Who Cares? The Team
The Dare 2 Be Great Foundation was founded by Morgan Russell and a team of 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 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 another “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.
Kirsten was born in Panama and was raised in Latin America. After completing her undergraduate degree at FIU in Miami, Florida, she moved to The Bahamas where she lived for 18 years. In 2012, Kirsten completed her MBA and is currently working on her CFRE certification for nonprofits.
Kirsten and her family moved to the Delray area in August of 2015. Her focus is on working with nonprofits that seek to develop a high-performance culture and obtain measurable outcomes with significant social impact. She has served on various boards and is active in the Nonprofit Councils of the Chamber of Commerce of Delray Beach and the Greater Hollywood area. Kirsten has a passion for elevating the program and development outcomes of nonprofits and regularly conducts workshops, board retreats, coaching and seminars. Through her consulting company, The Kannico Agency, she and her team help to build collaborations between the for profit and nonprofit sectors, explore alternate revenue streams, identify opportunities for maximizing social impact and ensure nonprofits achieve organizational excellence. Kirsten is the Executive Director of Delray Students First and a Certified Coach in Training with the World Coach Institute.
Elida Barrios recognized her interest in the international genre while interning for the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. That internship sparked a 20-year tenure working for several distinguished international companies such as AIG/American International Group and SIEMENS Corporation.
Elida’s background runs the gamut from planning to investigative. She excels in connecting the right people at the right time. Authenticity is her key to professional and personal happiness. Her management portfolio is comprised of management planning, budget planning, and the administration of executive-level programs, while investigating international fraudulent claims and participation in self-directed special projects has helped to round out her experience base.
Currently, Elida is the Director of Business Development for the Kannico Agency, which serves nonprofits worldwide.
Chris Burr owns a registered investment advisory (RIA) firm, www.steady-returns.com, and serves as Dare 2 Be Great’s Treasurer. With a background in providing financial advice that he developed from experiences with many mentors, he mentors students with a focus on two main principles: 1) what do they think is possible? 2) what do they want to commit to?
Chris resides in Delray Beach and is looking forward to marrying his fiancee, Sarah.