I have exchanged emails and phone conversations with Andrea Taylor over the last several years regarding Della Hardman Day. Della Hardman was an art professor, Gazette columnist and keeper of the East Chop Lighthouse, among other things. She first came to the Vineyard as a three-year-old child in 1925. The three-day event to honor her is held on the last weekend of July, which culminates at the East Chop Light on Sunday. Andrea is Della Hardman’s daughter and the organizer of the event.
I finally met Andrea last week at her home on Park street. She purchased the land for the home in 1997, and built it soon thereafter. It’s a stunning house in an understated way. It reflects Andrea’s deep love of the Vineyard and her mother’s artistic flair. It’s a contemporary rendition of a Camp Ground gingerbread house painted in earthy tones with lots of light and wall space for her mother’s art and other fine paintings.
Andrea’s career is equally fascinating. She graduated from Boston University in 1968 with a degree in journalism. Her first job was with the Boston Globe where she covered urban issues, an interesting beat in the late 1960s.
After taking time off for marriage and three children, she re-entered the workplace in the nonprofit world. For thirty years she worked at the Ford Foundation, as an independent consultant, and as head of a foundation in Washington, D.C. During this period, she distributed more than a billion dollars in grants. The central focus of her work has been to use the media and the arts to achieve social change in the United States, and democratic change in autocratic countries throughout the world. For the last eight years she has directed Microsoft’s philanthropic efforts in the United States and Canada.
Three years ago I reported that Al Van Ranst had made a major career change, moving from his job as partner in a national accounting firm to become the chief financial officer of the Boston Foundation. The Boston Foundation is a nonprofit think tank working to solve social problems in the Boston metropolitan area and Massachusetts generally. That change has worked well both for Al and the Boston Foundation. Al was recently named CFO of the Year by the Boston Business Journal in the nonprofit category. Our country is a better place because of the hard work of people like Andrea Taylor and Al Van Ranst.
Finally, a blast from the past: last month I caught up with Jane Slocum Deland. Jane, as you might remember, was one of the best women to play tennis at the ECTC, capturing the women’s singles prize for the first time at age 15 in 1962. Smith College honored her athletic ability three years ago by naming her to their Athletic Hall of Fame. Jane currently resides with husband Mike Deland in Washington, D.C., where she serves as the special assistant to the president of Wesley Theological Seminary. She and Mike have three children and one grandchild. Sadly for us, they summer across the sound in Marion.
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