Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Monday, October 23, 2006

Goodbye Miriam

I just got word that the nonprofit world has lost a great friend, co-worker, and champion. On the 17th of this month, Miriam Engelberg lost her long battle with cancer.

I first met Miriam during my time with HandsNet and knew she was somebody special. I got to know her much better once I joined the CompassPoint Nonprofit Services staff, where she was a technology consultant, teacher, and the artist/writer behind CompassPoint's in-house comic strip Planet 501c3.

Miriam's positive attitude and great sense of humor is what made her a pleasure to know and to work with. Even after her first bouts with cancer she returned to work with a smile and a joke about her condition. I remember that one time her return coincided with an all-staff meeting. In preparation for that event, we all (about 35 of us) purchased crazy colored wigs so that she would not be the only one wearing one. This was Miriam's type of humor, and wig day was a fitting and appreciated welcome back and tribute.

In addition to her Planet 501c3 comics, Miriam soon turned her creative talents to dealing with her cancer. She self-published several comics detailing her struggle with the disease, and her ability to laugh at it. The comics received national attention and were re-published by Harper Collins as "Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person."

Although I'm fighting back the tears now, I don't think that's what Miriam would want. She'd want us to remember her laughing and fighting back against the odds. I think I'll go to the garage and find my purple wig and put it on again, just for the hell of it. Just for Miriam.

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