The Mary Jane Semcer Research Legacy Fund

Frank and Mary Jane Semcer

Mary Jane Semcer has dedicated her life to helping others. As a philanthropist, devoted wife, and nurturing mother, her love and generosity have shaped a better world for so many individuals and institutions.  As co-founder of the newly created Mary Jane Research Legacy Fund, she is dedicated to helping cure PSP and hopes you will help support this important research initiative.

Mary Jane was born in Newark, New Jersey to Imelda and Frank Donnelly. She attended the Academy of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station NJ before graduating from Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts with a BS in Merchandising and Advertising. She began her career in accounting at Donnelly Brothers Insurance before starting her own family.

She is married to Frank J. Semcer and they are blessed with six children and 16 grandchildren. Her volunteer work began at the PTAs of Glenwood Elementary School in Short Hills, New Jersey and Millburn Township school systems. She continued her volunteer work in the Millburn Short Hills community through her roles as Public Relations Chair for the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills, Recording Secretary for the Short Hills Association, member of the Ladies Auxiliary of St. Rose of Lima Church in Short Hills, Meals on Wheels of Essex County, and board member of the Coalition Against Aircraft Noise in Far Hills, New Jersey.

Mary Jane and Frank have championed education in their philanthropic efforts and communities.  They support key academic institutions, including Stevens Institute of Technology, Seton Hall Prep and St. Benedicts Prep.  To encourage a legacy of philanthropy in their own family, they created “Christmas Family Giving,” an annual giving and volunteering tradition that supports charities chosen by their grandchildren. To date, more than 32 charities have received donations including Mary’s Place by the Sea, The Shelter for Abused Women, Chimphaven, The Elephant Sanctuary, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Active community members of Short Hills, Far Hills, and Bonita Springs, Mary Jane and Frank have been members of various golf clubs. It was through difficulty playing golf that the first signs of PSP appeared. The ability to turn became increasingly difficult. Originally diagnosed as Parkinson’s, Mary Jane and Frank relentlessly sought more information and treatment as Mary Jane did not respond to traditional Parkinson’s therapy and new symptoms appeared.  Ultimately, their journey brought them to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. It was there that she was diagnosed with PSP. This active search for her own diagnosis inspired her to create more opportunities for PSP research. Mary Jane and Frank hope you will join them to help cure this disease and help scientists gain new insights into PSP and related diseases.