“Our job is to repair the world.”
Marzy’s leadership philosophy can be summarized in her question: “Why believe something if not to make the world a better place?” Today her leadership is seen throughout the community as she works to make South Bend a better place for all.
A New York native, Marzy came to South Bend in 1973 when her husband was offered a job teaching at the University of Notre Dame. Not wanting to be one of those “wives who sit at home” and wishing to put into use her master’s degree in Urban Planning, Marzy took a job with the City of South Bend Area Planning Commission. Of her early work, Marzy notes, that “people didn’t know what to do with me because I wasn’t a secretary.” Upon leaving her position with the city, Marzy joined the YWCA North Central Indiana as the Director of Development. During this time, Marzy helped with the YWCA’s transition from providing housing to single women to providing a shelter for women who are victims of domestic abuse.
After leaving the YWCA, Marzy spent 21 years working as the Associate Director of the Madison Center before becoming the Executive Director of Resource Development at Ivy Tech Community College-North Central where she stayed for four years. Marzy then returned to the YWCA as the Director of Grants Administration where she stayed until retirement. Marzy’s work with federal, state, and local governments as well as private foundations helped support the women being served through the domestic violence shelter and its supported housing programs.
A member of Temple Beth-El, Marzy embraced reform Judaism as an adult. After the temple’s rabbi resigned, Marzy trained to serve as a Lay person to provide Jewish services where necessary so that the congregation would not be without services. Marzy continues to serve as a member of the Board of the United Religious Community of St. Joseph County and the Kurt and Tessye Simon Foundation of Temple Beth-El. She is an active member of the Interfaith Women’s Dialogue Group and also sits on the Commission of Social Action, the advocacy arm of the Reform Jewish Movement. Even in retirement, Marzy continues to be an active presence throughout the community. She ascribes to the belief that it is “our job to repair the world” and devotes much of her time to repairing her section of the world.
Marzy describes herself as a “very liberal person” and has gotten more involved in social justice work and “taking on more of an advocacy role” in her retirement. She is a member of the League of Women Voters and thinks “it’s important to register people to vote.” She believes that “education is key,” and one important way of providing education is through the process of registering others to vote.
Marzy’s work throughout the community has been recognized with Memorial Hospital’s Spirit of Women Award for Community Service, the Master Locksmith Award from the South Bend Human Rights Commission, Temple Beth-El’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Kurt and Tessye Simon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.
Marzy’s advice to herself and others is to “speak up. Don’t go with the flow.”
Information compiled from oral history collected by Michiana Women Leaders, Inc.
Marzy was a 2019 Celebrating Michiana Women Leaders honoree.