We are devastated over the passing of our trustee and friend Mary Rangel Hipolito. Mary had served on our Board of Trustees since 2015 and was chair of our Poverty to Prosperity Committee. She was thoughtful, kind, and generous, with a true heart for people.

We are inspired by Mary’s extensive work throughout the community, in particular her tireless support for migrant families. Mary’s own family had lived and worked as migrants between Michigan and Florida for several years of her childhood until they decided to stay in Grant. For well over a decade, Mary had championed and led Farmworker Appreciation Day, an event that celebrates the contributions of migrant farmworkers. “I wish more people realized how important these workers are to farmers and to you and I,” she told us last year. “We need them, and it’s important they know how much we appreciate them.” Mary had also recently joined the Our Next 75 donor group and shared that she hoped to create a fund one day to support migrant families.

While Mary did not seek recognition for her work, it was honored recently at the annual Newaygo County Influential Women in Leadership luncheon where she received the Emerging Leader Award. The award recognized her support and advocacy for farmworker families, her board service, and her work for District Health Department #10 as a WIC program clerk technician.

“A person like Mary is an example to us all, and she will be deeply missed by her Community Foundation family,” said Shelly Kasprzycki, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “What we learned from her, and will continue to carry forth, is the true spirit of philanthropy:  kindness, compassion, and delivering resources to make a community a better place.”

Mary’s leadership, passion, and kindness was truly inspiring and will be sorely missed by all of us. We extend our deepest sympathies to Mary’s family and loved ones.

Read more about Mary and Farmworker Appreciation Day here and in a 2015 story here.