Mary Vivo

Mary is our new director of philanthropy at Fort Collins Rescue Mission/Harvest Farm. With 20 years of experience working for nonprofits, she joins us with a passion to serve the physical, mental and spiritual needs of our community.

What inspired you to work at the Mission and serve those experiencing homelessness?

I have managed a variety of nonprofits in Northern Colorado and felt led to return to an organization that provides shelter, recovery, and self-sufficiency. It brings me to tears when looking in the eyes of someone who has given up on hope, and I believe as a society we need to catch people before they fall into despair. I feel a responsibility to offer education on what homelessness is and the variety of ways people find themselves in that situation, and to share how our community can participate in changing someone’s life. Whether through volunteering or funding, I would like to invite people into partnership so they can see their compassion take action. It’s more than just writing a check; it’s seeing the intention and action behind their philanthropic contribution and labors of love.

What are you excited about or hoping to accomplish in your new role?

I’m thrilled to be able to step in and carry on what Susan Stewart has created here in Northern Colorado. She made deep connections with donors, and you can tell she made a difference in their lives. I want to carry that forward, reflect the face of Christ, and help people in need. I see my role as more of the connector. We’re building partnerships and getting to know the donors and what their passions are. Everybody has a story. Some people have more colorful pasts than others, but usually as you get to know people, you realize it could have been you. It could have been a family member or a coworker or a neighbor. I feel that my role is to draw that out, take donors along for the journey, and make connections so that they see what difference they’re making.

What would you say to encourage someone to get involved with the Mission?

There’s nothing like helping someone in need, whether that’s helping serve a meal or spending five minutes with somebody. With a kind word or a smile, you never know how you’re going to touch somebody’s life.

This post is part of October’s Changing Lives Newsletter. This month, we’re sharing the story of three peer leaders, Abel, Rodney and Tommy, in: Looking Up.

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