Mary Neely honored as Midland Area Community Foundation Philanthropy Award recipient

neely Mary Neely and her family at the Ripple Effect

During the Ripple Effect event, the Midland Area Community Foundation awarded the Midland Area Community Foundation Philanthropy Award.  The award was designed to recognize someone in our community who has selflessly given time, talent and treasure in the interest of improving the community.  Mary Neely was the first person the board thought of for her dedicated and long-standing commitment to the Midland Area.

In 1957, Mary moved here with her husband Brock.  She began her involvement  in the community by becoming involved with the pediatric program at the Midland Michigan Center-Midland.  She also volunteered with the symphony and Midland Center for the Arts.  She continued her service to the Midland Center for the Arts by serving on the Board.  She also served on the boards of both United Way and Chemical Bank.

Mary was very involved with the early history of the Midland Area Community Foundation as well. During the mid 1970s, Neely became involved in the Midland Community Foundation, later becoming its chairwoman. The Foundation was focused on impacting the entire Midland community, and Mary remembers the time fondly.  “Everyone was willing to take on a lot of leadership roles and willing to get different projects started. We worked with the other organizations in town like the private foundations, the city, and county parks in order to get many things underway,” she adds, remembering the whole city coming together for the building of the Tridge.*  Her influence is clearly felt today.

Mary is still actively serving the community in her eighties, she is currently serving as president for one the Pardee Cancer Treatment Fund, a fund devoted to cancer research. She is also a trustee of Allen Foundation, Inc., an organization benefiting human nutrition in the areas of education, training, and research, and she sits on the boards of the Delta College Foundation and MidMichigan Health.

In the end however, what makes her most proud are her children.  Her three children are now married with families of their own. “One of my biggest satisfactions is that my children are just as involved in their communities, their churches, and their schools as we were,” says Neely.*

*Excerpts from "Giving Thanks for Those Who Give," to be published in Tri City (Monthly Lifestyle Magazine), November 2009.