If the damage done by graft was only measured in dollars and cents, the effects of Mary Holden Ayala’s crimes would be limited to the approximately $1 million she stole from the organization she ran. But when that organization was responsible for providing much-needed services for children in foster care, the damage must also be measured by the young people harmed, the employees unpaid, and the hole left in the community when the organization was forced to close.

In June 2019, Ayala, 59, was sentenced to 33 months in prison after a federal jury in Portland, Oregon, found her guilty of five counts of theft concerning a program receiving federal funds, two counts of engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property, and seven counts of filing a false tax return.

Give Us This Day, the organization where Ayala served as president and executive director, closed in October 2015 after decades of serving the East Portland community. The organization provided care for high-risk children who could be difficult to place in foster care settings because of their ages or histories. It was founded with the belief that children are best served within their community. Until its problem-ridden final years, the FBI agents who worked on Ayala’s case said Give Us This Day was a reputable and needed organization within the community. Read more by clicking here: FBI