Promise campaigns across the country use Lake County as inspiration

Promise campaigns across the country use Lake County as inspiration

By Kurt Liedtke

A veritable fortune of financial support for Lake County students exists to pursue higher education opportunities, recognizing that value in education is the key in maintaining economic vitality. Many of these funds have been formed to replicate the intention of the Bernard Daly Education Fund, a mold that is now being used to benefit communities across the country.

At the time of Dr. Daly’s death in 1920 his will dictated that the majority of his fortune should go towards aiding worthy and ambitious young men and women of Lake County to acquire a good education to reflect honor on Lake County and Oregon as good citizens. That fund has resulted in 2,000 college educations, many of those graduates contributing back to the fund so that others may also benefit.

This spirit of giving has spread to many more funds for Lake County students being established, such as the Clinton and Mary Anne Basey Fund, the Gladys and Forrest Cooper Fund, the Mary Mahoney Egan Fund, the Anna F. Jones Educational Foundation Fund and the Donald R. and Norene C. Alger Scholarship Fund. Many of these funds are overseen by the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF), helping coordinate scholarships and charities throughout the state of Oregon.

This model of education scholarship investment has not gone unnoticed, as the Cities of Promise campaign has used Lakeview’s example to benefit communities across the country. A collaborative effort established by the Department of Education Promise Neighborhood initiative designed to create solutions to improve the educational and development outcomes of youth, individual communities starting their own ideas for education investment have bonded together to change the game with kids’ future. Utilizing public agencies, nonprofits, public schools and local residents working together to give kids the best opportunity to pursue their educational opportunities, the program has seen cities such as Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Richmond establish Promise campaigns in the same spirit as the Bernard Daly Education Fund.

The Promise campaign efforts made in Kalamazoo, Mich. were featured in a 60 Minutes broadcast, and Pres. Barack Obama even gave a commencement speech at Kalamazoo Central High School to highlight the higher education opportunities made available through Cities of Promise.

Last month at the PromiseNet 2014 conference the keynote speaker, Yale University Pres. Peter Salovey, used the opportunity to educate those establishing Promise campaigns of its roots, recognizing Lake County as the inspiration. While Cities of Promise, of which Lakeview is a member, are seeing the benefits from nearly a decade of work, Salovey used Lakeview as an example of the positive effect of long-term education investment, showcasing nearly 100 years of the Bernard Daly Fund.

“It cannot go unnoticed that Lakeview, a town of 2,300 residents, has become a hub for renewable energy,” said Salovey. “From a nearly 100-year view there is evidence that the Promise movement will work.”

Salovey also quoted Sam Stern, former dean of the College of Education at Oregon State University, stating “There is evidence that the Daly Fund has had considerable impact on the economy in Lakeview and beyond; health, community vitality and philanthropy.”

Establishing incentives for students to find affordable post-secondary opportunities and pathways back to the city for a quality job are at the heart of Promise campaigns popping up around the country, all made possible because of the example established right here in Lake County.

For information on establishing scholarship funds through OCF, contact Cristina Sanz at 541-773-8987. For more information on Cities of Promise visit

Article originally published on the front page of the December 20, Christmas publication of the Lake County Examiner.  Posted with permission from author.