January's MVP: Mary Noonan

In the Vanguard Mary Noonan sets the bar for Women in Philanthropy.

In the Vanguard Mary Noonan sets the bar for Women in Philanthropy.Since retiring to Hilton Head in 1995 fol- lowing a 30-year career in public relations, Mary Noonan has certainly made her mark on the community through her involvement in a number of organizations.

Noonan is a founding member of Women in Philanthropy, a fund of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. She has also served as an advisory board member from 2003 to present, as advisory board chair in 2008-09 and as the education chair from 2003-08.

Women in Philanthropy is one of the more than 200 funds of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, initiated in 2003 as an outgrowth of several focus groups the foundation conducted to see how they might more effectively foster women’s interests and giving in the community.

An advisory board of seven members was convened to lay the groundwork for the organization and to recruit 100 founding members to contribute $1,000 each for three years, thus forming the base endowment of $300,000.

That goal was achieved in a little more than one year. The organization has since grown to about 170 members at varying giving levels, the advisory board expanded to 11 members, and the endowment increased to nearly $500,000 at the end of fiscal year 2008.

The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has grown to more than 200 members, at varying giving levels, and the endowment has increased to nearly $500,000 at the end of fiscal year 2008.

The Legacy Society is the foundation’s way of recognizing those individuals who have committed to making the foundation a major beneficiary of their estates.

“I personally have found that working closely with the foundation staff and being knowledgeable about the foundation’s funds and programs has given me confidence as a Legacy donor that my estate funds will work in perpetuity for the betterment of the greater Hilton Head community,” said Noonan. “I encourage others to consider involvement and planned giving as a way of leaving their legacy as well.”

A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Noonan is a 1964 graduate of Beloit College with bachelor’s degree in biology and education and a 1966 graduate of Ohio State University with a master’s degree in counseling psychology and student personnel administration.

She and her husband Jim resided in Columbus, Ohio, until his death in 1994.

Noonan now resides in Port Royal Plantation. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, entertaining and cooking, music, theater, Buckeye football, Mahjongg, Sudoku puzzles, and, most of all, time with friends, family and her two chocolate poodles, Chipper and Chelsea.

In addition to her role with Women in Philanthropy, Noonan has been an active member of the Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island since 1996, serving as a board member from 2000-08 and as president in 2006-07.

She is a member of the Women’s Association of Hilton Head Island, has served as an usher at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and enjoys hosting dinners for show casts.

In recognition of her many community contributions, in the past Noonan has been named Rotarian of the Year and received the Mayor’s Citizen of the Month award.

“Mary has provided a constant source of support and inspiration to Women in Philanthropy, the Community Foundation and numerous area nonprofits,” said Carolyn Torgersen, vice president for marketing & communications for the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. “Her leadership has left an indelible mark on our community.”

Visit cf-lowcountry.org to learn more about local philanthrophy.