Mother Knows Best

May 24, 2019
Although we don’t always want to admit it, moms do know what they’re talking about. As we remembered and celebrated the ladies who have taught us most of what we know last weekend, we wanted to share some of the wisdom they imparted that has served us well as nonprofit professionals.
Hope Zurn (Jenn Sweigart, Program Manager at CNE at the PATH Resource Center) 
Fortitude: In the midst of becoming a breast cancer survivor, my mom took over the Survivor Dinner Leader roles of her local Relay for Life and provided fantastic fundraising events and well-planned dinners for survivors for over 10 years! Love you, Mom!

Doris Robinson (Andrew Robinson, Program Manager)
My mom worked as an Administrative Assistant for a local nonprofit that provided physical and speech therapy to kids with special needs. Despite the fact that she didn’t work directly with the kids from day to day, her role as a public servant was very important to her. She never lost sight of the part she played in carrying out the organization’s mission. Her attitude inspires me in my work with CNE.

María Antillón-Vega (José Villegas, Intern)
One of the things that she taught me since I was very little was to be aware of our privileges and to give something back to the community or to the country that made those privileges possible. I remember she said to me once, “We live in a country with a lot of people in extreme poverty, what are you gonna do with your privilege?” That idea of giving something back to the community stuck with me and I think it is what makes me interested in the nonprofit sector.


Kathe Davis (Kadi Davis, Membership Manager) 

“Be good and be kind”
Throughout the years, my mom would say this each time I left the house or she dropped me off at school. From her, I learned that an essential element to doing any good work is doing it with kindness. As a family law attorney, she has provided kind and compassionate counsel to many clients navigating difficult decisions. She inspires me all the time.

Yvonne Carey (Aleen Carey, Senior Manager Philanthropy and Communications)
“Always say thank you”
My mom always led by example when it came to showing appreciation for others. I like to think that she is most proud of me when I am showing gratitude toward others. In nonprofit work, we always rely on the assistance of others to achieve even greater impact. Whether a volunteer has spent time helping out, a donor has made a generous gift, or a member has shared feedback—saying thank you is always a must!

Linda Martz Smith (Cindy Colson, Deputy Director Strategic Partnerships)
My mom followed my grandma‘s philosophy that a family of four should make a garden for 24 people, with a third for potatoes. So, once a year, digging potatoes was a family affair. My dad would work the plow. My sister and I would run behind the plow picking potatoes. My mom would be at the end of the rows grabbing our filled buckets, singing, and creating games between my sister and me as we worked. My mom did not live to see me work in the nonprofit sector. Indeed, it was her sudden, unexpected death that lead to my career change.
Digging potatoes is a metaphor for my nonprofit work. The work is challenging. It can be hard. It can be tiring. It can be fun. It can bring joy. It’s most effective when we work together. And it reminds us to be barefoot, to feel the freshly plowed cool earth – to be grounded, to be connected. Mom, I love you. I miss you.

Gail Shea (Cristine Nardi, Executive Director)
“Find something you’re grateful for every day”
When the going gets rough, and it often does in nonprofit work, don’t forget your why. Why you do it. Why it matters. And that we at CNE are grateful for you.

Thank you to all the moms, aunts, sisters, step-moms, cousins, and other women who inspire us all.

© Center for Nonprofit Excellence 2019

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