Mary McCormick has been ahead of the curve for a long time. As president of the Fund for the City of New York, she has championed the use of technology to improve the lives of New Yorkers, and routinely draws on her impressive background to come up with innovative ways to bridge the gaps between public and private enterprise in the city.
“[Regarding] the use of technology to get better outcomes for families, their children, and in disenfranchised communities, we have a long way to go,” McCormick said. “The new technology can be a powerful distributor of quality information, and what separates so many of us is having access to the information we need to be the best parents we can be, to be the best students we can be.”
While her background includes working under several different mayoral administrations and holding many prominent positions throughout the city, McCormick said that one of the most important experiences she has had in her past professional work was her time as a public schoolteacher.
“Probably the most formative experience was when I graduated from Radcliffe and went to teach in East New York, and I ended up in the school with the third lowest reading scores in the city,” she said. “I was really the beneficiary of that experience. [It showed me that] as hard as it is to get public policy enacted or changed, the real measure of our success is successful implementation on the front lines.”
McCormick said it is that perspective that led her to the understanding that the Fund can best help the city and its residents by seeing initiatives through from start to finish.
“Every day I’m reminded how much I don’t know, how really complex and important these issues are, and how much there is that we really need to know to do it better,” McCormick said. “So many people come to them anew, and they think, ‘Oh, they’re just missing X or just missing Y.’ What we do here does represent to the broader world what’s possible.”