Based on my experience, one of the most rewarding aspects of a career in philanthropy is seeing a legacy live through gifts that reflect an individual’s life. I want to share a new example of that with you.

One of the individuals who was instrumental to the founding of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation is now being memorialized by a gift to our Foundation. Dr. Kenneth Stephen Burnley, a DPS graduate, was Superintendent of Schools when the Foundation was formed.  He shared the vision for a public-private partnership to form a separate foundation to benefit the children of Detroit.

Last summer, five years after leaving his position of CEO of DPS, Dr. Burnley passed away. At the time, he was superintendent of a school district in Alaska, following his passion of leading change inside school systems in need of new ideas and approaches. Following his death, his wife, Eileen Burnley, has established scholarship funds to benefit students in each of the school districts where Dr. Burnley served as superintendent.

The Dr. Kenneth Stephen Burnley Memorial Fund to benefit DPS students is now established at our Foundation. Mrs. Burnley provided the initial funding of $5000, designed to help DPS students reach educational goals. Funds can be applied toward costs such as textbooks, lab fees, uniforms or anything else directly associated with studies.

Dr. Burnley’s commitment to Detroit students will now carry on for a new generation.  We are very pleased that our Foundation could help Mrs. Burnley accomplish her philanthropic goal.