San Marcos,
12:00 PM

Gift From Burnhams Benefits Nonprofits and Students

By Eric Breier

Cal State San Marcos’ Senior Experience Program has helped regional businesses and nonprofits for a quarter of a century.

Now, thanks to a gift from Malin and Roberta Burnham through the Burnham Foundation, the door is open for additional nonprofits that may not have had the means to participate in the past.

“Philanthropy provides satisfaction in seeing something done that might not otherwise have been accomplished,” Malin Burnham said. “But it takes teamwork to get it done. Cal State San Marcos has a great tradition of collaborating with leaders, businesses and community members to make our region better for all. I’m pleased that the Burnham Leadership Experience will help CSUSM continue to fulfill that mission.”

The Burnhams donated $225,000 to establish the Burnham Leadership Experience, which is under the umbrella of the Senior Experience Program in CSUSM’s College of Business Administration.

Organizations pay $1,500 to participate in the Senior Experience Program. Nearly 2,000 organizations have been positively impacted in the 25 years of the Senior Experience Program’s existence, and nearly half of the projects completed by CSUSM students have been for nonprofit organizations.

However, the Burnham Leadership Experience is helping additional nonprofits with limited funds by underwriting the cost for three nonprofits to participate every semester in perpetuity.

The DLH Foundation, whose mission is to create a community and help find a cure for gastro-esophageal cancers, has been a longtime participant in the Senior Experience Program. But the opportunity to participate this fall through the Burnham Leadership Experience means the foundation has more funds available for the annual scholarships it provides to college students affected by gastro-esophageal cancers in their families.

“We’re just so tickled to be part of this Burnham project,” said Denise Ross, the DLH Foundation’s director of marketing and communications. “It was the best surprise. The Senior Experience Program is beyond valuable.”

The DLH Foundation team was an intercollege group that included two students from the College of Business Administration – Danielle Arnold and Stephanie Lee – and three human development students – Maria Arca, Julio Mena and Kimberly Zuniga.

“We’re really excited to be one of the first groups to help a local nonprofit and grow their business,” Danielle said.

Another Burnham Leadership Experience team worked with North County San Diego Veterans Stand Down, which aims to raise awareness of the plight of homeless veterans and connect them with service providers. The CSUSM team working with the organization included five College of Business Administration students – Kyle Bearce, Hunter Kupka, Brooke Leong, Kimberlin Moore and Greg Santiago.

The team’s goal was to help North County San Diego Veterans Stand Down improve its pipeline of donors and volunteers.

“While the $1,500 to participate in Senior Experience may not seem like a lot of money, it can be a lifesaver for nonprofits like the North County San Diego Veterans Stand Down,” Hunter said.

Malin and Roberta Burnham have been supporters of CSUSM since its founding.

“Roberta and I continue to be impressed by the caliber of CSUSM’s students, their commitment to community and their responsiveness to industry,” Malin Burnham said. “It’s exciting to be part of a future-focused university that is positively impacting our region.”