October 18th, 1994 - January 22nd, 2023
Thank you for joining us. Your tax-deductible contributions to the Maura Coursey Fund will provide support to nonprofit work in equity, inclusion, trauma-informed approaches, and fierce safeguarding of individual dignity and worth in marginalized populations.
Maura was a force of nature — indestructibly herself, firm in her deep sense of purpose and commitment to justice, never afraid to speak out. She was funny and brilliant, with a heart of gold.
From an early age, Maura was a part of and worked with front-line communities. As a young teen, she would ride buses just to meet and talk with people experiencing homelessness, to better understand their lives. In high school she worked as a counselor at a summer camp focused on building diversity, equity, and inclusion. In 2019 she became an advocate at the YWCA domestic violence shelter, where many of the clients were experiencing chronic homelessness, substance abuse disorders, and untreated mental health conditions. In 2021 she began working with refugees settling in the Salt Lake City area as the primary provider of domestic violence prevention and intervention services at the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Working so closely with clients at the YWCA and at IRC played a significant part in Maura's decision to pursue her Masters in Public Affairs at Princeton, with the goal of using her training as a springboard to effect meaningful change. Special passions included working to recognize and prevent human trafficking, advocating for the rights of LGBTQI+ populations, climate resilience and migration, criminal justice reform, and expanding affordable housing as a key tool to solve many societal ills.
In addition to her fierce pursuit of justice in both the educational and professional spheres, Maura possessed a range of unique talents. She found intense joy in making music with others — her transcendent, dynamic singing transported us all to another realm. She wrote screenplays and was well into crafting a dystopian TV series in which water had become the world’s currency. She loved everything about Muay Thai fighting and was all set to go pro. She took part in establishing the first Utah-based affiliate of Rock Steady Boxing, a specialized program designed as treatment for Parkinson's disease. She created needle-points for her closest friends with cryptic, sarcastic sayings like “I hate you the least” (to her boss) and “Ten out of ten people will die.” She loved hiking and backpacking, filled her home with plants, and adored her kitty, Satchel.
Maura was a rock solid friend — a safe haven who always had your back. She was also brutally honest, with a no-nonsense approach to loving that was often provocative and yet engendered deep admiration and dedication. She did not try to make people like her, which allowed her to be truly authentic. This refreshing authenticity was perhaps her greatest gift — she inspired and empowered, giving courage to those around her to claim who they were proudly and without apology.
In the words of one of Maura’s friend’s from Princeton, “Maura accomplished more in 28 years than most of us will in a lifetime.” Another friend added, “She was going to change the world.” Maura transformed all who knew her and touched so many lives in the process. The full fruition of her work is now up to us. With this fund — inspired by Maura’s deeply-held pursuit of dignity for all persons — we will continue to carry on the meaningful and visionary work that she started.