We are pleased to introduce you to Stuart Lee Lourie, a long-time supporter, College Apps Academy tutor, and friend to Reality Changers!
Stuart is a proud alum of Cornell University during the turbulent 1960s and had a rewarding career in industrial and labor relations that sent him all over the USA and Canada. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Long Island, New York, Stuart has also lived and worked in Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California. He also served our country in the U.S. Army Reserves for 6 years. Stuart retired and moved to San Diego in 1992 and has been deeply involved in inspiring the next generation of young people to become leaders in their community.
Stuart was first introduced to Reality Changers after meeting former staff member, Maureen Eberle, at a fundraiser in 2013. He was invited to an 8th grade orientation and has been a donor, volunteer tutor, mentor, and advocate of Reality Changers ever since. Stuart volunteers for our College Apps Academy program, helping students write their personal statement essays and apply for college, financial aid, and scholarships. On his birthday each year, Stuart asks family and friends to make donations to Reality Changers instead of giving personal gifts. He proudly shares that his family likely represents the oldest and youngest donors to Reality Changers, with his 13-year-old cousin and his late aunt giving at age 96.
When his mother passed away, Stuart generously made a donation to Reality Changers and requested that every staff member be given a paid bonus in his mother’s memory (knowing that nonprofit staff are never overpaid!). He says that he wanted to make a gift to Reality Changers’ staff because of his background in employee relations; he saw how hard staff worked and wanted to recognize their dedication to helping students become successful.
In addition to his involvement at Reality Changers, Stuart served as the past scholarship chair and board member of the Cornell Club of San Diego for 15 years. He was instrumental in the creation of the Willie James Jones Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to a Cornell freshman from San Diego County each year. Stuart is also involved as a booster with Mira Mesa High School Wrestling and serves on the board of the San Diego Chapter of the National Football Foundation, honoring numerous San Diego high school scholar-leader-athletes with college scholarships each year.
When asked why he gives to Reality Changers, Stuart says:
“I give and volunteer my time to Reality Changers because I have witnessed first-hand that the program lifts up students and helps to build their self confidence. These are students who might not otherwise have gone to college or become successful first-generation college graduates. I see it working at Reality Changers and I believe that college can change everything. For the students we serve at Reality Changers, a college education greatly contributes to how they lift themselves and their families out of poverty. I’m motivated to continue my efforts because I have had the opportunity to see many teenagers grow up in the program. The 8th graders I first met back in 2013 have now graduated high school and have gone off to college. It is very special and rewarding for me to play a small part in their growth. I strongly believe in the mission of Reality Changers. We are helping to transform lives and inspire future generations.”
Thank you so much for your support, Stuart!