Dr. Edward Burger: It’s All About Change

St. David’s Foundation is the second largest grant-giving organization in Central Texas. The Foundation’s vision is good health as the starting point for everything important in life— family, career, learning, loving and leisure. In support of that goal, the Foundation invests millions, every year, across Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties to improve the health and wellness of hundreds of thousands of people in ways many of us do not even realize. Through their partnership with St. David’s HealthCare, the foundation consistently embraces their responsibility to make it possible. 

Today, Dr. Edward Burger is the much-loved President of Southwestern University in Georgetown. For seven years, he has enjoyed being a part of the academic community and making students into better versions of themselves. He will usher in 2020 as the new CEO of the St. David’s Foundation, and is embracing the change with grace and an eager heart to help all people, in every stage of their lives, into better and healthier versions of themselves. 

“Making people better is all about change,” Dr. Burger says. “The Foundation is not about sickness or science. It is a way for community members to come together and share ideas about the issues and concerns we can solve together. The Foundation leaves it to the health professionals to cure disease, so they look at social and societal elements that can change culture and make people better.” 

To do this, St. David’s Foundation manages programs and awards grants to non-profit organizations that uplift people, focus on wellness and holistic approaches, and help people live more mindful lives. They pay particular attention to child wellness, women’s health, and enabling seniors to age in place. 

I’m very torn about the change. Having built and enjoyed my career in education, this will mark the first time I’m actually “leaving” academics since I started nursery school, and I will miss the students the most. I am so delighted about new ideas for the University, and I’m incredibly excited just thinking about the impact the Foundation will have
in our communities.

Dr. Edward Burger

Whether we know it or not, there are many things in Georgetown with the St. David’s Foundation fingerprint on it that make this a great place to live and raise a family. 

  • When you donate to your favorite charity through the annual Amplify Austin program, St. David’s matches that gift to them as well. 
  • Every time a senior enjoys a hot lunch from Meals on Wheels, or a child enjoys a healthy snack at a YMCA, St. David’s funding helped pay for the food. 
  • Right now, there are Dental Vans at schools across Williamson County providing free teeth cleaning and dental care to students. 
  • Their Active Parks Project enhances existing parks and provides increased activity options with trails and exercise equipment. 

Dr. Burger explains, “I believe my leadership and desire to be creative, innovative and imaginative, as well as strategic, appealed to the way they want to inspire and impact our community. I believe in an artful and meaningful blend of evolution and revolution. The Foundation has always done outstanding work, and I want to know and be a part of amplifying those efforts to give away more money and fold in more organizations as we do so.” 

The goal, and the challenge, is to increase the amount of grants they can provide to upwards of

$100 million in the next few years. Typically, St. David’s is always engaged in due diligence to discover or uncover issues in that can be addressed by an empowered community. Non-profits are invited to come to the Foundation to see if their mission is parallel to one of those categories  and begin a conversation to see if there is synergy in the goals of both. At that point, a proposal is made and a partnership may begin. 

With great pride and respect, Dr. Burger says he hopes the future is the best foundation in Texas. He wants to become so successful, foundations across the nation will be happy to steal St. David’s innovations and inspire their own communities to create parallel programs. 

“There are big problems that can be worked if we all put our minds, collectively, to those issues and try to solve them. My vision is St. David’s as a thought leader in wellness education, health care, and big solutions. We will find cutting-edge and uplifting things that make us a playground for innovation. We will not only help our neighbors today, but also allow those living where we are now, deep into the future, to live richer and better lives. My question is, how can we help today that will impact the future? That balance is the leadership St. David’s Foundation will offer all of Central Texas, and it all resonates with me and my ability to create.” 

Fortunately for us, Dr. Burger is only going to work in  Austin. He will continue to call Georgetown, and Southwestern, his home because he has loved Central Texas since he was a grad student at UT “oh, so long ago.” He says, “Change transcends both of these amazing institutions I have been privileged to engage with. Celebrating both and making this change shows I practice what I preach. If we’re not changing, we are not growing, or even living. I believe it and live it in my heart.” 

Visit StDavidsFoundation.org to learn more and see what Dr. Burger is up to in 2020.

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