Advisory Committee

The Independent Advisory Committee is made up of individuals from our community. They are responsible on an ongoing basis for:

  • Selecting charities to receive grants from the General Fund
  • Determining the amounts to be distributed to the selected charities
  • Monitoring the actions of the Trustee

Advisory Committee Members:

Mary C. Gavin (Chair)
Board Member since: 2009

Mary Gavin is Certified Public Accountant and a principal of Gavin and LaVigne, Inc., a firm offering capital financing to hospitals and nursing homes. She has held fundraising, leadership and board positions with the Girl Scouts, Saratoga Hospital and Saratoga Central Catholic School.

Ms. Gavin lives in Saratoga Springs with her husband and their three children.

Colleen Carlson
Board Member since: 2016

Colleen Carlson is a lifelong resident of Saratoga Springs and is the Director at Saratoga Casino Hotel.

Ms. Carlson’s volunteer leadership includes fundraising and board positions on the Saratoga Hospital Foundation, Saratoga Springs Recreation Commission, Jake’s Help from Heaven, The Flower and Fruit Mission of Saratoga Hospital, and Skidmore College. Ms. Carlson and her husband Skip have three children and two dogs.

Jean Dugan
Board Member since: 2015

Jean Dugan is an Information Technology and Project Management Professional who retired after a thirty year career in the financial services industry. Jean has lived and volunteered in Saratoga Springs since 2006.

Mary Hallquist
Board Member since: 2015

Mary Hallquist is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is currently employed by Four Winds Hospital. She was born and raised in Saratoga Springs, NY and returned in 2013 after living in Vermont for 8 years. She currently lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with her husband and two small children.

Caroline Putman
Board Member since: 2014

Caroline has lived in the Saratoga region for most of her life. She has volunteered for organizations such as SPAC, Yaddo, and BH-BL High School.

While living in Irvine, California she volunteered as Treasurer and Communications Secretary on the Board of the National Charity League – Rancho Irvine Chapter, as Board Communications Chair for Operation Valentine, as Registrar for FC Irvine soccer club, and as a volunteer on multiple school projects.

Brian Straughter, Ed.D.
Board Member since: 2016

Brian serves as President of Turf Hotels, a local hotel management company in the Capital District. As President, he is an active owner/operator of five local properties: Hampton Inn & Suites Saratoga Springs Downtown, Hampton Inn Western Avenue, Homewood Suites by Hilton Albany, Staybridge Suites Albany and Holiday Inn Resort Lake George.

He is actively involved in a number of other charities and organizations. He and his wife co-founded Jake’s Help From Heaven following the death of their four-year old son in 2011 to support those with multiple medical challenges living within 100 miles of Saratoga Springs, NY. Brian also serves on the Board of Directors of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, the Saratoga Springs YMCA and the UAlbany Foundation.

Prior to his work in hotel management,  he was principal at the Mission Hill School in Boston, MA. He relocated to Saratoga Springs in 2006 to be closer to his wife’s family and has very much enjoyed his career change.


Advisory Committee members are appointed for a three-year term.