Nancy Bissell is the co-founder of Primavera Foundation, which she established in 1983 along with her colleague, Gordon Packard. As longtime Tucsonans, Nancy and Gordon had a desire to build a grassroots response to the growing crisis of homelessness first encountered in the early 1980s. As Primavera began to grow, the two learned of the many interconnected forces underlying poverty and realized that providing just emergency services was not sufficient.
With the help of Primavera’s first board of directors, and with no paid staff, Nancy and Gordon developed services along a broad spectrum, from the most basic emergency shelter to more permanent housing and job development programs. Along the way, they developed a local, then a national, fundraising base that has allowed Primavera to expand during the past 40 years into the organization it is today. Nancy remains active in Primavera Foundation as a volunteer and occasional consultant.