Nancy Colt: Vollie gives self and time to fight cancer

Nancy Colt
Photo by Louise Wateridge

When you work for the American Cancer Society, you’re basically a philanthropist 24-7. To prove it, let’s take a look at how Nancy Colt describes her job.

“I manage the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life portfolio in New York City,” she says. “This year we will hold close to 30 events all around the city, and our goal is to raise close to $2 million to fuel our mission.”

The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life initiative focuses on fund-raising events at the grass-roots level.

“Relay For Life brings communities together to support our family members, neighbors, and friends in the fight against cancer,” says Colt.

The Woman of Distinction works with businesses, companies, schools, organizations, individuals, and anyone else who has an interest in the fight against cancer to raise money to fund the American Cancer Society’s research programs and to offer support help to patients, survivors, caregivers, and families who are affected by the disease.

Many people volunteer their time to this cause — a selfless act that Colt truly admires — and her favorite part of the job is the hard work and selflessness of the volunteers.

As much as she admires the altruism, Colt wasn’t always planning to dedicate herself to such a cause. She attended the University of Vermont as a fashion major before changing to economics. She might have changed her mind about what career to pursue, but she knew one thing for sure — she belonged in New York.

“I have lived in New York since I graduated from college 30 years ago,” she says. “It was the only place I wanted to be.”

And she adores Brooklyn.

“I think it’s all about the different neighborhoods, and that fact that we are such a melting pot,” she says. “As far as I’m concerned Brooklyn is the center of the universe.”

Colt is married to her college sweetheart, Michael Colt, and she has two children, Sophie, 21, and Charlie, 19. The family loves going to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

“It’s right on the water overlooking Manhattan,” says Colt. “Last year we were in a bocce ball league, and played every Thursday night during the spring — it was so much fun, and the views can’t be beat!”

So is this born-in-Jersey-girl a true borough convert? Joe Gillette, who nominated Colt for this accolade, had this to say:

“When you are born in Brooklyn, you identify with the neighborhood where you grew up, but Nancy grew up in Jersey and became a Brooklyn girl,” he says. “Void of that allegiance most of us Brooklynites have to our neighborhoods, Nancy has been able to equally embrace all of Brooklyn, and that trait is reflected in her work with the American Cancer Society and how she has performed outreach for those in need in every corner of our great borough.”

Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights.

Occupation: Income development and community engagement.

Company: American Cancer Society.

Claim to Fame: “I make the best sticky buns from scratch!”

Favorite Brooklyn Place: The bocce ball court at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Woman I Admire: “My mom Joan Greene because she helped blaze the trail for today’s women who have families and successful careers.”

Motto: “Don’t ask for permission; beg for forgiveness.”

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