Being BOLD: Peggy Rowley

Bay Area Community Foundation is deeply saddened to lose one of our community’s boldest leaders. Peggy Rowley passed away peacefully on New Year’s Eve and will be missed by many. It is thanks to Peggy that the Bay Area Community Foundation exists. She helped found the organization in 1982, persisting even when others said it couldn’t be done. She served as the Foundation’s first director as a volunteer and began fundraising for what is today’s Riverwalk and Railtrail system. She was instrumental in many community projects because she was passionate and had a knack for getting other people involved.When talking about Peggy and her husband’s Paul service to the community, Paul said it was never about them. It was about the community. When they were first married, they found themselves in many meetings in which people always talked about how the collective “they” needed to do things. Paul said that he quickly discovered that “they” was in fact Paul and Peggy. “Someone has to take a chance,” he said. Paul said Peggy would work on projects and fundraising all day long until 11 p.m. every night for 30-40 years. “She was one of the greatest organizers of ideas,” he said.

She co-founded Bay Concert Band and the Bay City Fireworks Festival and founded the Bay Music Foundation, Bay Arts Council, and school skating and visiting artist programs. For more information about Peggy’s lifelong commitment to this community, you can read her full obituary by clicking here.

In lieu of flowers, Peggy’s family requests gifts to Bay Area Community Foundation for memorial contributions. The Foundation Board of Trustees has decided to name the Arts and Culture fund in Peggy’s name to honor her incredible love and passion for bringing the arts to all. Donations to this fund can be made by clicking here.

Peggy Rowley (and her husband Paul) speaking at a scholarship reception with Bay Area Community Foundation in 2005.

Peggy Rowley shakes hands with Governor James Blanchard at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the footbridge on the Riverwalk/Railtrail in Bay City in 1989.

Peggy Rowley attended the Foundation’s Faces of Philanthropy event this past year in 2019. At this event, honorees are awarded with the Peggy Rowley Community Enrichment award for their service in the community, named after one of our community’s greatest leaders. Left to right behind Peggy: Glenda Labadie (2019 Recipient and Past BACF President & CEO), Diane Fong (Current BACF President & CEO), Paul Rowley, Bonnie Marsh (Past BACF President & CEO), and Gary Labadie (2019 Recipient).


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