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Mary Jan and Paul Bancroft

Before founding Make Way for Books 15 years ago, Mary Jan Bancroft earned a B.S. degree in Elementary Education, a M.S. degree in Special Education, and a Ph.D. in Experiential Education. Before moving to Tucson in 1997, she was a professor in the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Reno and taught courses in special education, assessment and elementary education. Mary Jan’s passion is fueled by an idea expressed in one of her favorite quotes: “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution.”

Paul D. Bancroft earned his B. A. from the University of Nevada, his J. D., with honors, from the University of San Francisco and his LL.M in Taxation from Georgetown University. He is licensed to practice in Nevada, California, Arizona, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Paul is currently Of Counsel at Lionel, Sawyer, & Collins, where his practice focuses on state and local taxation.

Mary Jan first learned the value of volunteerism from her father who was on the board of directors of a YMCA and contributed to their church. But becoming a mother sparked her initiative to use her own skills and resources to help other children. Mary Jan said that “having two children and realizing they had everything they could ever need or want and being able to personally provide that for other children” is what drove her to volunteer. Paul and Mary Jan have two daughters: Corinne, who just completed her third year as a teacher at St. Gregory and will continue on to graduate studies in Santa Barbara and Claire, who is traveling Europe to do children’s theater programming at U.S. military bases.

In 1997 Mary Jan and Paul moved to Tucson from Reno, Nevada, and founded Make Way for Books (MWFB). In 2008 MWFB was selected to be an Investee of SVP Tucson. This relationship and common focus created a lasting partnership between SVP and the Bancrofts, with the pair ultimately becoming SVP Partners in May 2013.

Athletic types, the Bancrofts are likely to be found outside in their free time. Mary Jan is an avid runner and recently completed a half marathon in February. And whenever Paul has the chance, you may spot him with his daughters, or a buddy, rock climbing in the nearby mountains.