alice Cabrera Bryant, Director or Finance and Operation, Northern California Grantmakers
She had me at, “hello." I worked with Jenny as her Manager, for almost 5 years, but the truth was, Jenny managed me many times during some challenging days. She always knew just how to manage me by saying things like ‘don’t worry, it’ll get done’ or ‘don’t worry, just drink wine.’ She always had the perfect amount of tenacity and grace that was needed to make sure everyone at NCG was taken care of. Jenny put everyone first, she was selfless. Seeing everyone happy and in community was the center of Jenny’s world. Jenny loved traveling to Hawaii for vacation. She was the longest employee NCG’s ever had, and rightfully so, had the most accrued vacation time (it truly may go down in NCG history)! Jenny called Hawaii her happy place and visited at least 2-3 times a year. There is no doubt in my mind that she is there now, sitting on the white sandy beaches, counting each wave that rolls in, and eating her favorite Hawaiian dessert “Haupia”. I am blessed to have met and worked with such a beautiful soul and I will truly miss my “sweet Jenny.” She will forever be remembered as NCG’s office mom and the heart of the office.
Marisela Orta, former Communications Manager, Northern California Grantmakers
I worked with Jenny for ten years. During that time, her eldest son went from playing with toys under her desk to becoming a young man, and her younger son, now in college, was just a baby. I cannot imagine my time at NCG without Jenny. Her quick sense of humor, her willingness to roll up her sleeves and work, and her fierce loyalty to all of us were a gift. It won’t be the same without her.