Margaret Gage earned a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University in 1967. In 1981 she founded an arms-control organization called the Peace Development Fund (PDF) and served as its executive director for eleven years. Very active in the environmental, anti-war, and campaign-finance-reform movements, Gage in 1985 recived the Council on Foundations‘ inaugural Robert W. Scrivner Award for her “outstanding creativity” as an individual grantmaker.
Following her tenure with PDF, Gage was executive director of the Ottinger Foundation from 1992 through 1999. In 1995 she established the Proteus Fund and became its president and executive director, positions she still holds to this day. As of April 2011, one of Gage’s leading fellow officials at the Proteus Fund was its Peace & Security Programs director, Dini Merz.
In 1997 Gage published the Funder’s Handbook on Money in Politics.
In September 2004, Gage was one of nearly 60 signatories to a political letter crafted by a group called United Progressives for Victory (UPV), whose aim was to defeat President George W. Bush’s reelection bid that November. Addressed to backers of then-independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, the UPV letter urged voters not to support Nader — who had no realistic chance of winning the election — but to cast their ballots instead for Senator John Kerry, who had the potential to unseat Bush. Fellow signers included such notables as Robert Borosage, David Cortright, Susan Shaer, and Norman Solomon.
In addition to her philanthropic and political endeavors, Gage is also a founding board member of the Amherst Arts Cinema, a community performing-arts complex. She is a board member (along with NAACP chairman Julian Bond, among others) of the Council for a Livable World. And she is a board of directors member of Grassroots International.