In September 2018, Will2Walk brought on part-time Executive Director Mary Vandenberg to assist with furthering the Will2Walk mission of keeping those with spinal cord injuries active, fit and independent.
Prior to joining the Will2Walk team, Mary worked in the nonprofit sector for ten years consulting with the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, Never Again Foundation, Immersive Teaching STEAM Academy and Department of Defense Office of Military and Family Programs in Washington D.C.
“Since I started, what has surprised me most is how great the need is in our community for programs and services that support individuals with physical disabilities, specifically spinal cord injuries,” reflects Mary. “I’ve also learned just how few people understand how dramatically a person’s life changes once they are impacted by a spinal cord injury—literally every aspect of their life is changed forever.”
As part of her role, Mary has represented Will2Walk at community events, medical symposiums and disability fairs and views collaboration as a win-win for both the participating organizations and the entire community.
“We are building strong relationships with other area nonprofit program providers in the state and this collaboration has allowed us to expand our programs and services,” notes Mary. “Currently, we are partnering with Ability 360, AZ Adaptive Sports and Peoria Parks & Rec to provide programming to youth and adults in the West Valley.”
Mary earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Golden Gate University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland. In 2018, she graduated from the prestigious American Express Nonprofit Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. She is now using those skills to guide the Will2Walk Board of Directors in strategic planning and lead monthly Board meetings.
“I am proud to be part of a group of individuals who truly believe in their mission and are dedicated to making a positive impact in the individual lives of others,” comments Mary. “Our Board of Directors works as a strong cohesive team focused on the needs of the SCI community, and I look forward to working closely with them to develop a statewide SCI Outreach Program and offer programs and services to youth.”
“The amount of passion and dedication that Mary has brought to Will2Walk in her short time with us is inspiring,” notes President Rich Hamill. “She has pursued and secured an amazing amount of grants that are helping us build programs and continue to impact even more in the SCI community—we are grateful!”
Mary lives in Mesa, Arizona with her husband and two teenage daughters. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.