The Buck Stops Here

It takes a bold individual to step up and make a personal investment in a burgeoning nonprofit organization, one that wasn’t sure exactly how it was going to garner the necessary financial backing to support the transformative programs that exist today. Yes, The ACE Project is very fortunate to have a core group of bold individuals who have been with us since our launch; those who breathed life into the ACE team and allowed us the opportunity to build and grow. There is so much passion, joy, and love-love expressed by those involved in our programs, we can’t forget to acknowledge those same positive attributes in our donors!

One particularly bold individual, Ms. Marilyn Curran, decided to invest more than just her dollars, though. She donated her time when she served as our organization’s first board chair; she donated her resources when she provided thought leadership on how to structure programs, engage parents, and rally the Riverdale community. As the 20-year school nurse at Washington Elementary School, Ms. Curran understood the connection between the lack of dedicated time for the children to play, the below-average test scores, and the behavioral disruptions inside and outside the classroom; she recognized a need to engage kids through a program that benefited their physical, social-emotional, and academic well-being as well as their future outlook. We had the honor of catching up with Ms. Curran to learn why she love-loves being on the ACE team.

ACE: Tell us about your passion.

Ms. Curran: I discovered my passion for tennis when my children were in elementary school. I joined a tennis club, made friends, and played nearly every day! Soon after, my friends and I started going to pro tournaments (including the U.S. Open) and learned everything about the top pros in the game.

ACE: How did you decide to support The ACE Project?

Ms. Curran: Supporting The ACE Project was a natural fit. Working as a school nurse for 20 years in Riverdale, I have seen the need for programming and resources in the community. These kids don’t have a lot. The ACE Project develops activities for kids IN their neighborhood.

In addition to tennis, I’m passionate about education, health equity, and my family. My grandchildren (Kellan age 6, Nieve age 4, and Roman age 2) are a focus of love and joy in my life.

ACE: What do you believe is the most exciting update so far in our short history?

Ms. Curran: That we have been able to expand the after school program to multiple schools in multiple cities.


ACE: What program have you felt most strongly about?

Ms. Curran: As someone who has worked much of my career in under-resourced communities, the program at Washington Elementary captures my heart. The after school program at Washington is where my heart is. Even though I’ve worked at multiple schools in Dolton/Riverdale, Washington is my home base.

ACE: Why is philanthropy important to you in your life? 

Ms. Curran: Because I feel that I have been so blessed, and it’s good to give back.

We are so grateful to all our donors who continue to bring our mission to life through your generosity! Your boldness to take action and dedication to help the youth, families, and communities we serve is what being on the ACE team is all about!