Michelle Rone Cooper

Former Executive Director of the McAuley Ministries Foundation

Michele Rone Cooper’s leadership of the grantmaking organization she started in 2008 has long-reaching positive effects among the many regional organizations supported by McAuley Ministries Foundation. As McAuley Ministries’ first executive director, Michele was responsible for the start-up of the foundation where she managed the foundation’s annual grant-making budget of $3.7 million. During her tenure, McAuley Ministries awarded a portfolio of 820 grants and community support totaling more than $36.3 million to promote health and wellness, community and economic development, education, capacity building, and legacy programs of the Sisters of Mercy. Michele is our sixth Star as we celebrate our 21st year.

 #BCNM21stars for #BCNM21years 

Nonprofit inspiration: “I am inspired by the passion and commitment of nonprofit leaders. They often work long hours, some with little financial reward compared to the private sector, because they want to make a difference in the lives of individuals and the larger community.

Recommended reading: “A small book, A Life God Rewards by Bruce Wilkinson, outlines a spiritual basis for how we use our gifts and talents and why what we do is important.”

Her two top role models: Sr. Patricia McCann, a Sister of Mercy and one of the founders of the McAuley Ministries Foundation. Sr. Patricia is a bold and courageous voice for social justice and challenges us to work toward the common good. Karris Jackson, COO of the POISE Foundation is also inspiring to me. Karris is a quiet presence, but I find that she always has powerful insights about how to strengthen and sustain communities. She has championed the wisdom of providing grant support to grassroots organizations.

Wish: “My wish is that the next generation will harness all of the marvelous tools available to them — data, social media, technology — to engage the very people whose lives they hope to impact. Communities know what they need to move forward, and it can be powerful when the nonprofit sector becomes a partner WITH the community.”

Next adventures? “I love exploring cities, their culture, museums, and restaurants. I probably will not travel until 2022, so I’m looking forward to post-pandemic adventures.”