Nancy MacNeil Daly Riordan, longtime philanthropist and estranged wife of former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, has died of pancreatic cancer at age 68.
Daly was one of Los Angeles' most prominent activists on behalf of abused and neglected children. Her list of accomplishments as a philanthropist, activist, and arts leader is lengthy. Married to CBS executive Robert A. Daly and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan — two notable figures in the worlds of entertainment and politics — Daly used her influence to found and support a number of influential programs that address children's issues.
Daly helped found United Friends of the Children to aid and support children in foster care, providing them with the opportunity to graduate from high school, attend and graduate from college. The organization also helps foster children get a job, find housing and have a support system that moves them gradually towards independence. In 1984, Daly successfully lobbied for the creation of what is now the county Department of Children and Family Services and served on its advisory commission until 1999. Daly helped found the Children's Action Network, which uses the power of the entertainment community to increase awareness about children’s issues. The Children's Action Network works to find homes for the more than 114,000 children in the United States foster care system who are waiting for an adoptive family.
Locally, Daly was a driving force for establishing the Los Angeles County Children & Family Services Commission; the Los Angeles County Family Preservation Program; the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council; the Los Angeles City Commission on Children, Youth and Their Families; and the Getty House Foundation. In 1989, Daly was appointed to the nonpartisan President's Commission on Children, which recommended federal government policy reforms.
In 2003, Daly co-chaired, with former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, a committee to oversee the spending of tobacco tax funds to help provide preschool for all 4-year-olds in the county. Daly joined the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2002 and was elected board chair in 2005. She also served on the boards of the W.M. Keck Foundation and the Los Angeles Opera.
Daly is survived by her three grown children and five grandchildren.
Originally posted on Causecast by Karen Murphy.