Zax retires after 40 years with Child and Family Services


Ruth Zax of Henniker, NH, retires from Child and Family Services after 40 years of dedicated service to the agency.  

Zax received her bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a master’s in education from University of New Hampshire.  She began at CFS in 1975 as part of the advocacy team, which grew into what is known today as the NH Children’s Lobby.  As community organizer, she worked to establish or strengthen legislation that would guard the rights and serve the needs of NH children.  She spear-headed training conferences for child advocates and helped to expand foster care in New Hampshire.  As well, she worked tirelessly to protect children from abuse and neglect, and to aid impoverished families.

In 1983, Zax was appointed to the position of director of development.  In her 32 years in that position, she raised over $30 million dollars, which helped to grow the agency to a statewide organization with 14 office sites and 28 programs serving over 14,000 children and families, annually.

A pioneer in the world of philanthropy, Zax initiated the CFS planned giving program, launched a signature event series Concerts for the Cause that lasted 29 years, introduced board development programs statewide, and conducted three major capital campaigns that served to expand Camp Spaulding and to establish the Teen Resource Center for homeless youth. Zax also co-produced the book, No Higher Calling, upon the agency’s sesquicentennial.

In addition to her work at CFS, Zax has volunteered her time, talent, and treasure throughout the community, dedicating herself to causes of the Henniker Rotary Club, the Girl Scouts, the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Capitol Center for the Arts, the Town of Henniker, Temple Beth Jacob, Concord Chorale, and to a variety of animal causes.  She was also co-founder and board member of the Women’s Fund of NH.

“Ruth is an example of what happens when passion and purpose collide,” says CFS president/CEO, Borja Alvarez de Toledo.  “Her belief that children are entitled to nurturance, protection, and the chance to reach their full potential, is evidenced in her four decades of amazing work on their behalf.  The legacy she leaves will be felt by New Hampshire children and families for generations to come.”

Zax will continue on part-time with CFS, managing major gifts through the end of the year.  She will be feted at the agency’s annual Celebration event, coming up on October 21.