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The Mary Lyon Foundation provides services and programs to all schools within the nine-town area of northwestern Massachusetts. Mary Lyon serves a population of 10,700 in the towns of Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe, and Shelburne. Geographically, the Mohawk Trail Regional School System is the largest and poorest in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with six schools encompassing 256 square miles in Franklin and Hampshire Counties.

Founded by educator and retired Executive Director, Susan Samoriski, Ed.D., the Mary Lyon Foundation Inc. was established in 1990 and incorporated on March 8, 1991. The Mary Lyon Foundation is inspired by and takes its name from renowned educator Mary Lyon, a 19th-century pioneer in women’s education and advocate for opportunity and quality education for all.



We prepare students to be ready to learn; to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally; and to thrive in the wider world.



We promote student success by mobilizing community investment in services and programs that create positive educational outcomes.

The Mary Lyon Foundation has spent 30 years distributing food, clothing,
eyeglasses, and more, to children in need including:

11 Truckloads

Brand-new school furniture and supplies

280 Eyeglasses

To achieve greater gains in the classroom

300 pairs of boots

Getting to school warm and safe

1,200 Jackets

Keeping children warm while they play

1,000 Hats & Mittens

Keeping children warm during outdoor learning

5,000 bags of groceries

To feed hungry families

4,200 supplies

To keep well stocked classrooms and backpacks

$25,000 Walmart Gift Cards

To ensure that families have the essentials

$54,000 Vouchers

To keep families fed and clothed

$175,223 mini-grants

To support reimangination and innovation in the classroom

How we help

life changing support

“I am wanting to express my gratitude to Kristen and the Mary Lyon Foundation. I am incredibly grateful for the grocery program and the relief that it is currently providing. I couldn't believe that there were additional gift cards to buy Christmas gifts as well as some necessities. Thank you so much for the food and generosity! I am so grateful and look forward to the day when I’m able to give back to this foundation that has helped me through the most difficult time in my life. I will never forget the kindness.”

– A local mother who has benefitted from resources provided by the Mary Lyon Foundation

"Mary Lyon Foundation, I want to start by saying thank you from the bottom of my heart. This offer of a new laptop was so generous and much needed. You guys have always helped out MTRS students and I'm very thankful for not only what you've done for me, but for others too. My family was never going to be able to afford a laptop of such quality as this one you gave me. You were able to not only release my stress, but also the stress of my family. It'll be put to great use at Westfield.”

– Austin, a first-generation college student who received a new laptop for his studies from the Mary Lyon Foundation

“I wanted to send an email thanking you for all your help with the groceries. It has helped tremendously. I appreciate your foundation so much and think you guys are absolutely wonderful! I just wanted you to know personally how much it has helped me"

– A West County resident who has benefitted from Mary Lyon Foundation’s Food Assistance Program

“Thank you so much for your recent donation to the Sanderson Academy Library! Your generous contribution allowed me to add 61 new books to our collection, which will be enjoyed by students for years to come. Our district is very fortunate to have your support.”

– Robin Wilson, Library Manager, Sanderson Academy

Thank you to the Mary Lyon Foundation for purchasing the piano for our music room! I can assure you it has been well loved and appreciated this year! We have used it during general music, chorus, and instrumental lessons. It's played an integral part in our music lives! We are beyond grateful to the Mary Lyon Foundation for giving us this awesome piano.”

– Shelley Roberts, Music Teacher, Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School