Eunice A. Sutherland Burgess Fund for Youth
What constitutes a family? Eunice Burgess was invited to present a paper on that topic by Smith College in 1966. Not everyone comes from a traditional family, but everyone needs the support of someone who cares. Eunice’s parents both experienced foster care when they were children and that surely influenced her decision to go into the field of social work. She spent much of her career focused on child welfare. From the time she graduated from Central Michigan University in 1949 until her retirement in 1984, her empathy for children in unique situations grew.
Children in foster care may experience challenges in getting the health, mental health, education, and other special services they need. Although foster care is intended to be temporary, many children stay in foster care for long periods of time.
It's no stretch to say that a person has a serious advantage in life if they come from a loving, supportive home, biological or not. Eunice has chosen to establish an endowment fund that would help benefit those Isabella County youth in, and aging out of, foster care. At any time, our community has approximately 100 youth in that category. Eunice is eager to see that they are partakers of projects and programs that can help them succeed in life, particularly those opportunities for which the State does not pay.
Eunice's interest in meeting the special needs of foster children came together with the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation to establish the Eunice A. Sutherland Burgess Fund for Youth. This fund will provide grants to charitable organizations, now and for years to come, for the benefit of Isabella County youth in foster care. Eunice says, "If you have a heart's desire and don't know what to do, the Foundation is a good place to go."