Meet Betty Marmon
She’s Called Simpson House Home Since 2018
Raising funds & rubbing elbowsBetty Marmon first came to Simpson House as a child, singing and playing hand bells with her church group. In 2018, she came back and stayed. In between, she says, “I was very fortunate to have amazing experiences” here and abroad. Debating & discovering possibilities An only child, Betty was born in Philadelphia and grew up in the Northeast, where she lived with her parents, her grandmother and an aunt. The family also had a house in Brigantine. She was an avid reader and good student. “I was originally headed towards Olney, but some teachers encouraged me to go to Girls High,” she recalls. “I then matriculated to a college in upstate New York.” She went on to attend Kirkland College, a progressive college for women in upstate New York and a coordinate with Hamilton College. There, she studied political science and communications and joined the debate club. “I thought I would be a librarian. The debate really changed my perceptions of what possibilities were open to me,” she says. She also had an internship in communications and development, and went on fundraising calls and cultivation lunches to support the school. The experiences forged her career path. Interesting experience here & abroad After earning a master’s in communications and media relations from Syracuse University, she was involved in development and public affairs for several educational institutions, including Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania. She organized special events and met celebrities like Barnard alumna Joan Rivers, Laurie Anderson, and Martha Stewart. “I was Candace Bergen’s assistant when she was getting an honorary degree” from Penn, she says. “It was the weekend that Murphy Brown’s character was birthing a baby, so there was a lot of media coverage. She also served as vice president for the resource development at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She lived in Washington, DC, and traveled extensively, including both here and abroad. “Our trip to Russia was amazing. We were there on May Day, seeing all of the elderly soldiers from World War I and World War II with all their medals,” she says. “Also the day they turned on the fountains at St. Petersburg, which was really special.” Saving the past & supporting the future In 1999, Betty became director of development at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. During her tenure there, Thomas Jefferson University planned to sell Thomas Eakins’ painting “The Gross Clinic,” which showed Jefferson’s first chair of surgery teaching students. (Eakins studied anatomy at Jefferson.) The Crystal Bridges Museum and The Walton Family Foundation in Arkansas were among the buyers. Betty was instrumental in obtaining the $68 million funding to purchase the piece for the Art Museum and keep this piece of cultural heritage in Philadelphia—and doing it in one month. “Organizing that, breathing it, making that happen was a huge accomplishment,” she says. It was far from her only accomplishment. Betty went on to serve as vice president of development and external affairs at Inglis Foundation, which serves individuals with disabilities, until 2018, when she established a consultancy in fundraising, strategic planning and board relations. Sizing down & staying active Betty decided to downsize and move to Simpson House at the young age of 68. After having moved several times in her life, she only wanted to make one more move. “My personal mantra in all of this is ‘don’t postpone joy.’ Too many people make the move here too late,” she says. She wanted to be able to fully enjoy all that Simpson House has to offer. She continues to stay active. This year, she is chairing Kirkland’s 50th reunion, and she draws on her experience with the National Trust to serve on the board of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. “I have been an agent. I also welcome mentoring young people and particularly people who are interested in a career in development,” she says. “There is a lot of good work to be done when you know what’s expected.” One of those young people is her daughter; a graduate of George Washington University who is working in Brooklyn in her own career in development. It’s a legacy that Betty feels good about. She also feels proud of the relationship she had with her own mother.
“I got one of the great families,” she says. “I very much appreciate all those life lessons they gave me along the way.”Call us today at 215-878-3600 or submit the form below to see for yourself why Betty and other fundraisers choose Simpson House for retirement living.