Mary N. Robbins was nurtured and inspired from a young age by her Mom’s community activism and inclusive spirit. Mary’s many years of community engagement and organizing date back to her participation as a data observer/ collector for a MIT sponsored Acid Rain study as a middle schooler and volunteering with Ted Kennedy’s presidential campaign as a sophomore in high school.
Following college and graduate school Mary spent 10 years at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. Tasked originally with working with community groups to reduce toxins in both wastewater and storm water, Mary helped bring the “Don’t Dump, Drains to Boston Harbor” plaque project to New England from Seattle and establish several community-based used oil education and collection centers (at the time the dumping of used car oil into storm drains was a significant issue). As the Policy and Planning Manager for the MWRA Executive Office, Mary led the development of mitigation measures that would ensure fair and consistent treatment of community impacts related to MWRA construction projects, wrote many staff summaries in collaboration with staff who were presenting to the Board and authored MWRA’s first 5 year Report to the Governor and the Legislature.
Most recently (Dec. 2012 to Jan. 2022), Mary worked on behalf of the Worcester Area Mission Society to develop socially-based community programs and events including, 1) Summer CUBS, a collaboration with Clark University and Woodland Academy that offers innovative and effective summer learning to Woodland Academy students; 2) ReachOut Worcester, a collaboration with Worcester Fellowship and Thursday Cafe that introduces teens to the subject of homelessness in ways that promote understanding, respect and opportunities for affecting positive change; and 3) the Sustainable Massachusetts Conference Event Series aimed at breaking down silos within the Massachusetts social welfare system that included an emphasis on supporting service providers’ own mental health in order to be the best advocate possible for their clients.
For several years Mary has been passionately and actively involved as a volunteer in the work of Matthew25 Worcester, Habitat for Humanity MW/GW and Worcester Fellowship/ Thursday Café. In addition to continuing her work with these organizations she is now also supporting the settlement of an Afghan family. Mary and her husband are parents to four children including a foster son, and recently adopted a dog from Mississippi.