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Mary Lyon Foundation Updates

Board Spotlight: Laurie Benoit

Laurie Benoit has been involved with higher education philanthropy for the entirety of her career. She was drawn to fundraising because of her strong desire to make a difference in the lives of students, families, and educators. More specifically, Laurie always had a desire to give back and contribute in a meaningful way in the lives of children and families in her hometown in West County.

She joined the Mary Lyon Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2018 and currently serves as the Chair of the Board. Laurie drew on her own upbringing, saying growing up “very poor” and without access to services, fueled her passion to serve in West County upon retirement. She elaborated and stated, “The Mary Lyon Foundation is one of two important priorities in my life. I want to do everything I can to ensure that children who grew up like I did have hope for the future and every opportunity to succeed.”

Throughout her time as Chair, Laurie has been deeply involved with all facets of the Foundation’s operations, programs, and services. However, she noted her most vital role has been working with fellow board members to prepare for the Foundation’s future by conceptualizing and launching the Foundation’s $5 million-dollar comprehensive campaign. This, she explained, “will help secure the Foundation’s future and expand the programs and services we provide to our students, families, and educators.”

Laurie said her favorite part of being involved with the Mary Lyon Foundation is the ability to help make a difference in the lives of students and families through securing the future of the Foundation for generations to come. Laurie feels that involvement in the Foundation is imperative to a thriving local community, not only so we can continue to foster and implement meaningful programs for those in need, but also because our community is still at risk as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

She expressed, “When we help our children, we help ourselves. They are our future, and we need to be a part of their success at a very early age. They are the ones who will be filling the professional and technical jobs in our area that will keep our community thriving in the long term.”

When she’s not devoting her time to helping her community thrive, Laurie enjoys cooking, gardening, volunteering, camping, hiking, traveling, and hosting friends and family. In fact, family is so important to Laurie that meals shared with them are some of her favorite memories. She went on to fondly recall the best meal she’d had recently, which was cooked by her 10-year-old granddaughter, Ruby. “It was the first meal she cooked herself,” Laurie said, proudly.

When on vacation, you can find Laurie at her favorite camping spot: Pemiquid Point in Bristol, Maine. Laurie also enjoys listening to music and watching films, with “The Secret of Life” by James Taylor being her favorite song and The Sound of Music her favorite movie.

Without profound dedication and assistance from committed community members such as Laurie, all the work the Mary Lyon Foundation does would not be possible. Thank you, Laurie!