Dobson Interns Standing with Molly Dobson

Molly Dobson Named Woman of the Year

Molly Dobson’s (AB ‘44) life story reads like a hero’s origin story. Because it is. Dobson graduated from the University of Michigan in the midst of World War II and joined the U.S. Navy. And that was only the beginning of the impact she would have on our community. Her heart of service continued after the war as a tireless advocate for philanthropic causes with a focus on education and gender equity. On March 3, 2020, Molly Dobson was honored as the United Way of Washtenaw County’s 2020 Woman of the Year.

Anyone involved with U-M’s Development Summer Internship Program (D-SIP) knows that this award is well deserved. Her support has had an indelible impact on many areas across our community, but she has a special place in the hearts of the hundreds of interns who have gone through the D-SIP program and emerged as better leaders, better philanthropists, and better prepared to make a positive impact upon our world.

At the event, attended by over 300 people, Dobson shared how fundraising door-to-door for the March of Dimes early in her career helped her realize the power that could be harnessed by women making their own gifts independently. Dobson recalled when she and her husband were talking about their personal giving, and she realized that she could have a stronger impact with more focused giving around the causes most dear to her: education and gender equity.

See her full speech here.

The Ann Arbor community has been forever changed for the better by Dobson’s philanthropic focus. She helped found the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, supported the Center for the Education of Women (CEW+) at U-M, endowed multiple scholarships at the university, and helped fund the award-winning D-SIP program to name just a few of the efforts she has supported.

A testament to the impact of her support was the overwhelming response the D-SIP program received when they asked their alumni, staff, and community members to write letters of appreciation for Dobson. They received dozens of heartfelt letters that were presented to her at the award ceremony.

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