Mary E. Walachy, Executive Director
Mary Walachy took on the role of executive director of the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation in 1997, with her primary responsibilities including the development of the organization’s strategic direction and new funding initiatives and guidelines, as well as providing general oversight of the foundation’s administration.
Under Walachy's direction, the Cherish Every Child Initiative, a city-wide initiative focused on improving the lives of children from birth through age five and their families in Springfield by helping to ensure that they enter kindergarten ready to succeed, has been a critical ally in the successful passage of universal Pre-K legislation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The initiative has also successfully engaged the workforce development and family literacy establishment in recognizing the long-term return on investments in early education.
In 2009 the Foundation expanded its Cherish Every Child Initiative to include READ! Reading Success by 4th Grade, a comprehensive campaign to help boost literacy rates so all children in Springfield will be reading on grade level by the time they enter 4th grade. Walachy also created the Funder Collaborative for Reading Success, a collaboration of over 12 funders who have collectively distributed over $1 million in support of early literacy and reading success. In 2013, Walachy was appointed by Governor Patrick to the state Board of Early Education and Care, a twelve-member board which overseas policy for preschool, daycare and out-of-school and summer programs statewide.
Mary was also the leading architect in the creation of Springfield Business Leaders for Education (SBLE), a group of over 40 local employers concerned about and committed to improving educational attainment from pre-school through K-12, to higher education and career training. SBLE’s goal is to ensure a skilled workforce and economic opportunity for all in the community.
Mary’s other accomplishment include directing the Davis Foundation in a number of other collaborative endeavors, including the CAN DO initiative between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Hampden County Regional Employment Board, which focuses on the nursing shortage in Western Massachusetts. She also developed a partnership with Lumina, Balfour, and Boston Foundations to establish the Achieving the Dream Initiative, designed to address community college retention and graduation rates.
Mary's dedication to the community does not end at the Davis Foundation. She is currently a member of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce board of directors and executive committee, a member of the steering committee for the Massachusetts Early Education for All campaign and a member of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission’s Plan for Progress Coordinating Council. She was the past co-Chair of Homes Within Reach – the City of Springfield Plan to End Homelessness.
Prior to joining the Davis Foundation, Walachy served as executive director for the Mental Health Association of Greater Springfield after earning a master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut.
Under her direction, the Foundation has received national recognition for its work, including a feature in the National Center for Family Philanthropy and in the Council on Foundation's book "The Giving Family".
Sally C. Fuller, Project Director
Ms. Fuller has spent her career in marketing and advertising and her non-working hours as a volunteer for non-profits doing fundraising, marketing, capacity-building, and generally, whatever has needed to be done! The organizations she has worked with in the Greater Springfield area range from WGBY, Public Television for Western Massachusetts to Girl Scouts to Springfield School Volunteers to the Springfield Day Nursery to the Greater Springfield Mentoring Partnership to local colleges.
She has been involved in the promotion of and funding administration for volunteer programs on a state-wide level as a director of the Massachusetts Service Alliance.
She continues to enjoy her weekly lunches with a "lunch buddy" from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County.