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In Memory of Tim McGough

St. David’s Center’s Board Treasurer and dear friend Tim McGough passed away unexpectedly on October 26. Please read his tribute below and if you are inclined to make a donation in his name, you can do so here.


On October 26, St. David’s Center’s Board Treasurer and dear friend Tim McGough passed away unexpectedly. Most of you never had the chance to know Tim personally, but if you’ve walked into our 60,000 square foot state-of-the-art early education and early intervention center in Minnetonka or if you’ve been impressed with our board and staff’s fiscal management in the face of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, you’ve known the steady, capable leadership, integrity, and heart of Tim McGough.

Tim’s relationship with the organization began in 2007, in the midst of the Great Recession, when he and a trusted colleague from McGough interviewed for the capital project that would significantly renovate and expand our campus in Minnetonka. His values were clear from those first moments. We knew he and the McGough team would take our tired, old Hopkins school building and align it with our services and our goals for the future. It would be another five years before ground would break on the first phase of our project, and Tim stayed close, ready to lend insight and leverage the talent of the McGough team.

This past week, I’ve reflected that, at every turn, he had our back. As I prepared to approach the legislature for bond funding, Tim tested our numbers with me. As we walked through each phase of construction and bids came in, Tim was my partner in helping us stay within our means. And as we worked to raise the support we needed, Tim – ever so humbly – opened doors for us. He endorsed our vision, respected our Board and staff, and conveyed our worthiness, and his influence made a tremendous difference.

It was a natural step to invite him to join our board in 2016, after witnessing the quality of his character, his belief in our mission, his willingness to leverage his influence, to be an advocate and ambassador, and to bring his steady leadership and business management experience – all with more humility than anyone I’ve ever known.

Just months into his service, I invited Dr. Anne Gearity to speak with our board about the impact of trauma on development, the importance of sensitive caregiving relationships particularly in the first five years of life, and how systemic racism and historical trauma stand in the way of parents’ ability to provide the kind of care their children need. Tim called me that night. He couldn’t close the day without telling me how moved he was by Anne’s words, imagining what our new early intervention center downtown could do to support these families on their path. He said to me, “Until tonight, I didn’t understand the depth of the thinking behind St. David’s Center’s work, what’s at the foundation of it all. This is so important, and I’m so grateful to be on this Board. I’m not sure what more I can do, but I’m all in!”  That was the moment I knew St. David’s Center was in his heart for good.

The ownership he began to take as a trustee and steward of this treasured organization grew even more deeply in the months and years to follow. He served as a capable Treasurer this past year, ensuring the Board had the information they needed to provide strong fiduciary oversight at a time of catastrophic revenue loss, difficult expense cuts, careful expansion, and overall tremendous uncertainty.  With wisdom gained from decades in business, Tim was a strong, valued presence as Chair of the Finance Committee and member of our Executive Committee.

Tim was inspired by the intellectual leaders in our field, the brilliance and dedication within our staff team, and the undeniable resiliency of the families we serve. Holding him in my thoughts this past week, I felt his inspiration. He valued hard work, and he was fiercely loyal. He advocated for the worker – within the McGough team, in the trades generally, and within our workforce. He gave of himself generously and without hesitation. He put others first. Tim McGough was a blessing to this organization and a gift to our Board, our leadership team, and me, and I am deeply grateful for the precious time we had to know and work with one another.

In gratitude and grief,
Julie Sjordal
CEO, St. David’s Center

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