Mary Mathew serves as NCECF’s Collaboration and Policy Leader, where she spearheads collaboration across systems to advance a shared vision and course of action that maximizes impact for young children and families. This includes leading the policy and data arms of the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Initiative, partnering with NC Child on the EarlyWell Initiative, and supporting the collective efforts of NC Campaign for Grade-Level Reading communities.
Mary previously served as Director of Program Planning and Partner Engagement at the East Durham Children’s Initiative, a place-based nonprofit working to build a pipeline of opportunities for children and families. Her leadership role included strategic planning, program development, evaluation, and establishing partnerships with multi-sector organizations and community members working towards the shared goal of college and career readiness for youth, starting from birth. Together, they supported family engagement, school readiness, and academic outcomes among students.
Prior to EDCI, Mary’s experiences include empowering children with different abilities as a school-based Occupational Therapist, evaluating a psychosocial curriculum used with children in Malawi, and advocating for youth tobacco use prevention and policy change across North Carolina. Mary has always cared about social justice and the well-being of children, particularly those furthest from opportunity. She believes listening, establishing trusting relationships, and redistributing power and resources are foundational to this work.
Mary holds two Bachelor degrees from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and a MSPH in Maternal and Child Health from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is originally from Canada but is now proud to call Durham home.