Mary Ann Dempsey, general counsel for New Hampshire’s Judicial Branch, has been named the 2022 recipient of the Caroline and Martin Gross Fellowship.
The honor will enable Dempsey to attend an intensive, three-week program this summer with public servants from around the world. She hopes to enhance her organizational, legal and problem-solving skills to help the court system as it continues its focus on long-term initiatives.
“With my background in state government, I am comfortable dealing with legal issues that arise on a daily basis within the court system. I really want to take this opportunity to think about how my role as general counsel can assist the Judicial Branch with its long-range goals” said Dempsey, who will attend Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in July.
The fellowship, now in its 28th year, was established in memory of the late New Hampshire 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 to an extraordinary elected or appointed official in state or local government who demonstrates leadership ability and the highest standards of performance in public service.
Before becoming General Counsel to the court system in 2016, Dempsey served as head of the Attorney General’s Civil Bureau and as legal counsel to Gov. Maggie Hassan. Her current duties include advising New Hampshire’s court leadership, drafting and reviewing contracts, managing litigation and serving as the Judicial Branch’s Americans with Disabilities (ADA) coordinator. She also is involved in employment policies, union negotiations and budget activities.
Dempsey is excited about being immersed in opportunities to learn how to provide public service more efficiently.
“The Fellowship is an amazing investment to put in one person, and with that, comes the obligation on my part to soak it in, to really put as much of the world aside (as possible) and take every opportunity when I am there,” she said. “Then, there is the personal obligation to bring it back and incorporate the skills into my work in state government.”
Her work includes working with court leadership to develop and enhance programs such as centralizing mental health cases in the courts, diversity initiatives and employee educational training.
Dempsey already connects with counterparts around the country to share ideas on common issues they encounter as public servants. She looks forward to expanding her valuable network worldwide through the Fellowship program.
“It is my belief based on my experience in state government that every major initiative undertaken is more successful when there is collaboration,” she said. “On a personal level, I always grow and learn from the collaborative experience.”
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.
Here is a list of previous fellowship recipients.
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. We are the place where generosity meets the dedication and ingenuity of nonprofits and the potential of New Hampshire students. For six decades, thousands of people have entrusted their charitable resources to the Foundation, creating a perpetual source of philanthropic capital and making it possible for the Foundation to award more than $60 million in grants and scholarships every year. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.