HEF director Sally Mackin

NEW DIRECTOR — The Healdsburg Education Foundation's new director is seasoned nonprofit worker Sally Mackin.

The Healdsburg Education Foundation (HEF) has a new leader at the helm.

Sally Mackin, a seasoned nonprofit worker, mother of five and businesswoman who’s passionate about education and equity, is the local nonprofit’s new director.

Mackin, who also has a business and finance background, aims to work on increasing fundraising that will directly benefit students as well as maintaining and building upon the organization’s strong foundation.

“The organization has been around for a while so it is not a situation where everything has to be built from scratch, there is a really great foundation here, and so I just really want to build on that and I know that as schools continue to improve and the foundation continues the support we want to increase our support per student that we are providing for the district and make sure that we are in alignment with the goals and the vision of the district,” Mackin said. “That is one of the primary goals I think of the new leadership role here is to make sure that all that happens.”

Mackin is the former executive director of sustainable community and housing nonprofit the Woodlawn Foundation of Alabama.

Mackin said she was interested in pursuing the HEF position in part because of the intersection between education and equity.

“The intersection of education and equity is really a point that I feel like so much the nonprofit and philanthropic work around poverty really kind of stems from that even if you look at affordable housing issues or even if you look at social services and community wellness needs all of those things always kind of tie back to education,” Mackin said.

She noted that this part of the country was also a draw for her to come to Healdsburg.

“I have always loved this part of the country, I’ve been involved in other charities that have formed relationships with different wineries in Napa and Sonoma, so I have been traveling out here for over 20 years and when this position became available and I started conversations the work really interested me,” she said.

A University of Alabama graduate, she is also passionate about education and its relationship with community building and growth.

“I think education and quality of schools is also a leading driving force for economic development … so I think our education and school experiences are really important as we are looking towards the growth of our communities,” she said.

Mackin first got started in this line of work after spending time in a corporate career.

“My formal education and early career were in the corporate world so I worked for large retailers and ended up working in the financial sector. So most of my prior experience is in areas of business and finance,” she explained.

Mackin later became interested in nonprofits and charity work while she juggled raising five kids and managing the household.

“I quit working outside of the home in 2002 and stayed home, I was very busy raising five children and running a household and being a wife of a very busy career guy, but during that time I got very involved in different charitable organizations on their boards and as a volunteer and that really sparked my interest in the philanthropy world and when I had the opportunity to come back to work I wanted to do something a little bit more intentional in my community and so I started doing some consulting around fundraising and real estate and I got connected with the founders of the organization that I ended up running for the last 10 years and just really fell in love with the nonprofit world,” she said.

So what does she look forward to as the new HEF director?

Mackin said she is looking forward to getting to know the community and the opportunity to build upon the work that HEF has already done, such as funding Healdsburg High School’s academic internship program.

“I just think the opportunities are endless. There’s area for HEF to grow, but I also think there are a lot of opportunities for HEF to be more collaborative,” Mackin said.

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