DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Dutchess County community is mourning the death of Diana Gurieva, who led the Millbrook-based Dyson Foundation through a 24-year period of growth and influence that helped the philanthropic shape the fabric of the region.
Gurieva died on Monday at her home in Clinton following a battle with cancer. She was 67.
Gurieva led the Dyson Foundation during a period of major expansion and civic engagement, overseeing an increase in total assets from $12 million to its current $210 million and growth in its grantmaking from $4 million to $18 million annually.
"There are few people who had as much positive influence on the Mid-Hudson Valley as Diana Gurieva," said Robert R. Dyson, the chairman of the foundation. "Her incisive intellect, broad perspective and quiet judgment enabled her to create and expand needed services and projects throughout our region. She was a close friend and an important advisor to the Dyson family for decades. She will be missed by all those who shared her love of the Mid-Hudson Valley community."
Gurieva, who was born in England and raised in California and Europe, came to Dutchess County was as a student at Vassar College, where she graduated in 1971. She returned to Dutchess 20 years later as the executive director of the Dyson Foundation in 1991 and served in that role until stepping down in June 2015.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our good friend and community leader Diana Gurieva," Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said. "Diana fought hard for what she believed in, and she did so effectively with dignity and a discerning character, improving our community and our quality of life. Our thoughts of Diana will never fade, and our prayers are with her family and friends during this time of mourning.”
She is survived by her husband, Wayne "Max" Godby and also leaves her beloved dogs, Ollie who was her close companion in her final days, and Nellie and Roxie. Throughout her life, Ms. Gurieva maintained a special passion for improving the lives of the many abandoned and unloved dogs, and had worked with local and other animal rescue and welfare organizations. At the time of her death, she was a board director of the Animal Farm Foundation, founded by her best friend, Jane R. Berkey.
Gurieva had been a board director of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation, the Walkway Over the Hudson, and the Grantmakers Forum of New York.
Instead of a funeral or memorial service or flowers, Gurieva requested that she be memorialized by gifts to animal rescue organizations, Planned Parenthood affiliates, and cancer assistance programs. Specific organizations she supported include the Best Friends Animal Society (National), and Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley.