The Special Education Foundation hosts Heroes with Heart to honor long-time executive director, Diane Buhr. It will be Thursday, November 30, 2017, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Bogey Club. The event, held approximately every other year, honors an individual whose contributions to the mission of the Foundation deserve high praise and special recognition. The selected “Hero” is one who has demonstrated longstanding commitment, outstanding leadership and tireless efforts on behalf of the children the Foundation serves.
Buhr’s involvement with the Foundation dates to its establishment in 1984 as the first foundation supporting a public school district in the state of Missouri. The Foundation had been dormant for years when Buhr recruited a new board of directors in 1997. In January 2000, believing that Buhr’s focused fundraising efforts would more than justify her salary, the organization took a leap of faith and hired her as its first part-time executive director. In May 2003 she accepted her “dream job” and became full-time executive director of SEF.
Before Buhr became executive director, the Foundation’s annual budget hovered around $50,000; the budget for the 2018 fiscal year exceeds $630,000. That dramatic growth reflects countless students with disabilities who are supported by its programs in achieving success beyond the classroom. She designed the Dana Brown Teacher Mini-grant and Fred Saigh Leadership programs and solicited funding to turn them into reality. She has been the creative spark and fundraising engine behind everything the Foundation has done to help students. It has been her great talent to sincerely connect with people and motivate them to join her endeavors that has been the greatest benefit to the Foundation.
Buhr retired as executive director July 1, 2017, succeeded by David M. Diener. Buhr continues to serve the Foundation as its contract grant writer.