Staff Spotlight: Marilyn Chism

Staff Spotlight: Marilyn Chism

February 23, 2023

Briefly describe your role at Golden LEAF.
As a Director of Programs, I assist in managing Golden LEAF’s standard grant programs and special initiatives. I also support staff as they conduct due diligence on proposals and monitor projects in Golden LEAF’s priority area of workforce preparedness.

Describe yourself in three words.
Unassuming, compassionate, observant.

What’s your favorite part of your job and why?
I love that I have the opportunity for continual learning about the resources and needs of rural North Carolina and how Golden LEAF’s grantmaking can have the greatest impact. This learning comes through my daily connection with grantee staff who implement projects that Golden LEAF supports to move the economic needle; potential applicants who share the work they are engaged in to uplift rural North Carolina; colleagues in philanthropy; and the Golden LEAF Program Officers who bring so much passion to their work.

What is your favorite pastime outside of work?
I like to take cruises, but since COVID it has been watching baking competitions on the Food Network.

What is your biggest work-related accomplishment within the last year?
Aside from driving 26 miles of the 37-mile-long, 260-curve Rattler for a due diligence visit in western North Carolina, I would say the opportunities that I have to represent Golden LEAF on several panels including the N.C. Chamber Education and Workforce Conference, Appalachian State University’s Rural Community Capacity program, myFutureNC Local Educational Attainment Collaboratives Forum 4, N.C. Idea Ecosystem Summit, and N.C. Project LEAD’s 2022 Socioeconomic Summit.

What motivates you to support long-term economic development in rural, tobacco-dependent, and economically distressed communities?
Having been born and raised in rural Chadbourn, N.C., by parents who were the hard-working poor, I know first-hand what it means to have limited economic mobility. I was afforded the opportunity to pursue my post-secondary goals and to build a career. I am motivated to use my professional and lived experiences to find the intersection between the needs of communities and the funding priorities of the Foundation so that Golden LEAF can invest in projects that move the economic needle.

Learn more about Marilyn.

Stay Connected

Stay connected with Golden LEAF by signing up for our e-newsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.