CONCORD, NH (PRESS RELEASE) – Elizabeth Dragon, city manager of Keene, New Hampshire, has been named the 2019 recipient of the Caroline and Martin Gross Fellowship. The fellowship was established in memory of the late House Majority Leader Caroline Gross and the late Concord mayor Martin Gross to honor dedication to public service. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation awards the fellowship annually.
The fellowship, now in its 25th year, enables a New Hampshire public servant to attend the three-week Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The fellowship honors an extraordinary elected or appointed official in New Hampshire state or local government who demonstrates leadership ability and the highest standards of performance in public service.
“For a quarter century, this program has been helping to strengthen New Hampshire’s civic leadership,” said Charitable Foundation President and CEO Richard Ober. “The Charitable Foundation is honored to steward that very fitting legacy for Caroline and Martin Gross.”
The Harvard program, which Dragon will attend in July, attracts municipal leaders from all over the country and the world, and draws participants from multiple disciplines – from members of parliament to fire chiefs, attorneys general, school administrators, judges, policy advisors and more.
“I am so grateful to be given this opportunity,” Dragon said. “We’re getting ready to do some very exciting projects here in Keene that I believe will have a positive impact on the Monadnock Region,” she said, including workforce development, reducing the city’s carbon footprint and developing a downtown arts and culture corridor. “This is a great time to be able to talk to other leaders and hear ideas of things they have done. There’s just huge potential to be creative and collaborative right now.”
Dragon is the first woman to serve in the position of city manager of Keene. She had not fully realized the impact of that until her daughter posted about it on social media, talking about her mom as a role model for young women.
“I hadn’t really thought about being a role model for young women in the field of municipal management,” said Dragon, who began her career in finance. “But the more women can be successful in these roles, the more we will encourage other women to try as well, and to try to go beyond whatever role they might be in right now.”
Caroline L. Gross was a New Hampshire native who devoted her adult life to public service, serving in numerous capacities in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, the Governor’s office, and as a state representative from Concord. In 1989, she was appointed House Majority Leader, a position she held until her death in 1993. Her husband, Martin Gross, along with friends, family and colleagues, established a fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to provide permanent funding for the Caroline L. Gross Fellowship. When Martin Gross passed away in 2016, the fellowship was renamed the Caroline and Martin Gross Fellowship. Martin Gross’ wife, Deirdre Sheerr-Gross, made a generous gift to sustain the fellowship.
Previous fellowship recipients include: George Bald, John Beardmore, Gina Belmont, Philip Bryce, Joan Callahan, Christopher Clement, Lou D’Allesandro, Sylvio Dupuis, Orville “Bud” Fitch, David Hess, Jason Hoch, Beverly Hollingworth, Tricia Lucas, Tina Nadeau, Marilee Nihan, Merelise O’Connor, Terence Pfaff, Catherine Provencher, Alan Robichaud, Todd Selig, Kathleen Sgambati, Stephen Shurtleff, James Vara, Mary Beth Walz and Craig Welch.
About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is New Hampshire’s statewide community foundation, founded in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire. The Foundation manages a growing collection of nearly 1,900 funds created by generous individuals, families and businesses, and awards nearly $40 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving, supports great work happening in our communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.