About Us

Carrying on Molly’s legacy – helping kids thrive through the arts and beyond

Our Mission, Molly's Vision

The MollyB Foundation was established to provide children in need the opportunity to find their voice and create happiness through participation in activities that support positive mental health and inclusion.

Molly’s vision was to make people happy and her foundation assures she can continue to do so.

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Molly's Story

Mary Elizabeth (Molly) Banzhoff was born on April 1st, 2003 – an old soul from the moment she arrived.

Molly spent her life curious about everything.

Molly died May 7th, 2016 of an undiagnosed brain tumor. But in her 13 years and 1 month on earth Molly managed to stand out in everything she did.

Molly cared about people and wanted everyone to be happy.  She gave to and supported everyone she could.

She chose a project partner in class who was always teased by others. She started a reading club on the playground so a classmate would not be alone at recess.

Molly was known among her peers as someone who helped everyone…

and worked hard to make sure no one ever felt left out.

Molly was on life support for 5 days, and over that time, more than 600 people came to the hospital to say goodbye to her.

Her death shook the school, dance, and theater communities and devastated her family. 

Molly’s memorial service “MollyB The Musical” filled a 1300-seat theater.

Gracie, who was closest to Molly, misses her the most… and life for those who knew her is irreparably changed.

We created the MollyB Scholarship Fund soon after Molly’s death, eventually establishing the MollyB Foundation.

Molly and Gracie in 2014 in pink sequin tap dance outfits

This is Gracie and Molly in 2014. They were in a large tap dance called Boogie fever. I have a video of Molly doing this dance in front of her entire elementary school. This was taken at The capitol Center for the Arts

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We celebrate Molly’s memory

The #❤️heartmollyb logo (the OG) was created by a close friend of Molly’s, and it continues to deeply connect Molly’s family, friends, and local community.

On the second Monday in May, we wear pink and perform random acts of kindness in honor of her memory.

Through the MollyB Foundation, you can join us in celebrating Molly’s memory, and bring happiness to lives of others.

Just as we imagine she would have loved for us to do.

Please join us in carrying on Molly’s legacy.

OUR IMPACT

What We Do

The MollyB Foundation supports children who are interested in the arts, but need the funds to support their dreams.

Participating in the arts teaches children how to cooperate with and be supportive of others, take healthy risks, and learn the nuances of storytelling.

By working with others while connecting to the stories of their characters, children experience enhanced creativity, empathy, and improved critical thinking skills – all while building a community.

 

 

 

 

 

Carrying Out Our Mission

We have donated over $70,000 dollars, sponsored over 50 events, and supported over 100 kids.

Sponsorship & Other Activities

We carry out our mission through several activities, including sponsoring our local RB Productions Theater Company, providing tee-shirts and camp scholarships for youth theater, and buying musical instruments for local schools.

$13,000 of Annual Dance & Theatre Scholarships

We provide scholarships to graduating seniors and give The Spirit of MollyB Award at her elementary and middle school each spring.

Students and families who would like to participate in the Track Camp, Theater Camp, request a Scholarship, or other support, please contact us to share your request. For people who want to make it possible for us to help more youth experience the arts and beyond, please consider donating to MollyB Foundation at the link below.

Help us continue to positively impact children's lives and our community.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Meet the Board

The MollyB Foundation Board of Directors is a group of nine people with  unique yet strong connections with Molly, her family and her mission.  Each brings with them a wide variety of skills into their service as members. In running a foundation that will further Molly’s mission, that all children have the opportunities she had, each member of our board represents an important part of her life. We could not continue without their help.  Each person on this board jumped at the change to be a part of whatever comes next!
Barb Higgins
Barb Higgins - Founder
Bethany
Bethany Judge - President
Karen Braz
Karen Braz - Vice-President
amy s 300px
Aimee Szumiesz - Treasurer
deb claugherty
Deb Clougherty - Secretary
Jenn Hunger
Jenn Hunger
Bonnie Larochelle
Bonnie Larochelle
Taylor_Clint_Klose
Clint Klose
heart MollyB original logo
bridget_photo
Bridget Ferns
Maria_Iozza
Maria Iozza Taylor
mollyb logo with dragonfly

Donate Your Way

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75 South Main St. PMB 197
Concord NH 03301

BOARD Founder

Barb Higgins

Barbara Higgins is Molly’s mother.

An educator at heart she also loves athletics, music, theater and the arts. Barb (as she is called) graduated from Boston University (BU) in 1986 with a Master’s in Education. She also has a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (C.A.G.S.) from Plymouth State University in Educational Leadership through Arts Integration.

She has taught elementary, special, and physical education as well as health. She has coached cross-country and track and field for over 30 years. A Division One All American in Track and Field at BU in 1983, Barb was a competitive runner for many years competing for Nike before returning to her hometown in 1989.

Barb currently coaches (and works out) at three Crossfit gyms, has a Podcast and a Blog called A Thousand Tiny Steps. She recently published her memoir, Motherland.

The creation and development of The MollyB Foundation keeps the best parts of Molly alive while helping others to achieve their goals.

Board President

Bethany Judge

Bethany Judge comes to The MollyB Foundation through her lifelong connection to Barb. They met at Walker School when Bethany was just seven years old. Bethany’s daughter Mykaila was best friends with Gracie and Molly.

Bethany is the co-director of Barb’s Track Camp. The families enjoy regular trips to Disney and swimming in each other’s pools.

Bethany has extensive non-profit experience having sat on the boards of the booster clubs NH School of Ballet and Concord Dance Academy. Her fundraising expertise and vast network in the dance and theater community are a major boost for the foundation.

