Lucky for us, Mary Bright calls Cleveland home. Despite having lived in Minnesota, Texas, New York, D.C., Nebraska and Wisconsin, Mary has rooted herself in our region and has been an SVP Partner almost since our inception twelve years ago. Our resident sage, Mary brings her good-natured, no-nonsense, pragmatic, irreverent, analytical, curious and compassionate self to all that she does. And she doesn’t hesitate to do the heavy lifting along the way.
Her willingness to rise to a challenge began early, as the oldest of four sisters and a cousin her family “adopted” while Mary was still a teenager. Perhaps it was this early awareness of the value and comfort of home that contributed to Mary’s passion for addressing family homelessness among other social issues. But before Mary turned to nonprofits, she attended Georgetown University Law Center and served as a lawyer for twenty-five years including as in-house counsel for both TRW and University Hospitals. And before that, she was a philosophy major at Manhattanville College in New York. Clearly, Mary has been well-trained to ask probing questions and get to the heart of any matter. This has been to SVP’s advantage both locally and internationally.
On a local level, Mary has contributed her time and expertise to almost every SVP Cleveland initiative available to her from leading two Investee engagements (for Youth Opportunities Unlimited and E CITY) to coordinating educational programming, serving on the board of directors, contributing to strategic planning, and chairing the bigBANG! 2013 Fast Pitch coaching team.
Mary has also been an immense resource for SVP’s international organization (formerly known as SVPI and now known as SVP Network). A past president of the SVPI board, Mary just attended her last meeting of the board after nine consecutive years! During these nine years, Mary has seen the network expand to its current 31 members, its governing body grow in strength and diversity, and its willingness to share data and work collaboratively become the rule rather than the exception.
Mary loves how SVP allows her to integrate her head and heart, to make friends throughout the network, and to appreciate the difference SVP has made in nonprofits over time. She has also been able to enjoy these benefits with her husband, Jim, a fellow SVP Partner. Although Mary sees herself as only “part-way through life’s journey” and “looks forward to the wisdom she’ll have at 75,” we know better.SVP Cleveland and SVP Network are all the stronger for Mary’s sage advice; we hope to continue to benefit from her wisdom for decades to come.