Chatham County Partnership for Children executive director Genevieve Megginson strives to improve the quality of life for all local children
By Charlotte Goto | Photography by John Michael Simpson
As a mother of three, former child care provider and early childhood educator, Genevieve Megginson knows the adage is true – it takes a village to raise a child. She dedicates her life to building a supportive community for the children of Chatham County and beyond.
Genevieve and her husband, Keith Megginson, settled in Pittsboro in the late 1970s. While raising their two adopted daughters and one biological son in 1981, they encountered difficulty finding adequate, affordable child care.
“I looked,” Genevieve says, “and I just couldn’t find anything. If I can’t find it myself, then nobody else can, so how can I help improve that situation?”
Genevieve, who has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree in education from Vanderbilt University, operated a day care program out of her home from 1988 to 1993 to help local parents and families. She also worked as an instructor in the early childhood department of Central Carolina Community College from 1985 to 1994.
“I’ve always followed the opportunities that presented themselves,” Genevieve says. “I’ve been very blessed that they were good and meaningful opportunities.” Since 1994, she has served as executive director for the Chatham County Partnership for Children, a nonprofit that strives to enhance quality and accessibility of family support, child care and health services. Genevieve was instrumental in securing Smart Start grants that support child care subsidies, educational resources and more.
“Our whole mission is ensuring that all the children, in Chatham County specifically, have the opportunity to grow up safe and strong and thrive, so they can succeed in school and in life,” Genevieve says. “[A child’s] first five years is when the foundation for their entire [life] is built.”
No one becomes a leader in their field without experiencing challenges, and Genevieve admits that being female presented barriers in her journey. “As a woman, when you’re trying to do something big and bold, and the people you’re trying to influence are men in power, it can be humiliating at times,” she says. “Maybe it’s a little less now than it used to be, but I still run into it. And that’s been my biggest challenge, learning how to navigate that, to preserve my relationships with all individuals regardless of their gender and to find a way to come together for what genuinely needs to get done. I don’t give up.”
A firm proponent of the power of women, she encourages other young women seeking to do something “big and bold” to remain steadfast in their passions and aspirations. “I would tell the young women today to believe in yourself and believe in other women,” Genevieve says. “Be kind. It is a tough world out there. [The more] women can be good and supportive of one another, the stronger we all will be.”
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Support Genevieve’s mission by donating to the Partnership’s Day of the Books/El Día de los Libros event. The fundraiser culminates with an in-person event on Saturday, April 30, at Bray Park in Siler City from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Funds will be used to provide healthy meals for families attending Day of the Books.