(Editor’s note: The following is an open letter from Eddie N. Fakhoury, executive director of the Dearborn Public Schools Education Foundation.)
In 2009, inspired by the promise and challenge of leading the Dearborn Education Foundation’s rebirth, I jumped at the chance to become its first executive director, a position created, not to maintain the status quo, but to re-chart the course of this organization.
Over the years, with the strategic plan as my mandate and with the board of directors as my guide, I built infrastructure, designed a brand identity, cultivated partnerships, and generated new funding, including:
• Recruiting dozens of new corporate partners.
• Started an accelerated Donor Wall to highlight the wonderful individual, institutional and corporate partners that have made this Foundation a success.
• More than doubling payroll deduction participation and revenue.
• Establishing “FORE Dearborn” which has become the Foundation’s signature event, co-chaired by the mayor and the district’s superintendent.
• Creating the annual Green Tie spring dinner in 2014 to recognize the success of students, the district and to thank Foundation partners for their support
• Working with individual donors to invest in the Foundation resulting in over six new scholarship funds providing thousands of dollars to Dearborn students each year
• Sparking a two track funding system that includes the creation of the Vision fund which is to serve as a catalyst for an endowment (to date has over $75,000).
• Pioneering the Foundation’s first Big Shot 50/50 Raffle which has raised over $100,000 since its inception in 2013.
• Securing over $200,000 in grant revenue in both private and corporate arenas since 2014
Today, I can report with pride that the Foundation has successfully transitioned from an obscure organization with limited impact to a critical partner with growing and unlimited potential to effect positive change in our district:
• The Foundation is in its strongest cash position in its 24-year history.
• Overall revenues have increased by more than 50 percent.
• The funding of teacher grants have increased from an average of approximately $60,000 prior to 2010 to over $100,000 annually since becoming the Foundation’s first executive director
For six years, I have eagerly worked for this moment, when I could say that the Foundation is solidly on the course of sustainable growth, but reaching this pinnacle moment is bittersweet. Though I have cherished my time with the Foundation, my role was only to re-chart the course. Now, it will be the role of the next executive director, the board, and the community to stay the course.
And so, with much gratitude for the opportunity provided to me by the Foundation’s board and the school district and for the trust placed in the Foundation by our business and community partners, parents, and educators, I announce my resignation as executive director. I will always remain committed to the Foundation; I am forever tied to its mission and invested in its success.
Eddie N. Fakhoury
Dearborn Education Foundation