Letter From June D. Barnard
To our beneficiaries, stakeholder, and friends,
I have always respected the work of visionaries on the frontline of charitable missions. Walter and Lucienne Driskill’s passion for education, science and medical research have been transformative and inspiring. Through their formation of the Driskill Foundation in 1987, they have funded several major medical research undertakings with institutions such as the Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Mayo Clinic, Oregon Health and Science University, Sloan Kettering Medical Center and Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.
My husband and I were close friends with Walter and Lucienne even before we were involved with the Foundation. Mr. Driskill passed away in 1998, leaving Mrs. Driskill at the helm until her passing in 2009. I have been an active part of the Foundation since it was fully funded in 2009 and became a member of the Board in 2013. In 2014, I was tasked to carry on the Driskill legacy as the President/CEO. It is more than my cherished friendship with the Driskills that drives me to fulfill their legacy; it is my passion for their mission that truly propels me. The roots of the Driskill mission have remained the same – to promote advancements in medicine and science – but our strategy and direction have evolved with this mission.
Working closely with students spanning from the elementary to Ph.D. levels, I was surprised at the lack of educational programs exposing students to science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEM aka STEAM). Upon further research, I learned that many high schools don’t even offer physics or calculus and that the U.S. continues to lag internationally in STEM education and the arts. While my interest and commitment in STEM were the impetus for our mission, I became impassioned to cultivate our next generation’s curiosity and passion for learning across all educational areas, one program and one partnership at a time.
In January of 2017, we formed a public educational 501c3 foundation. In honor of Walter and Lucienne, it is named The Driskill Foundation. We at the Driskill Foundation believe that ground-breaking discoveries and innovations start with a passion and curiosity from the earliest education levels onward. It is a spark of interest that can spur professionals such as scientists, engineers, teachers, artists, lawyers, doctors and most importantly develop what they are curiously passionate about and do great things.
While we have a legacy of greatness to build upon, our mission is evolving, and we are looking for new partnerships. We are also looking to the public to join our mission and provide support. We believe that by focusing on a few big goals and collaborating with our partners on innovative programs, we can set the groundwork for our next generation of thinkers and spur new discoveries. Whether you call it STEM or STEAM, we call it an opportunity to discover and explore with curiosity and passion for learning.
June D. Barnard
President and CEO