It is with deep sadness but also a spirit of life celebration that we mourn the passing of April Lindsay (April 15, 1972 – Oct. 22, 2020). April was a beloved member of the NEO Philanthropy family and is fondly remembered by her colleagues in NY and around the country. She died peacefully in NY after a short illness. She is survived by her husband, Will Hodgins, and a large Irish family hailing from Nenagh, in County Tipperary, Ireland.
April was known for her bright personality, problem-solving “can do” approach to work, proud Irish spirit, humor, and her talents as an artist outside of the office. As office manager and special assistant to the president of NEO, Michele Lord, April was often the “face of NEO” to anyone visiting the organization’s NY headquarter offices. She was always able to put NEO’s visitors, funders and grantees at ease with her special welcoming charm and warm hospitality.
April joined NEO Philanthropy in 2013 as executive assistant and in 2016 she transitioned to office manager. In this role, she used her resourcefulness, creativity and integrity to maintain and improve efficiency and productivity at NEO.
When asked what she loved about her job, April replied: “Handling the multitude of day-to-day activities in the office gives my colleagues more bandwidth to make contributions to social justice organizations on the ground. Knowing that I contribute to that work brings me true joy.”
April had a long standing commitment to human rights and social justice. Prior to joining NEO Philanthropy, April worked at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. She began her UN career as an Assistant to the Emerging and Humanitarian Response Team. Having adventured around the world solo, she later returned to WHO, this time as an Assistant in the Department of Communicable Disease, Surveillance and Response.
April was paid tribute to in remarks made by Dr. Michael J. Ryan, WHO Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director, and seconded by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, WHO, on Oct. 26, 2020, in Geneva, Switzerland, at the conclusion of WHO’s press conference on COVID.
“Not related to COVID, [but] many of us here at WHO a number of years ago worked with a wonderful person who passed away…currently her funeral mass is ongoing in NY as we speak. It speaks to those people in our organizations who are never seen, they’re never on press conferences, they’re never in the public domain, they don’t publish scientific papers, but they keep our organization going. Our administrative, our support staff, our logistics staff, our procurement staff, the people who actually run this organization and make it a success. April Lindsay was a friend of many of us here at WHO. She was from Nenagh, in Tipperary, Ireland, but someone who had such a wide range of international friends. She died in NY. She had such a positive impact on all of our lives here in WHO, so many of us in this organization. She was a wonderful professional, always fun, and we will miss her dearly here at WHO. [We] mourn the passing of one our own, who was one of our own, and one of the people who make our organization work.”
Outside of her work life, April was passionate about art and natural forms of healing. She was an accomplished painter and maker of mandalas, and had a BA in Healing Arts from the University of Derby, UK. She volunteered as a healing arts facilitator with many organizations in the UK and Ireland and more recently, her own healing art was commissioned by NYU Langone Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health.
“April had a unique ability to make everyone — stranger or friend — feel comfortable and welcome,” said NEO President Michele Lord. “She had your back all the time but also held you accountable when you were not living up to your best potential. She moved through the world with a kind of freedom and openness that few of us could emulate. She was a visionary and visual person- who saw beauty and wonder everywhere.”
Added NEO Chief Operating Officer Erin Ballard, “April had an incredible gift for connection and she made people feel seen and valued with seemingly little effort and endless wit. Before COVID, her smile and her Irish lilt were the first thing to greet the NEO HQ staff and visitors to our office each and every day. She was the heart and soul of our office.”