Faculty and Staff Directory

Mary Carraher, MSW

Mary Carraher BSW Field Education Coordinator

Contact information

Education 115
1586 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1586
(970) 491-3297

Areas of Interest

Women’s issues, poverty alleviation, career decision making, organizational development, legislative and social advocacy.


Mary Carraher has served as the Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency for 25 years. She came to Larimer County from Adams County where she was the first Executive Director for ACCESS Housing, a position she held for five years. Other work experiences include employment with Big Sisters of Colorado, the Denver Department of Social Services, the Arapahoe County Department of Social Services, and Orient State Institution for the Developmentally Disabled in Ohio.
Mary holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Denver with an emphasis in Social Planning and Administration. Her expertise includes the development and management of programs for low-income families, grant proposal writing, fund development, and community relations. During the time Mary has been with Project Self-Sufficiency, the organization has added a scholarship fund for single parents enrolled in PS-S, a child care grant program, an emergency fund for the families, a children’s enrichment fund, the “Cars for Families” program to meet the transportation needs of single parents, a volunteer car repair program, self-esteem building classes for program participants, holiday assistance, and enhanced career planning services.
During Mary’s career she has served as the Chair for the Affordable Housing Board for the City of Fort Collins, as the Chair for the Victim Compensation Board for the local judicial district, as a member of the editorial board for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, and was a founding and long-time board member for Funding Partners for Housing Solutions, a statewide organization based in Fort Collins. Currently Mary is a board member for the Colorado Nonprofit Association in Denver and serves on the Advisory Committee for the Larimer County Community Services Block Grant Program.
Honors include the 2013 Collaborator of the Year Award presented by United Way of Larimer County; the 2012 Service Above Self Award presented by the Rotary Club of Fort Collins; a 2010 “Women of Distinction” award presented by the Northern Colorado Business Report; the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work 2008 Robert L. Hawkins Social Work Achievement Award; the 2007 Women’s Foundation of Colorado “Be Bold” Award; and the 2004 Marcile N. Wood Award from the City of Fort Collins Women’s Commission.
Mary has one daughter, Sheila Cosgrove Baylis, who lives in Long Island, New York, with her husband Chris. Mary's interests are hiking, gardening, and photography.

Degree Information

Master of Social Work, June 1981, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver
Bachelor of Arts, May 1972, Social Welfare and Psychology, University of Nebraska

Academic Appointments

October 2014 - present: Distance Learning Field Education Coordinator, School of Social Work, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

Professional post–baccalaureate and post–master’s social work experience

October 1989 - December 2014: Executive Director, Project Self-Sufficiency, Loveland, CO
April 1984 - October 1989: Executive Director, ACCESS Housing, Adams County, CO
September 1981 - April 1984: Jefferson County Coordinator, Big Sisters of Colorado, Denver, CO
1978 - 1981: Child Protection Worker, Arapahoe County Social Services, Arapahoe County, CO
1974 - 1976: Caseworker, Denver Department of Social Services, Denver, CO

Current professional, academic, community-related, and scientific memberships

Advisory Committee Member, Community Services Block Grant Program, Larimer County Human Services, 2012 - present
Board Member, Colorado Nonprofit Association, 2011 - present

Community service responsibilities and activities for the last 3 years - Community Research

Report on Community Need and Implementation Feasibility: Replication of Project Self-Sufficiency Services in Durango and La Plata County, July 2014.

Special awards, fellowships, grants, and other recognitions received during the last 3 years

Collaborator of the Year Award, presented by United Way of Larimer County, 2013
Service Above Self Award, presented by the Rotary Club of Fort Collins, 2012