Cathy Bernard’s name will forever be synonymous with “giving Ivymount a home.” In 1984 she was introduced to Shari Gelman, Ivymount’s founding director, whose dream was to have all the programs consolidated into one location.
Shari had the dream. Cathy had the business skills and the connections to make it happen. Over a period of years, she helped negotiate construction costs to renovate a former Montgomery County public school, appealed to the county for funds, navigated several successful bond bills through the State, and personally contributed to the first and second phases of the building project.
Cathy joined the Board in 1992, serving as President from 2003 – 2009. Following that, she never lost her interest in Ivymount and brought along others to witness the “amazing things that were happening” at the school. She brought in Montgomery County officials to see what was going on, she continued to advise on capital projects, she attended every gala, graduation, art show, and other events. “It always makes me cry that graduation is a pretty amazing thing, because it’s not only for the kids, but it’s also for the families and here they are. They get a certificate and they’re so proud of themselves,” she reflected.
If Ivymount had a need, Cathy had a way to take care of it. She truly became part of the fabric of Ivymount and, to this day, steps up to help in any way she can. Inspired by the students, Cathy said, “It just amazes me how it just plugs into your heart, and you say, you know, they can do it, we can do it, you can do it. Everybody can do it if we work together.”
Read about Cathy’s partner in getting things done, Ivymount founding director Shari Gelman.
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