A long time ago, likely around 1986, at the urging of two friends, Mary Catherine Lamb attended a retreat hosted by MRG Foundation. The retreat was for women to help them deal with challenges around money. Mary Catherine had recently inherited some money after her mother passed away. She was confused about what it would mean in her life.
She attended MRG’s retreat and met women who helped her think through what having this inheritance meant to her. At the retreat, Mary Catherine learned that she controlled the money, not the other way around. It was at this retreat that Mary Catherine was introduced to MRG and how MRG supported the issues she cared so deeply about -- peace, LGBT rights and social justice.
Mary Catherine (known to many as MC) was an amazing quilter. One of her quilts is hanging at the Portland Art Museum. She was a long-time volunteer at KBOO radio and worked on anti-gay ballot measures. She was also an avid poker player and vintage clothing collector.
When Mary Catherine died in August, we learned that she left 5% of her assets to MRG. We received the final payment on her gift this month.
These kinds of gifts are always bittersweet. They make such a difference in the lives of activists who remain behind to carry on the work, but they are always the result of a loss of people who are so important to our communities.
I never had the good fortune to know Mary Catherine personally. But I know that her creativity, generosity of spirit and community service have been a source of great inspiration to her large circle of friends and family.
Mary Catherine’s gift will support grassroots groups around the state fighting for justice.
You can learn more about Mary Catherine’s fascinating life via this story on Oregon Live: http://blog.oregonlive.com/lifestories/2009/09/life_story_mary_catherine_mc_l.html