WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield Foundation Executive Director Betsy B. Chance is retiring after 26 years.

Chance reflected on her time with the foundation, which makes community grants to nonprofit organizations in Westfield and the surrounding area.

“It’s very gratifying to be able to do this kind of work,” Chance told TAPinto Westfield in a recent interview. In addition to making grants, the foundation awards scholarships to local students and manages funds for other nonprofits, Chance said.

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Chance explained that a board of 15 trustees, each of whom are eligible to serve two three-year terms, manages the operations of the foundation. She said working with the various groups of trustees over the years has been one of the most rewarding parts of her job.

“One of the best parts of the job has been getting to know the trustees over all these years,” Chance said. “They’ve been just a marvelous group of people, from all walks of life in Westfield, and just getting to know them and work with each of them for six years has been a real pleasure.”

The foundation’s board of trustees recently held a virtual retirement celebration to honor Chance.

“On behalf of the past and present board members, we want to thank you for your years of exemplary, smiling and efficient service,” Mark Swingle, the foundation’s current president, said during the event.

“We have grown in size from a few million dollars to an excess of $26 million dollars,” Swingle said. “And the amount of money the foundation distributes each year for needy causes has grown commensurately providing support for educational, social, civic and cultural services for our community. Truly well done.”

The foundation will also be gifting Betsy a bench in her name to be placed in Mindowaskin Park, Ingrid McKinley, a former trustee of the foundation, told TAPinto Westfield.

During her interview, Chance also thanked the nonprofits she has worked with for their dedication to the community.

“I just wanted to thank all the agencies that have been so good to us, and that have been great to work with,” Chance said. “They’re all doing work that they love, and its work from their hearts, so they really deserve an awful lot of credit for keeping this community what it is.”

Gerard “Jay” Boyle, who formerly served as trustee for six years, will succeed Chance as executive director.

“He’s been very involved in Westfield for many, many years,” Chance said of her successor. “He’s quite familiar with what the foundation does and what the community is like, so I think he’ll do a great job.”

Chance said she is looking forward to having more time to travel and pursue her hobbies during her retirement.

“My husband and I are hoping to travel a little bit more once COVID is gone,” Chance said. “I have a lot of hobbies, so I’m looking forward to having more time to do those.”

“I feel like it’s the right time,” she said. “It’s been a long, wonderful journey.”

The mission of the Westfield Foundation, formed in 1975, is to “provide funding support in the arts, health, aging, historic preservation, social services and civic projects,” according to the foundation’s website.

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