NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley’s Board and Staff would like to acknowledge the passing of our former Board President, Gail Chauvin on September 13th. Gail served as President from our founding in 1987 to 2003. She had a tremendous impact in shaping our mission and our early successes.
Gail was born in Woonsocket and worked in the City as a Social Worker for many years with the RI Department of Human Services. When Rhode Island’s affordable housing crisis started to take shape in the mid-1980s and housing costs started to rapidly increase, Gail chaired a local task force to propose community solutions to address Woonsocket’s growing affordable housing problems. One of the task force’s primary recommendations was to incorporate a nonprofit community development corporation (CDC). This recommendation eventually became NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley.
Gail served as our first Board President. She led our organization through its early development and growth. She was a great leader, who often said “affordable housing and community development were not for the faint of heart!” Gail was honest to a fault, compassionate and stubborn – in the very finest sense of the word! Qualities absolutely necessary for the leadership of a nonprofit CDC. She was deeply committed to serving her community and addressing its most pressing issues. She has made a tremendous impact in her hometown.
Gail treasured her family and friends and lived life to the max. She also saw the important role that affordable housing plays in supporting family life, building community wealth and how it provides a critical foundation for children’s academic success and wellness. Gail was a positive and patient leader who always pushed the organization forward, despite the setbacks that are a normal part of the affordable housing business.
We are indebted to her thoughtful and steady leadership at a critical time in our history. Our condolences to her husband Roger and her sons Eric and Tim and their families, her sister Kathleen and her many, many friends.
To read Gail’s obituary, click HERE.