Bethany lives in Hooksett NH with her husband Kieth and five of her six daughters. As a homeschooling child caring team coaching event organizing mother Bethany always gets it done! Most importantly, Molly loved Bethany and spending time at her house.

Vice-President

Karen Braz

Karen Braz, the director of Molly’s final show, Bye Bye Birdie joins the board with a strong connection to both Molly and Barb. 

Life long friends, Karen and Barb have known one another since 1979. Karen is a retired school district ASL interpreter and teacher. A long-time thespian Karen has been a stage performer her entire life. She brings a desire to serve with a healthy love of theater and a solid
understanding of how participation in theater can help children thrive. 

She is the epitome of all that Molly loved about theater.

BOARD TREASURER

Aimee Szumiesz

Aimee is a driven individual who enjoys learning new skills. A holder of a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in behavior analysis, Aimee is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.

Her focus on helping others is exemplified through her experiences in special education, coaching young athletes in the javelin, and volunteering at her church where she works closely with the homeless population.

Aimee jumped at the chance to be a part of the MollyB Foundation and to continue Molly’s purpose, bringing joy to people’s lives. She has known Molly since her birth through running and throwing for Barb in high school. She would like to take the tragedy of Molly’s passing and transform it into a national fixture of awareness and hope for others sharing a similar experience.

Aimee currently resides near the seacoast in New Hampshire and works as a school bus driver for the Exeter School District. She enjoys carpentry, gardening, hiking, camping, and board games.

Secretary

Deb Clougherty

Deb Clougherty comes to the MollyB Foundation through a close connection to Barb and Gracie. A claims analyst representative at Northeast Delta Dental, she is the mother of Gracie’s best friend Erin. Barb and Deb were in the same childbirth class when they were pregnant with those two! Deb brings community and energy to the board. 

She is well known and loved in the Concord area and knows many of Gracie and Molly’s friends. She met Molly when Gracie and Erin connected in a production of Thoroughly Modern Millie at Rundlett Middle School. 

She is committed to maintaining Molly’s memory through giving her time to the foundation.

Board Member

Jenn Hunger

Jenn Hunger, the mother of Rachel, comes to the MollyB Foundation through a deep connection with the Banzhoff family. Jenn lost her daughter Rachel in 2019.

The many connections between Molly and Rachel’s circumstances drew Barb and Jenn into a meaningful and forever friendship. Jenn owns Little Sprouts Child Care Center in Bow where Barb’s daughter Gracie has worked, and her son Jack has received care.

Her daughter Allison and Son Jake live with Jenn and her husband Dave. Honoring our children is what drew Jenn to the MollyB Foundation. She is in the process of establishing a similar foundation to honor her daughter Rachel who died from an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts.

Board Member

Bonnie Larochelle

Bonnie Larochelle is a long time Concord resident and a retired school teacher. She had Gracie in both first and third grade and Molly in third grade at Kimball School. Her tender care of Gracie and ability to challenge Molly made her an instant favorite with both of them. The mothers day poems she had her classes create still hang on Barb’s office walls. Memories of her last day of school parties at her lake house are a legendary part of Gracie’s memory.

Bonnie brings organization and community connections to the board, as well as a strong connection to the Higgins/Banzhoff Family.

Barb coached both of Bonnie’s children, Amy and Tom when they were at RMS and CHS. Her grandchildren attend Barb’s Track Camp.

BOARD MEMBER

Clint Klose

Clint lives in Concord, NH. where he works as a Theatre Teacher at Concord High School and as the Artistic Director for RB Productions. 

Clint joins as a founding member of the board because, as he said, “I would like to help the foundation raise money and carry out Molly’s mission of making people happy.”   When asked what he hopes to accomplish as a board member, he described that he wants to “bring community members joy and happiness — as a way to give back the same joy that theatre has given to me.” 

As the company sponsor for RB Productions, Clint provides a strong connection between the two foundations. Clint’s interests include family, theatre, cooking, travel, and All Things Broadway. He met Molly when she participated in theatre productions at Rundlett Middle School and RB Productions.

Board Member

Bridget Ferns

Bridget Ferns, a long-time friend of Molly’s mother, comes to the board providing financial and legal expertise.

A graduate of Boston College and Boston University School of Law, Bridget was an Estate Attorney at Upton and Hatfield in Concord NH for 25 years. She has also provided travel planning since retiring from active law practice and is a certified Disney travel planner which is a nice Molly connection.

Her sons Tim and Patrick are active collegiate athletes in Track & Field at Notre Dame and Football at Middlebury respectively and her husband Paul works in finance.

She comes to the MollyB Foundation as someone who understands the importance of family and friends and who wants the best for the Molly’s Family.

Board Member

Maria Iozza Taylor

Maria comes to the MollyB Foundation as a champion of children expressing themselves through athletics and the arts. 

A collegiate basketball player at Southern Connecticut State College and a lifetime dancer, Maria has coached and taught both of these activities throughout her adult life. 

Her children Kayla and Derek both danced with Molly at CDA. Having earned her MBA at Emmanuel College, Maria is currently the Marketing and Office Manager at M.S. Walker Inc. She teaches hip hop to children and adults in the evenings at CDA and follows the achievements of her children.  Derek is currently performing on Broadway while Kayla is at Columbia majoring in Psychology and Dance. 

Maria is a part of the MollyB Foundation not only because she loved Molly but because she represents what Molly loved, singing, dancing, acting and making others happy!