Foundation Takes Teens on Impactful Adventures Around the World
October 24, 2022

For CRSM student Brandon, last summer was a season of superlative adventures, hiking mountains,  kayaking, rafting, glacier excursions, wildlife watching and connecting to the abundant natural beauty of Alaska. The three-week trek was funded through the Ellie Burns Foundation.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Brandon, a CRSM junior. “And I didn’t even have my cell phone during the day for the whole three weeks.”

On Friday, Oct. 14th Brandon expressed his gratitude to Sally Burns, co-founder of the Ellie Burns Foundation, who gave a presentation about the foundation to the CRSM student body, staff, and faculty during the morning assembly.

Inspired by their daughter’s love for nature and passion for others, Sally and Michael Burns offer opportunities for travel, volunteering, and bigger adventures for CRSM students and other area high schoolers each summer. The foundation is named for their daughter Ellie, a then Lake Forest High School student whose life was tragically cut short in 2011 in a camping accident on a wilderness trip in the Grand Tetons.

The family is devoted to preserving Ellie’s legacy by providing deserving students with the opportunity to participate in an experience or program that allows them to cultivate their character and discover their unlimited potential by achieving personal goals. These adventures include developing a sense of independence in nature through outdoor education or demonstrating a commitment to service through caring for others in the world around them, both of which Ellie respected and exemplified, says her mother, Sally.

Since the fall of 2016, the Foundation has funded trips for six CRSM students to locales ranging from the Pacific Coast for a biking adventure to New England and several students to Costa Rica.

“Our relationship with Cristo Rey is rewarding in so many ways and we are truly grateful for the opportunity to work with you and the students,” says Sally. “It is heartwarming to see them and hear their stories after the trips and continue to follow them as they go onto college and beyond!