Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Tomaski



What attracted you to become involved with the OCCF?

Over 15 years ago, Rosemary Smith asked me to be a part of a new fundraiser for the OCCF – the yet-to-be-named Extreevaganza. My dad had been a board member for my hometown’s foundation, so I had some knowledge about foundations.

In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?

Managing the funds that are endowed, I think, is the singular most important work that the OCCF does. That is an integral service for families and organizations that only a foundation can provide. Right up there is convening leaders. The work Dana and her staff have done bringing community members together has been invaluable.

What’s it like to volunteer for the OCCF?

Volunteering for the OCCF is rewarding, but quite humbling. I currently serve on the board of directors, and when the board members are gathered, I am often in awe of their insightfulness and their range of knowledge. Plus, they all really care about Otsego County now and in the future.

What OCCF committees have you been involved with?

I remain on the Extreevaganza Committee as a liaison between Treetops and the OCCF Board of Directors. I am the Governance Committee Chair and I sit on the Executive Committee.

What do you hope the organization will achieve soon? In the long term?

The foundation will soon reveal a new branding campaign, which I hope is well received. In the long term, continuing to build assets and the Cornerstone Fund are important to me.

Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration?

Actually, Dana provides most of my inspiration to be involved in the OCCF. She has grown in knowledge about foundations, in general, and in ways best to help our community through the foundation’s mission.

What do you wish other people knew about OCCF?

I wish everyone could understand the word “endowment” – that is one of the main ways we can help individuals, families, and organizations that perhaps other entities cannot.

Do you have a message to share?

Despite increased visibility in the community and growth in assets, the OCCF is still one of the smallest foundations in Michigan, a highly regarded state in the foundation world. If you have been contemplating a gift to a local non-profit or are estate planning, please consider the OCCF. Gifts small and large make an impact here. Visit the website or call Dana.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering for the OCCF?

I believe we all have strengths. You may have a knowledge base that could contribute to one of the OCCF committees! One of our mantras is that the foundation is about “building relationships”. If nothing else, research our foundation so that you know more about the positive impacts it has made in Otsego County and about the unique services it can provide.


  • March 28, 1956, born in Ft. Wayne, IN to Charles and Ruth Ann Sheets
  • Sister Martha and I grew up in Angola, IN
  • Graduated from Angola High School in 1974 and earned a B.A. from Ball State University
  • Moved to Gaylord in 1979 to teach English at St. Mary Cathedral High School. I met Tom Tomaski in the fall of 1979. He taught middle school science at St. Mary.
  • 1980-1982, I taught English and French at Wolverine High School. Also was the Senior Class Advisor, Girls’ Basketball Coach, and taught Driver’s Education.
  • 1982-1989, I taught English and French at Johannesburg Lewiston High School. I was also the French Club Advisor and taught Driver’s Education.
  • Married Tom Tomaski in August 1984
  • Retired from teaching in 1989 when first son William was born. Anthony was born in 1995.
  • Joined the Otsego Memorial Hospital Auxiliary in 1990. Serve as the auxiliary newsletter editor and Cherry Pink Dinner Dance Co-Chair. Received the President’s Award in 2009.
  • Joined AAUW Gaylord Area Branch in 1993. Served as president and treasurer, Used Book Sale Chair, Scholarship Committee Chair. Served on the original Tech Savvy Committee and I still serve as Fundraising Chair of the current Tech Savvy Committee.
  • Served on the Otsego Memorial Hospital Board of Directors as president.
  • Currently on the Otsego County Community Foundation Board of Directors as secretary. I was on the original Extreevaganza committee established in 2000 and I still serve on the committee today. Received the 2016 Kevin Reynolds Achievement Award.
  • Enjoy downhill skiing, snowshoeing, spending time at the lake, reading, watching sports and “Jeopardy” on TV, and my ladies gourmet group. I love the Spartans, the Tigers and every moment with family, especially if we are all in one place together.