26 kindergarten students at Rio Vista Elementary School in California have just had their educational futures guaranteed by a total stranger.
Marty Burbank is pledging to fund each student’s tuition for two years at community college and two years at a California state school — or the equivalent if they want to attend elsewhere. All they have to do is draw a picture or write an essay each year about what going to college will mean for them and their families.
“I’m a strong believer in visualizing your goals, and this way they’ll be thinking about this each year for the next 12 years,” Burbank told CNN.
Both Burbank, an attorney and Navy veteran, and his wife Seon, a professor at Vanguard University, were the first in their families to go to college.
He estimates the tuition will cost about $1 million by 2032 and has set up a private foundation where he’ll contribute some funds each year until there’s enough.
In the last few months, the Burbanks had been considering buying a boat but after some reflection he “thought that buying a boat at that point would be a selfish thing.”
The couple’s donation reportedly will hurt their finances a bit, but Marty has a great theory on this.
“They say give until it hurts a little, and this hurts. But we feel it’s the best investment we could make,” he said.
He knows that not everyone is able to support a full classroom of 26 kids. But he says it’s not how big the financial support is, but whether or not people are actively helping children get educated and build their futures.
The classroom’s teacher summed it up best: “Suddenly they can dream about a different future for their child, that’s pretty remarkable.”