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Maureen O’Gara Hackett receives Shaw-Hardy Taylor Award for advancing women’s philanthropy


CHICAGO — Philanthropist Maureen O’Gara Hackett of Houston has received the Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

The Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award recognizes philanthropists, nonprofit leaders, volunteers, change agents, fundraisers and researchers who have moved women’s philanthropy forward and have demonstrated significant impact on the field. The award was presented today during the school’s annual symposium, #WomenLeading Philanthropy in Chicago.

Hackett’s unanimous selection by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute Council honors her volunteerism, leadership and board service to many causes in Houston, Nantucket, Indianapolis and elsewhere across the country. In particular, the award recognizes her generosity in creating the world’s first endowed chair in women’s philanthropy, the Eileen Lamb O’Gara Chair in Women’s Philanthropy at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, located on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.

“The Women’s Philanthropy Institute is pleased to honor Maureen Hackett for her visionary leadership and generosity,” Director Debra Mesch said. “In endowing the Eileen Lamb O’Gara Chair, Maureen has solidified the field of study about gender and philanthropy. She has deepened its roots and created a strong foundation from which research about gender differences in philanthropy and women’s philanthropy will help redefine the philanthropic landscape.”

The endowed chair, a gift from Hackett, her husband, Jim, and their family, is named in honor of her mother, Eileen Lamb O’Gara, an entrepreneurial businesswoman who dedicated her life to helping and caring for others. 

“Women’s leadership in philanthropy — whether high-profile or quietly strong and informal like my mother’s — is a powerful force in solving the challenges facing our families, our communities and our world,” Hackett said in accepting the award. “I am honored by this award, and it seems especially serendipitous to receive it in Chicago, where my mother raised me to share her strong sense of responsibility for improving the lives of those around us.”

As chair of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s board of visitors and a board member since 2008, Hackett has helped guide creation and development of the world’s first school of philanthropy. Her philanthropy and that of her family reflects a deep commitment to family, faith and education. They are passionate about mental health care advocacy — Hackett is chair of the Menninger Clinic Foundation board and a member of the clinic’s board — children’s health, Catholic education and youth development, among other causes.

“Whether she is chairing our board or advocating tirelessly for one of the many causes she believes in, Maureen is a dynamic, entrepreneurial and effective leader,” said Gene Tempel, founding dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “She brings unwavering commitment, insight and laser focus to each role she undertakes. Her contributions to advancing women’s philanthropy, both by example and through the gift of the Eileen Lamb O’Gara Chair, are making an enduring impact in the world.”

Hackett began her volunteerism at age 14 and has worked in the philanthropic sector in various positions for over 30 years. She is an active board member, advisory board member or trustee for charities around the country, including the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame, the Behavioral and Development Collaborative at Texas Children’s Hospital and the Greater Houston Community Foundation Council.

The recipient of many awards, Hackett has been honored with the Maurice Hirsch Award for Philanthropy and the Gary Levering Mental Health Impact Award and has been inducted into the Philanthropy in Texas Hall of Fame.

The Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award is named for Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha Taylor, who saw the power and potential of women’s involvement in philanthropy long before it became a recognized trend. They founded the organization to advance women’s philanthropy that evolved into the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.

About the Women’s Philanthropy Institute

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute is part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The institute increases understanding of women’s philanthropy through rigorous research and education, interpreting and sharing these insights broadly to improve philanthropy. Follow the institute on Twitter @WPIinsights and “Like” the Women’s Philanthropy Institute’s Facebook page.

About the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its academic, research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Follow the school on Twitter @IUPhilanthropy or “Like” the school’s Facebook page.