Meet Our Clients
For long-time Berry Wealth Strategies client Teri Duffy, managing her financial portfolio is all about staying abreast of her diverse nonprofit experience.
“Tom never objected when I would jump ship to another nonprofit—or even leave the country for that matter,” said Duffy, who is currently a Senior Case Manager for Friendly House in NW Portland.
Its programs and services are provided at no charge or on a sliding fee scale to ensure access to all members of the community. Friendly House provides a continuum of services in three program areas: Children’s Programs, Community Recreation and Education, and Services for Seniors.
Sharing the organization’s vision that “to assist seniors in remaining
independent in their homes, reduce isolation, and increase needed social
service supports,” Duffy credits her first jobs at retirement homes—as well as
her upbringing—for her earnest dedication to serving our community’s most
vulnerable members. “I feel really blessed that I had parents that showed by
example the importance of family, faith, and the community. Mom and Dad
modeled a sense of responsibility for their eleven children and many others,”
That obligation inspired Duffy early on in her life toward a career serving
others. After earning a Master of Social Work, she was recruited by the late
MultnomahCounty Commissioner Gladys McCoy to break ground on one
of the County’s first affordable housing programs.
“It was the ‘80s and the economy had just tanked. We had all of these abandoned and tax foreclosed homes throughout the County and a great need for affordable housing,” said Duffy. After McCoy passed away, Duffy and her passion for service extended beyond America’s borders.
Having previously visited—and fallen in love with—Southeast Asia, Duffy elected to return to the region to work at a children’s home, an eye clinic and a primary school in Nepal. She continues to support Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School which serves over 40 orphaned children and the primary school provides free education to over 300 students in Surkhet in western Nepal. Besides providing education, nutritious food, clean water, medical care, clothing, and a warm bed, the home and school also run a women’s development center.
Empowering women is another important part of Duffy’s philosophy. “You can really see the impact on the family and community when a woman is educated or given the tools and opportunity to run her own business in SE Asia,” said Duffy.
“Impact” might be Duffy’s byword. After returning to Portland to work for a variety
of community development corporations, Duffy joined the nonprofit Community
Housing Resource Center as Executive Director. The Center provides quality
homeownership and financial education and counseling services to increase
opportunities for potential low income and first-time homebuyers to create
financial stability for their families.
Presently, Duffy is happy to be back working for seniors in our backyard. Duffy
relishes the opportunity to dial back some of the responsibility that characterized
her former positions and focus on “many elders in our community to assist them
to maintain their independence and quality of life.”
Retirement is also an imminent life event for Duffy, who knows her present
service will be her last professional position. She is then looking forward to moving back to Nepal to work at the Kopila Valley Home and School in western Nepal and teach English to young Buddhist nuns in Ladakh in northern India.
Considering Duffy’s life-long dedication to community, a retirement spent in service is no surprise.
“When I was younger, I saw social justice as an obligation or expectation. As I’ve aged, I’ve come to see it as an opportunity and a blessing.”