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Executive Director Update

Dear Pony Barnes Foundation Friends,

I hope you are off to a great start to the new year. This is often a time for changes and new beginnings, so it is with mixed emotions that I write to share some organizational news.

After two years of distinguished service to the Pony Barnes Foundation, Executive Director Madelyn Gelpi will be stepping down from this role to pursue an exciting job opportunity at UC Berkeley. As the Foundation's first Executive Director, Madelyn helped establish every aspect of the Foundation's operations, designed and launched our grants program, developed our outreach and engagement efforts, and jointly with the Board created our first strategic plan.

We are grateful for Madelyn's many contributions as our inaugural Executive Director and we congratulate them on this wonderful career move. Madelyn has been instrumental in taking our organization to where it is today and they have led with great enthusiasm, creativity, and passion for our mission. We look forward to her many successes ahead.

"As I embark on a new journey, I carry with me an unwavering belief in PBF’s mission and the impact it will continue to have for many years to come", said Executive Director Madelyn Gelpi, "Together, over the last two years, we have sown the seeds of our founder, Virginia “Pony” Barnes’ vision, and have gotten to watch how its roots have flourished. I am confident in the trees of change that will continue to grow for generations to come. Thank you for being a part of this wonderful adventure."

Madelyn's last day with the Pony Barnes Foundation will be Friday, February 2nd. With the full support of the Board of Directors, I will be assuming the role of Interim Executive Director immediately to ensure that the Foundation continues to fully operate business as usual and that our important work remains uninterrupted.

On behalf of the entire Foundation, I want to thank you for your ongoing support and encourage you to reach out to me at if you have any questions. I very much would like to continue to connect and engage with you.


Marion “Friski” Soloway

President/ Co-founder, Pony Barnes Foundation

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