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Geneva man Marty Burns funds new scholarship through Geneva Education Foundation

GENEVA — Marty Burns, a retired executive with IBM, got a real eye-opener last year when Geneva schools went to remote learning because of the pandemic.

He watched his partner, Geneva High School math teacher Alison Seeley, deliver a month’s worth of class materials to the homes of 65 students. Burns served as her delivery driver.

“She didn’t want her students to fall behind,” Burns said.

He was stunned to see the conditions that many students lived in, but also was impressed by their desire to learn, despite those headwinds.

“I witnessed students who were motivated to finish the curriculum necessary to prepare them for education beyond high school,” Burns said. “I saw the challenges many faced and decided to help, if only in a small way.”

Working with the Boys and Girls Club, Burns funded a two-year scholarship in 2021 to a Geneva student pursuing post-high school education that would pay the recipient $2,500 each year.

In 2022, two additional Geneva High School students will be eligible for the scholarship, and, with the Boys and Girls Club’s blessings, it’s now being offered through the Geneva Education Foundation, established in 2014 to solicit and manage charitable contributions and bequests for the benefit of student education.

The scholarship Burns created is now called the Geneva Education Foundation Scholarship for Advanced Education.

“It’s for community college, university or a trade school,” Burns said. “It’s based on financial need, desire, motivation and ability.”

Burns worked for 32 years as an executive internet technology architect, and came to Geneva in 2008 after meeting Seeley. He said he’s donated to plenty of charitable organizations but never funded a scholarship.

“I’d like to see it grow, to potentially find some new donors,” Burns said, emphasizing that he is “committed for the foreseeable future” to funding the scholarships.

Geneva Education Foundation Board Secretary Katie Flowers thanked Burns for supporting students in need.

“This is an exciting collaboration which will help alleviate some of the financial pressures students face as they pursue post-high school graduation opportunities,” Flowers said. “The GEF was established to support Geneva City School District students, and our board is grateful to Mr. Burns for his vision and leadership.”

Karen Fahy, director of Geneva 2030, added: “Geneva 2030’s mission includes advancing equity and supporting the success of every Geneva child, cradle to career. We are proud to work with Marty and the Geneva Education Foundation in the scholarship administration process and are proud to help support Geneva graduating seniors pursuing their educational goals.”

Applications are available at the Boys & Girls Club, 160 Carter Road, at the Geneva High School Guidance Office, 101 Carter Road, and on the GEF website,, on the Application Info page. Applications are due Jan. 3, 2022, and can be submitted to The Boys & Girls Club, the high school Guidance Office and online on the GEF website.

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