The Marion Institute, a nonprofit organization that has worked to foster positive social change since 1993, recently announced the selection of Robyn Branco as its new executive director.
Branco fills the nearly two-year vacancy created by the departure of former Executive Director Janet Milkman. During the interim, the Marion Institute team stepped up to carry on, Branco especially. A team member for the last half decade, Branco offers the nonprofit more than 16 years of development, fundraising, communications and marketing experience.
“Having been at Marion Institute as long as I have, I was able to provide guidance and leadership,” said Branco, who, until her appointment, was still acting program and development director. “I served as a liaison with our board and committees, and I started working a lot more closely with our founders.”
“We are very pleased to announce this appointment,” said Michael Baldwin, Marion Institute co-founder and president of the board of directors. Noting her commitment to the core values and mission of the Marion Institute, Baldwin said he is confident that Branco embodies “a capacity to strategically guide (the Marion Institute) forward in developing relationships that will allow us to broaden our impact.”
“I add value from a cultural perspective… I see myself acting as a connector,” said Branco, citing her Portuguese upbringing in New Bedford. “There’s been amazing work happening at the Marion Institute for years. But our programs have been in silos in the past, when in reality they are all intertwined … We’re working to be very deliberate with how we execute programming, to have the most impact in the communities we serve.”
A New Bedford native, she worked for a time in nonprofit development and event coordination in both San Francisco and Washington, D.C., before returning to her roots. The call to serve brought Branco back to New Bedford in 2007.
“People always talk about how their kids graduate and leave the area for better opportunities,” said Marion Institute Marketing Director Patti Rego. “But we don’t often hear the stories of people who come back, devote themselves to making their hometown and surrounding community a better place, and then rise to a distinguished position like executive director of a 25-year old institution.”
Recognized by her team for her passion and forward-thinking, Branco’s appointment comes as no surprise to the extended Marion Institute community.