TITLE: Program Director
FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, civics and safety
CONTACT: email@example.com, (415) 284-8675
IP TAKE: Argyris is in charge of Bechtel's special projects, which means all their giving that falls outside of their formal education and environment porgrams. It amounts to about $20 million each year.
PROFILE: Marcia Argyris didn't just fall into philanthropy, she felt a calling to it. She was working as a paralegal at a Wall Street law firm and desired to feel more connected to her community. So she switched gears and took a corporate responsibility job at a major bank, applying practical business principles to community issues. (Read S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation: Bay Area Grants).
Argyris joined the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation in 2008 and currently oversees their special initiatives, which is everything that falls outside of their education and environmental giving, which primarily falls into arts and culture and civic giving in the Bay Area.
After receiving a bachelor's degree in political science from Stanford University, Argyris worked at the McKesson Corporation, serving as the foundation president and the vice president for community involvement. At McKesson she led the corporate philanthropy program that focused on providing healthcare to at-risk children. While living in New York City, she also managed corporate responsibility initiatives at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company.
At Bechtel, when it comes to grantmaking, Argyris is looking for programs that strengthen the infrastructure of nonprofit organizations. Since Bechtel plans to spend down its endowment by 2020, she is looking for sustainable nonprofits who will still be serving the community long after Bechtel closes its doors. “Long-term, we hope to have more impact by supporting selected organizations to become sustainable," Argyris shared.
In 2010, Argyris received the Outstanding Foundation Professional award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Over the years, she has served on the boards of the United Way of the Bay Area, the Berkeley Community Fund, and the Campaign for Hope SF Health Task Force. She's also been a featured speaker at Philanthropy Roundtable's Positive Coaching Alliance Events.
Argryis was praised by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for recognizing church members' model of self-reliance. As part of a Philanthropy Roundtable program, foundation leaders visited the Church's “Welfare Square” in Utah to observe how members were helping people help themselves. Argyris said that said that the experience gave her “a different impression of the Mormon Church.” “I think this whole idea of asking what a person receiving services can give back is interesting. Instead of just accepting something and walking away, they are working for it. I think that's very important,” Argyris said.