After twenty years of remarkable service to foundations and the local nonprofit community, NCG member Mary Gregory will be retiring this month from her role as Vice President of Community Alliance at Pacific Foundation Services (PFS). Thank you for your years of dedication, Mary! Read the full announcement from PFS below:
After twenty years of remarkable service to foundations and the local nonprofit community, Mary Gregory will be retiring this month from her role as Vice President of Community Alliance at Pacific Foundation Services (PFS). Mary was an integral member of the founding team at PFS, helping shape the firm’s signature personalized style of service to private foundations. During her tenure, Mary worked with 19 family foundations funding in a range of focus areas, including early childhood development, education, and safety net programs. In unmistakably Mary fashion - always interested in connecting people - she supported the Bay Area philanthropic and nonprofit community through the creation of Mary’s List (a job board linking nonprofit consultants to community organizations) and served as a long-time advisor and board member to organizations including the Foundation Center and At The Crossroads. Although her talent, spirit, and smile will be missed by her many professional colleagues, we congratulate her on a career grounded in care and wish her the very best in retirement!
Before her departure, Mary shared some of her memories and lessons learned over her 20 years with PFS.
Question: What are you most looking forward to in retirement?
Answer: Not having to schedule each day! It will be so different, which is slightly worrisome but also a bit of a relief. I am looking forward to enjoying more time with family and helping my daughter and son-in-law with my six-year old granddaughter. My husband and I will also spend more time in Sonoma County, and I am eager to learn more about the community and lend a hand in rebuilding efforts.
Question: What is the most memorable grant you worked on?
Answer: While most of my work focused on relatively small grants, what I have come to value is the deep connections that were built through working on several foundations over a long period of time. The relationship building has been the most memorable and satisfying part of the grantmaking process because you learn alongside your nonprofit partners and board members.
Question: Can you name a grant you helped make that you feel really made a difference in the community?
Answer: A Bella Vista Foundation grant that immediately comes to mind was to a nonprofit in Morgan Hill called Learning and Loving Education Center. This nonprofit provides a safe, supportive, and loving community to immigrant women and children who are far from their families and brings them together to learn about parenting and how they can support each other in their new country. The grant reminds me that it is not about the size or magnitude of the nonprofit, but instead about how you respond to the needs of your clients … and create community.
Question: As you step away from a career in philanthropy, what advice do you have for the next generation of philanthropy professionals?
- Always be kind and respectful. It is a gift to learn from the nonprofit staff and foundation clients.
- Enjoy the work. We are so fortunate to do this fascinating work and help communities thrive. Your enthusiasm can inspire others.
- Challenge yourself. Take on projects that stretch you. I still remember shortly after arriving at PFS, I was asked to speak to a group of women who were visiting San Francisco from China. It was a three-hour session with translators on the topic of fundraising and was an eye-opening experience.
- Step Forward. Don’t be shy about taking on a leadership role as it will help grow your skills while inevitably strengthening your team and the sector.