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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Rev. Phil Grigsby, longtime head of SiCM, passes away; Remembered as ‘Heart of Schenectady’ – The Daily Gazette

In the mid-1990s Rabbi Matthew Cutler of The Gates of Heaven Congregation and Rev Phil Grigsby Proctors stand outside chatting.

Cutler recalled that the town was just starting to grow financially, but told Grigsby that he could not see how Schenectady would climb back and survive.

It was then, as Cutler said, that Grigsby put his hand around her and said, “We’ll get through this and we’ll thrive.”

The two went back to their cars that day and have remained friends ever since.

On Tuesday, Schenectady Community Ministries announced that Grigsby had died that morning.

Grigby began working at SiCM, formerly Schenectady Inner City Ministries, in 1986 as Executive Director and Urban Agent.

His dedication to the service of the society knew no bounds.

Grigsby will serve as the leader of SiCM for 33 years before retiring in October 2019. During his time in the organization he oversaw the expansion of SiCM’s campus at 837 Albany St., which houses various community support systems such as the Community Learning Kitchen and Ellis Hospital Clinic. , according to a release from SiCM.

In addition to its commitment to SiCM Food Pantry, grigsby He also worked diligently to end the racial divide in Schenectady County. As Executive Director of SiCM, He Promoted a program dedicated to providing a safe environment for youth and adults to challenge issues related to race and diversity, called the “Schenectady County Embrace Diversity”.

However, he didn’t stop there, finding any way to support the community, including the founding of 27-year-old summer meal program for youth and children.

“Phil Grigsby’s commitment to justice and community extends far beyond CCM’s mission and engagement,” the CCM release said. “His leadership sought to address the needs of vulnerable citizens in response to issues expressed by the community[and]inspired them to engage in local, regional and state-wide collaborations, including the Community Crisis Network, which enables police- Led community addressing social justice, criminal justice and related issues in Schenectady City and County, participating in the establishment of a policy community review board, facilitating the Schenectady County Embrace Diversity – racism and relatedness with a focus on youth Study circles to strengthen communities through dialogue on issues. Their participation in these and other community initiatives has led to community-based access to health, food, housing, green space, clean environments, quality public education and political suffrage Uncovered pressing needs.

Her commitment to providing for the community in any way possible inspired people like City Councilwoman Marion Porterfield, who worked with Grigsby at SiCM in the 1990s.

Porterfield said that he was a man far ahead of his time.

“A lot of the things he did were innovative and hadn’t been done before,” she said.

He said that Grigby was a mentor to him in his role as a public servant focused on community work.

“He treated everyone with respect, regardless of their status,” she said.

Porterfield said she will fondly remember Grigsby for how she continued to keep in touch with her mother, the Rev. Diana Fletcher, even after she stopped working at SiCM.

“It was important to me, that he didn’t forget about the work he had done,” Porterfield said.

Cutler told the local leader the only way he could do it – extraordinary.

“Grigsby was the heart of Schenectady,” Cutler said. “He was the person I turned to when I needed spiritual guidance. For me he is the voice of consciousness I am going to hear on the road.”

His passing is a loss for many, but his legacy lives on in his successor, Amaury Taon-Santos, Cutler said.

He said he had big shoes when it came to taking over as executive director of CCM.

But Grigsby helped ease the transition, Taon-Santos said.

“Phil made himself available to me immediately,” he said.

Taňón-Santos said he remembered feeling overwhelmed by all the work SiCM was doing in the community, and recalled Grigsby saying he needed to get to know everyone in the community and then turning back to the same people. getting in touch.

“He welcomed me as a colleague and shared with me his knowledge, his passion for the city, his passion for the people of the city, and the work that lay ahead with me, effortlessly and with a bit of gusto.”

Grigsby is survived by his wife Dr. Janet “Jan” Grigsby and their sons Matthew “Matt” Grigsby and Christopher “Chris” Grigsby.

According to CCM’s press release, information regarding the memorial will be forthcoming.

More from The Daily Gazette:

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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