Donor Spotlight: Nancy Phillips, Lifelong Champion for Children

Nancy Phillips’ generosity of spirit is a true gift to CASA of New Hampshire and the children we serve. For many years, in addition to leading a very successful business in the auto industry, Nancy has provided both volunteer and financial support to mission-critical children’s organizations like CASA.

Reading a newspaper article about CASA in the early 90s, Nancy was shocked to learn about the need for such an organization, and she was moved to become a volunteer advocate. Nancy’s experience as a volunteer was life-changing as she dedicated her time advocating for the future of a 4-year-old boy who had been severely abused and then abandoned. Through her efforts, the child’s horror ended with adoption into a wonderful family. The case lasted a lengthy 4 years, but, as Nancy notes, it taught her so much about the need for CASA.

“I will never forget it,” she said.

Nancy is proud of the fact that the little boy who struggled so much early in life is now a high-ranking marine. Her time as a volunteer and the importance of CASA continued to resonate deeply after the end of the case. She became a CASA board member and continued to volunteer tirelessly for numerous child-focused nonprofits.

Nancy’s energy is boundless. She balances a very successful career with her love for helping children. She is the founder and principal of Nancy Phillips Associates, Inc., brokering the sale of franchised automobile dealerships throughout the Northeast.  She and her husband Elliot Berkowitz also own a real estate development company on the Seacoast, and together they have a daughter Alexandra.

Nancy’s concern for the welfare of children is long-standing. As Nancy notes, she grew up in a typical middle-class family in Goffstown “without a lot of trauma” and became involved in working with at-risk children while a student at the University of New Hampshire. At UNH she served as an Upward Bound Counselor alongside troubled youth, and became entrenched in various social issues. Throughout college Nancy worked in the Department of Resource Economics researching poverty in New Hampshire and as a tutor in under-served communities before taking her first job for the Dept of Welfare in Oregon. The experience was impactful as Nancy struggled with the dichotomy between their situation and her own experiences and upbringing.

After returning to New Hampshire and starting her own business in the auto industry, Nancy joined forces with Paul Holloway to found the New Hampshire Automobile Dealer Association’s Charitable Foundation. The Foundation funded and administered a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children called Kids and Company: Together for Safety in over half of all public and private elementary schools in the state. The program trained hundreds of teachers, social workers and police officers annually and ran for 8 years.

In 2005, she and her husband orchestrated the construction of the first phase of a summer camp in New Hampshire for The Circle Program for at-risk girls between the ages of 9 and 13.

More recently, Nancy launched her own campaign to bring awareness to the crisis of youth homelessness in our state by producing the independent documentary film 404 Not Found with the help and support of Waypoint (formerly Child and Family Services).  The film depicts the extraordinarily difficult lives of young people ages 12 to 24 who couch surf, live in the woods and in cars with no place to call home and no one to care for them. The film was selected as a feature in film festivals in New England and continues to be screened to groups working towards addressing the needs of our homeless youth.   She also founded  EXETER AREA SCHOLARSHIPS  The Different Fund to provide funding for students from difficult home situations who wish to attend any form of secondary schooling or training.

In addition to her volunteer work, Nancy is a very generous contributor to CASA. In 2016, she founded Cars for CASA, a partnership of automobile industry colleagues who have financially supported CASA’s largest fundraising event, CASA Cares. Cars for CASA includes Robert MacDonald of Bernstein Shur Sawyer & Nelson, Sheree Kaplan of Milford Subaru, Dennis Gaudet of AutoServ and Dan Enxing of Volvo Cars of Exeter.  The group has donated thousands of dollars to CASA over the last several years, and generated significant awareness for CASA’s mission. Last year, Cars for CASA became Cars for Causes as Nancy and her team participated in the Child and Family Services Sleep OUT for which they were deemed the second most successful fundraisers.

This May, Cars for CASA is once again a sponsor for CASA Cares and the group has generously donated it’s tickets to Volunteer Advocates who have served CASA for 20 or more years.

CASA is deeply grateful to Nancy and Cars for CASA for their commitment to the children of New Hampshire.

“CASA means so much to me. CASA has changed the lives of all of the children it serves and has literally saved the lives of many.  Without CASA we would have far more sadness, untapped human potential, tragedy and loss in our state than we do today.  As we face more and more difficult family situations, CASA must have more volunteers to enter into one on one relationships with the many abused and neglected children and youth who desperately need help them and who, in return, will give back the greatest gift of all – the opportunity to make better the trajectory of that child’s life.”