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We are grateful for the life of Heather Lynn Reisz, who passed away suddenly in Chicago on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at the age of 42 of natural causes. Heather was born in Bellefonte, PA, and grew up in Arlington, MA.

Heather moved from Boston to Chicago in November 2011 to start a new research group within the development department at the Art Institute of Chicago, she was the Director of Research at the Art Institute. Prior to moving to Chicago Heather was the Director of Research and Prospect Development at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Manager of Research at the Museum of Science Boston.

Heather began her career in the mid-90's at the Names Project - AIDS Memorial Quilt in San Francisco. A former colleague wrote that she was the "engine behind corporate and foundation giving at the Quilt" that enabled them to do the 1996 display of the complete quilt on the Mall in Washington D.C. and the organization's High School Quilt Program.

Heather was an active and devoted volunteer and board member of the New England Development Research Association (NEDRA). She had an infectious love for the work she did and served as a mentor to many. She had a particular fondness for newcomers to the profession. Thanks to Heather’s free sharing of knowledge, support and advice, there are numerous people in the field who have her to thank for their success.


Heather was vivacious and made friends everywhere she went. She had a boisterous laugh and an empathetic heart. She was incredibly talented and found her calling as a researcher and data "nerd" within the development department of non-profits. She was a devoted friend, daughter, sister, and Auntie to all of us.

Donations are being accepted for the Heather Reisz Memorial Scholarship, which will provide newcomers to the field with financial support for development research training. 



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