Spirit of Generosity
The “E” in Project HOME spoke to Richard Brinkman in a particular way. Education wasn’t just important in Brinkman’s life–it changed his life. More important, access to education shaped his life, and the ripples are still being felt in his own family
Brinkman grew up in Indiana and graduated from Indiana University and also did graduate school work there. He was responsible for paying for his own education. He did it over time by joining three separate branches of the armed services. That’s right: Brinkman was an Army, Navy and Air Force veteran, all to pay the college bills.
Once his military obligations ended, Brinkman became a traveling auditor, eventually landing in New Jersey. He joined a Fortune 500 corporation and worked his way up the accounting side, stayed at the same company for 33 years, eventually becoming Chief Financial Officer. The Wall Street Journal once lauded his “financial wizardry.’’
All that time, Brinkman never forgot his roots. If access to college was key for him, he could help smooth the way for others. When his beloved wife Audrey died after 29 years of marriage, he set up a need-based scholarship in her name at Indiana University for aspiring business students. At this point, over a dozen students have been helped by it.
He had a small family but set things up before his death so his three grandchildren would be able to go to college. Then he set up a foundation that also would focus on education, on access. The goal was simple: to try and help those like him who understand the struggle to even get to college.
His family had settled in the Philadelphia area, where Project HOME’s important work was well known. After Brinkman died in 2008, his family saw that the education work done by Project HOME could make a tangible difference, guiding motivated students toward schools, helping even in small ways to provide important opportunities. The staff at Project HOME perfectly matched Brinkman’s own desire to excel.
Since 2011, the Richard G. & Audrey A. Brinkman Foundation, through its support of Project HOME’s College Access Program (CAP) at our Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs, has helped 21 students complete college and graduate school degrees; supported the 45 CAP alumni currently in college; and is preparing 33 current juniors and seniors to graduate high school and begin college programs.
Though they may be unaware, these students’ drive toward academic excellence and achievement are greatly honoring the legacy of Richard Brinkman.