August 25, 2021

Last month, Joyce Stupski, visionary leader, philanthropist, and longtime supporter of Summer Search, passed away. 

Joyce Stupski

Joyce Stupski at Summer Search's 25th Anniversary Gala in 2015.

Joyce’s career as a public school teacher and administrator greatly informed the goals of the Stupski Foundation, the philanthropic foundation co-founded by Joyce and her late husband Larry. The foundation is investing all of its assets by 2029 to make the greatest possible change in the communities that Joyce and Larry called home, the Bay Area and Hawai’i, across four issue areas: post-secondary success, early brain development, food security, and serious illness care.

Throughout the past 25 years, Joyce and Larry provided a cumulative total of $2.5M in support of Summer Search. Most of those investments supported strategic planning and innovation efforts which helped us build critical capacity for us to continue evolving and innovating to best serve our students and communities today.

We are deeply grateful for the lasting impact the Stupskis made on our organization and in the lives of our students and alumni. To honor the memories of Joyce and Larry, our founder, Linda Mornell and CEO, Marc Spencer, shared their thoughts and reflections.

Linda Mornell, Summer Search Founder:

In loving memory to Joyce and Larry...

In those scary early days of starting a non-profit with no experience, the stark reality of the need to raise money quickly came to the forefront. My husband Pierre introduced me to Joyce and Larry, who I knew had recently started a foundation that was mainly based on influencing public education in this country. 

When Joyce heard about Summer Search she seemed to be intrigued. After our first meeting, to my great surprise, the support began soon after. I think what Joyce and Larry loved the most about Summer Search was the stories and the numbers. Joyce had a soft spot for stories and Larry was a numbers guy, so to have the two dovetail, indicating the overwhelming success of our students made them loyal supporters year after year.

As Summer Search grew into a larger organization, Katherine Kennedy, Jay Jacobs, and many of the early Summer Search staff were lucky enough to know Joyce and Larry as well. It became a real privilege to share their longtime generosity and their deep love for the young people we served.

It was one of my greatest joys to meet with Joyce and Larry annually and continue to share those stories of our Summer Searchers. When Larry passed away after a long and devastating fight with cancer, Joyce and I continued our annual visits. Since both of us had lost husbands we developed common bonds personally over the years as we found comfort in each other. Then as she developed her own health issues it became a moment for me to give back as I went to visit whenever she was in town. I continued to send her stories and feel blessed and grateful that I was able to bring some happiness to her in those hard years.

The thing about Joyce? She always remembered those stories!

Dr. Marc Spencer, Summer Search CEO:

Summer Search would not exist in the way that we do today without the support of Joyce and Larry Stupski.

We are proud to have been a grantee of the Stupski Foundation for many years. We are grateful for the Foundation’s demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion through its choice to spend down Foundation assets to yield the greatest impact in community and for their leadership in disrupting and reforming standard philanthropic practices and power dynamics.

Joyce’s legacy is being carried forth under the strong vision and leadership of Glen and the entire Stupski team. Summer Search is honored to have had the chance to innovate our program model and ultimately serve young people more effectively throughout the Bay Area and nationwide with the support of Joyce and the Stupski Foundation.

Header graphic courtesy of the Stupski Foundation.

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