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 Ann Marsden Irvin

September 11, 1934 - April 18, 2008

  "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."


Ann M. Irvin lived a full and enriching life with integrity, character, spirit and an abiding commitment to youth, family and community development. Her heart was big enough to hold many.

Ann was the devoted daughter to the late Dr. Charles and Mrs. Ruby Irvin; dear cousins of Dr. Robert and Christine Irvin, Kimberley, Paul, Will and Delia Bishop, Dorothy Marie and Eugene Wilkie, Sondra and James Trent, B. A. and Delores Grubbs, andothers.  Beloved by her extended “family in service” at the Nassau County Youth Board and friends/ colleagues throughout the health and human service community.

Having earned her M.S.W. Degree from Smith College in 1960, Ms. Irvin was a New York State Certified Social Worker and a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. In both her professional employment, as well as her voluntary efforts, Ann displayed an unshakable commitment to the welfare of youth and families throughout her thirty-five year tenure in Nassau County Government.  She served as the Executive Director of the Nassau County Youth Board from 1972-2000. Committed as she was to the effective collaboration of children, youth and family development resources, Ms. Irvin often became involved in negotiations with various public and private agencies to initiate and sustain a proactive and premier youth and family development network.  Prior to that, her life’s work spanned from being a child welfare worker in her home state of Virginia, to working with children, youth and families in California, to launching innovative staff development and training at the Nassau County Probation Department. 

Her deep sense of humility did not allow her to taut her accomplishments, but there were many…Newsday’s “Everyday Hero”; President, Association of New York State Youth Bureaus; NASW Social Worker of the Year; New York State Senate, Women of Distinction; leadership in the Nassau HIV Commission; Treasurer, Community Advocates and recipient of many statewide and local awards for her leadership, commitment and life’s work.

Her gentle spirit and deep sense of commitment and passion allowed her to bring people together.  She taught by example; always willing to lend an ear, offer a hand or open her heart. Her love for animals and nature were no different.  Ann was a mentor and teacher to many; empowering them to find their way and “pay it forward.”  She fervently believed in a philosophy of service that was: proactive vs. reactive; teaching vs. treating; inclusive vs. exclusive; developed with the community rather than imposed and focused on assets of people and their communities as opposed to their deficits.   Further, Ann understood the need to actively engage families as active partners in the development of programs and policies that impact their lives and facilitated many meaningful and lasting opportunities for this to happen throughout the region and state. 

Though she passed away in 2008 after a gallant, ten-year battle with breast cancer, she remains a powerful voice for youth, families, and communities.


The Ann M. Irvin Memorial Children, Youth and Family Development Fund is established to provide services to local community-based, not-for-profit agencies that are:
• Grounded in the Principles of Family Support (below)
• Informed by evidence-based practice
• Designed in collaboration with families
• Meet a real and current need/opportunity within the community
• Built to last – sustainable

Principles of Family Support

  • These principles promote respect for individual families and cultures and a commitment to working with, not for, families to achieve their goals.
  • Staff and families work together in relationships based on equality and respect.
  • Staff-enhance families’ capacity to support the growth and development of all family members adults, youth, and children.
  • Families are resources to their own members, to other families, to programs, and to communities.
  • Programs affirm and strengthen families’ cultural, racial, and linguistic identities and enhance their ability to function in a multicultural society.
  • Programs are embedded in their communities and contribute to the community-building process.
  • Programs advocate with families for services and systems that are fair, responsive, and accountable to the families served.
  • Practitioners work with families to mobilize formal and informal resources to support family development.
  • Programs are flexible and continually responsive to emerging family and community issues.
  • Principles of family support are modeled in all program activities, including planning, governance, and administration.

Join Ann’s Legacy

On behalf of Ann M. Irvin and her circle of family and friends, we would like to invite you to support Ann’s legacy through your tax-deductible contribution to the ANN M. IRVIN MEMORIAL CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT FUND established at the Long Island Community Foundation. If you need additional information or have any questions, you can contact Marie Smith at (631) 991-8800 ext. 223 or email at

If you are interested in donating to the fund you can do so by sending a check payable to the Long Island Community Foundation, reference “Ann M. Irvin Memorial Children, Youth And Family Development Fund” on the memo line, and mail to:

The Long Island Community Foundation
900 Walt Whitman Road, Suite 205
Melville, NY 11747

Long Island Community Foundation | A Division of The New York Community Trust
900 Walt Whitman Road | (Rt. 110) Suite 205 | Melville, NY 11747
P (631) 991-8800 | Directions | Staff | Comments on the Website

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