Judy’s Comments

Mary Robinson Founded Good Grief - Page 2

Page 2 of 2

How do you spend your time and what are your biggest challenges?

I now spend the majority of my time fund raising and speaking and advocating on behalf of grieving children and families. 

 Tell us a bit about the composition of your board and how has the board evolved since you launched Good Grief. For example....is it bigger or smaller now, have you set specific expectations that you have for board members and have these changed over time, what is the biggest contribution made by the board to the success of the organization? How do you select board members? 

We started with a core group of four people on the board serving as our officers in December 2003 when we incorporated.  We then grew to nine board members in 2004 and 2005 and currently we have 14 board members with the goal being to grow to 20 members.   Our board started out as a typical founding or working board of a small grassroots nonprofit.  Everyone was very hands on and helped with everything – from program development to fund raising to creating a business and marketing plan, to building the infrastructure of the organization.    There was no staff so the board was truly a working board.  It is still a working board but is beginning to evolve from a typical founding board to more of a governing and fund raising board responsible for financial and legal oversight of the organization and raising money 

Board members are asked to contribute time and money to the organization and help open doors to additional funding from corporations, individuals and foundations.  All board members serve on at least one committee and we have 100% of our board members contributing financially.   There are a number of areas of expertise we always look to have filled on the board – that includes legal, financial, marketing, strategic planning and human resources 

We select board members now based on their ability to contribute expertise in the above mentioned areas, their ability and willingness to be ambassadors for our mission, and their ability to help us raise money 

What is the key to the success of Good Grief? 

I think the main key to our success is that the model works.  Families tell other families, volunteers tell their friends, and people want to come here – whether for support, to volunteer or to work.  But really the key to our success are the people who make Good Grief possible – our volunteers, donors, staff and board 

What advice can you share with other women either currently helping lead a non-profit or thinking of starting one? 

I think running a nonprofit or any business is a 24/7 commitment. My advice would be to be sure you are passionate about your mission and take care of yourself.  It is easy to get burned out.  There is no end to the need – no matter the cause – and you are never done. 

When you are not working how do you spend your time? What are your interests and passions? 

I love hiking, reading, music, yoga, ballroom dancing and spending time with my friends and their children.  I am currently attending school for a Masters Degree in Applied Psychoanalysis which grew out of my fascination and interest in what makes people tick, child development and family systems, why human beings suffer and how we can perhaps suffer less. 

Loving Listeners Needed 
If you love kids and teens and want a make a difference in their lives please consider becoming a Good Grief facilitator. Many of the volunteers tell us the training and this work has changed their lives and that it is the most rewarding thing they do. The role of the volunteer facilitator is to provide a safe, caring and sharing environment where grieving children can express themselves through words, art, drama, writing or physical play.   Required skills include a loving and listening heart and the capacity to be with children in pain without trying to fix it.   The commitment is to volunteer every other week for approximately four hours on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening. Volunteers attend a 30 hour training. 

Good Grief support groups meet every other week all year long.  Groups are for available for children ages 3-18, young adults 18-30 and for parents and guardians. Interested individuals or families may contact Good Grief at 908-522-1999 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.  Good Grief is a privately funded not-for-profit organization.  

You can reach Mary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Monday, 27 June 2022
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