Maura McGinnis Gibney and Pat McGinnis.
Dear CANHR supporters and friends,
As I begin my tenure as the new Executive Director, I want to first express my appreciation to our Board of Directors for the confidence they have shown in me to lead CANHR into the future. I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, share a bit about how I came to this role, and my history with the organization.
I began my career at CANHR helping my mother, Pat McGinnis, fold fundraising letters when the organization was starting out in a small San Francisco office. Throughout my childhood I joined her at Family Council meetings in Santa Clara, visited Sacramento legislator offices to push for systemic reform, and attended legal services and Ombudsman training all over California. Many long-time CANHR Elder Law Conference attendees have watched me grow up, working the registration table throughout my teenage years, well into college and beyond.
After graduating with my Masters in Social Work I worked in a variety of non-profit environments, including after school programs for at-risk youth, affordable housing for adults with disabilities, managing a Family Resource Center for caregivers of children with developmental delays, and program development for children with developmental disabilities. I have established new system navigation programs for parents of children with disabilities, created a developmental screening program to connect young children with early intervention services, and expanded community education to link underserved children and adults to vital services.
I have been fortunate to work for truly wonderful people and organizations over the years, which shaped my experience in grant writing, fund development, program design and management, team building, community relations and quality assurance. But my first mentor was my mother, who taught me that “grant writing is like a recipe, follow it and give them everything they ask for,” and who instilled the importance of striving for justice and fighting for those who cannot always fight for themselves.
It was through my work with individuals with disabilities that I realized the intersection of CANHR’s policy advocacy with the local community’s need for improved service systems. Though I worked for years for CANHR on special projects, I joined the staff full time as the Director of Organizational Development two years ago, and have since garnered new funding to expand our educational campaigns and materials, upgrade our technology, and improve our data collection. While many years ago, it was my intention to strike out on a different path from CANHR, I am grateful for the opportunity to return to where I began.
While my professional development outside of CANHR helped me to build the skills I need to lead our organization into its next phase, I also carry a deep understanding of the foundation on which it was built, and its core values. In addition to being a leader and trailblazer in the world of long term care and elder justice, my mother instilled in me a passion for advocacy, change, and for working to make life better for everyone, regardless of where they live, who they love, or where they are from.
As we enter CANHR’s 40th year, It is my goal to keep that same passion and drive that inspired my mother to start this organization well in mind while working to improve and expand our impact. I appreciate your continued support of CANHR and look forward to sharing news about our work with you all.
Maura McGinnis Gibney, MSW
California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform