Who Cares? The Team
The Dare 2 Be Great Foundation was founded by a team of fantastically committed individuals who want to see the most promising youth of Delray Beach return to the area and become its next generation of leaders. A diverse group, they all share one thing: a passion for nurturing excellence in students who might otherwise never have the chance to experience the higher education they deserve through their hard work, dedication, intelligence, and profound desire to make a difference in the world in spite of the hurdles they have had to overcome in their young lives.
Morgan Russell, Founder
A longtime Delray Beach resident, real estate developer and philanthropist, Morgan Russell believes passionately in the power of education and improving the community in which he lives. A graduate of Dartmouth College who then served four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, he is became a serial entrepreneur in the nascent cable television industry who then turned his talents to acquiring and revitalizing unwanted commercial property during cyclical economic downturns. His exposure to that industry led to his involvement in numerous related businesses, including retail and national restaurant concepts.
In 1988, Morgan relocated to Delray Beach and continued his acquisition and development of commercial and residential properties. Over the next twenty years he acquired and developed over 100,000 square feet of commercial properties in downtown Delray Beach during an era when the city experienced its dramatic transformation. During that period, he sought out and attracted over seventy-five new businesses, including national chains, to previously unproductive areas of our city. Morgan took risks and prospered. He learned what made a street work and through trial and error he created what he called a “model” for success, receiving numerous Delray Beach development awards.
Then in 2007, he sold some of his holdings and took a break. He went to Colorado. Upon his return, Morgan liquidated most of his personal real estate portfolio to pursue his charitable and mentoring programs, wanting to prove anther “model” for success—he wanted to give back to the city that had been good to him and establish a foundation that would help our brightest and most talented high school students “dare to be great.”
The goal: Empower students to think outside the box and not be limited by finances, create a model that didn’t just hand checks to bright students but instead establish a relationship with recipients to help them succeed. He immediately turned to Jeff Perlman to help him establish the model and to recruit others who could help.
Jeff Perlman, Co-Founder
Jeff Perlman enjoys a storied career in politics, business, and journalism.
He served on the Delray Beach City Commission from 2000 through 2007, the last four of those years as Mayor. During his tenure, he was a finalist for Florida Mayor of the Year and World Mayor of the Year.
During his term, Jeff concentrated on downtown redevelopment, culture, education, race relations, historic preservation, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and improving communication between city government and residents.
He is currently President of Delray Brand Group, a business development firm and served as COO of Celsius Holdings, a consumer product goods company, growing the company from $250,000 in sales to $11 million in just 18 months.
Jeff edits Atlantic Ave magazine and remains involved in the community: Past and present service includes serving on the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, Leadership Florida, Delray Medical Center, Old School Square, Achievement Center for Children and Families, Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, Greater Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce, Mae Volen Senior Center, Tourist Development Council of Palm Beach County, Housing Leadership Council, Florida League of Mayors, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and more.
Jeff lives in Delray Beach with his wife Diane, four children, two dogs, and two birds.
Lula Butler served as the Director of the Community Improvement Department for the City of Delray Beach for the past 23 years. Under this department, she manages the Building & Inspections, Code Enforcement, and Neighborhood Services divisions.
Lula is a Leadership Florida Alumni, Class of XXIII. Founder/Mentor of Delray Beach Youth Council, she currently volunteers her time serving on the Board of Directors of Aid to Victims of Domestic Assault (AVDA) and the Delray Beach Community Land Trust. Lula is a former Board Member of the Achievement Centers for Children & Families, Old School Square, Bethesda Hospital Foundation, Attendance Boundary Committee for Palm Beach County School Board (Charter Member); I Have a Dream Foundation Board Member, and was appointed by Governor Bush to the Century Commission in 2006.
Lula coordinated the 1993, 1998, and 2001 City of Delray Beach All America City Award Competitions. She is the recipient of several awards throughout her professional career, such as The Best of Palm Beach County 2009, Florida League of Cities – Employee of the Year 2004; Women of Grace – Bethesda Hospital 2000; Florida Women Who Make a Difference 1998; Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling 1995.
Michael A. Coleman
Michael A. Coleman, a native of South Florida, was born in Pahokee but grew up in Indiantown, where he attended local elementary schools and graduated from South Fork High School in 1986. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the United States Army. There, he served seven years. Upon Michael’s separation from the United States Army as a supervisor, with an honorable discharge, he was recognized for combat service during the Gulf War Campaign, earning him a Medal of Valor and a Kuwait Liberation Medal.
Following his separation from the Army in 1994, he was hired by the City of Delray Beach Police Department as a law enforcement officer, where he since earned several awards for his outreach programs and received a proclamation for his community service.
Throughout his career at the Delray Beach Police Department, he worked in various sections within the agency. Within twelve years of serving the citizens of Delray Beach, he advanced to his present managerial position of Lieutenant. In this position, he attended multiple leadership and management schools and in 2008, he earned a Bachelor Degree at Barry University. Lieutenant Coleman is currently a member of several committees and boards in the City of Delray Beach and is a member of two national organizations: The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers (NOBLE) and the Sunrise Rotary Club of Delray Beach.
Janet Meeks still enjoys being a Delray Beach resident after 30 years, and is a 21-year employee of the City of Delray Beach, currently working in the Community Improvement Department. She is the Education Coordinator for the City and Staff Liaison to the Delray Beach Education Board.
She is a Founding Member of the Plumosa School of the Arts Foundation, member of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation and Adult Mentor for the Delray Beach Youth Council. She is a former Member of the Board of Directors for the Delray Beach Boys and Girls Club, and Mentor for Take Stock in Children. Janet championed many educational programs such as the Mayor’s Literacy Initiative, Principal For A Day, and the Delray Beach Pop Up Book, and worked with numerous volunteers to continually promote the importance of education within the community.
Connor Lynch was born and raised in Delray Beach. He attended Atlantic High School and was recognized for more than 3,000 community service hours during his time there. After graduating from Atlantic, he studied pre-med/microbiology as a major at the University of Florida. While in college he remained involved in many student organizations and worked for Shand’s Hospital in Gainesville, FL. In his senior year, with two classes remaining on his prior major, he completed and graduated with major in Business Administration and a minor in Economics.
Since graduating from college, Connor went to work with his Father and Brother at their local insurance agency with 4 offices in South Florida. After obtaining his insurance license and a designation in insurance production, he moved into sales for the company. After a couple of years in that position, he was promoted to also take on the position of Chief Operations Officer for the company of more than 100 employees. Through this 9 years he has been in insurance, he continued to be involved in the community through many organizations and non-profits. He has also served on City Boards, such as Planning and Zoning and was the Chair fo the SPRAB Board for 2 years. He is on the Board for the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce and is the immediate past Chair of the Plumosa School of the Arts Foundation. He remains involved with organizations that help children in education and as a board member of several young professionals organizations.
Connor has a mission to empower students and others to achieve their full potential. He is passionate about giving back to the community and entrepreneurialism in action and spirit. He is most proud of his wonderful and supportive family including his wife, Ryan and his three children, Caroline, Parker, & Charlie.
Terra Spero is the founder and CEO of RealTime Marketing Group, a boutique digital media agency that focuses on leveraging social media to amplify businesses’ current marketing and increase revenue.
Spero’s passion for relationship development and focus on results have been responsible for the firm’s exponential growth. Her experience, coupled with enthusiasm and incredibly successful campaign integrations, has positioned Spero as an industry thought leader. This has resulted in Spero being a sought after speaker at both local, national, and international conferences. Spero was also nominated as a Mobile Woman to Watch, has been featured as a Florida Trendsetter for her work in social media, has been profiled by the Sun-Sentinel in “Beyond the Boardroom” for her work with non-profits, has been featured as a City Person by Atlantic Avenue Magazine, and was recently named the Delray Beach Business Person of the Year.
Graduating Magna Cum Laude from Nova Southeastern University, Undergraduate, and Summa Cum Laude from Barry University, Masters, Spero has been in Florida since undergraduate studies and is committed to developing the economy in which she lives. She is extremely active in the South Florida Community, acting as the digital liaison on committees for multiple organizations and also donates her time and resources to many local charities, sitting on the board for 3 separate organizations.
Terra is proud of the success that RealTime Marketing Group has achieved and even more proud of her two sons, Zachary and Jackson…who, thanks to their mother’s career, have embarrassing baby videos with over a half million views on YouTube. She is honored to sit on the Board of Directors for Dare 2 Be Great and is consistently impressed by the caliber of applicants who despite their circumstances, have already showed an interest in contributing to the betterment of Delray Beach.
Julia Kadel, affectionately known as Coach Kadel, is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Miracle League of Delray Beach. The mission of the Miracle League is to provide the opportunity for all children, regardless of their mental or physical abilities, to enjoy playing baseball.
Ten years ago, Julia made it her mission to make the Miracle League a part of Delray Beach’s community. Using her leadership skills, Julia met with officials from the National Miracle League Organization and the leaders of Delray Beach and Palm Beach County to enlist their support. Successful fundraising enabled the League to build a specialized, obstacle free baseball field, where 17 Saturdays a year over 100 kids come out to play.
Julia’s love for the players, their families, the volunteers and her community has made the League the success it is. Her vision for the future is to expand the Miracle League into other parts of the county and into other sports, allowing more families and players to participate in the Great American Pastime.
Coach Kadel has been a Delray Beach resident for over 17 years with her husband Jeff and their three sons who all feel blessed to be a part of this amazing community. She has served on many local committees and boards including Chairing the Education Board of Delray Beach and the fundraising committee of CROS ministries. She is a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach and a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, a Palm Beach County Middle School Physical Education & Health Educator, and a middle school Youth Group leader for her local church.
Just recently she was honored by the Bethesda Hospital Foundation as a 2015 Woman of Grace. Julia believes together we are powerful & can continue to play a positive role in our community. Together, we can continue to create miracles.