Steven Cousins, president and CEO of Cousins Allied Strategic Advisors and an alumnus of Normandy High School, has contributed a $50,000 endowment to the Friends of Normandy (FON) School District.
FON is an independent, nonprofit foundation whose mission is to fund scholarships for Normandy seniors. The scholarships can be used at any 2-year, 4-year or vocational/technical post-secondary institution.
“A college education is a passport to success,” said Cousins, who also served as vice president of his 1973 senior class. “It opens up doors of opportunities and corridors of power that are otherwise closed or most difficult to access.”
Cousins founded his own firm after a distinguished career at Armstrong Teasdale LLP, a law firm with more than 550 attorneys and staff in offices across the country, where he was the first African-American partner and executive committee member.
But he came from humble beginnings, working part-time as a busboy and dishwasher at Host International's restaurants at the St. Louis airport while a student at Normandy High School. He studied at the University of Missouri-St. Louis for two years before leaving for Yale University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He then went to the University of Pennsylvania to study law and business.
“There’s no better investment than our youth and their education,” Cousins said. “As Martin Luther King said, albeit in a different context, ‘I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.’ To me, it's our youth. They represent our future.”
Friends of Normandy (FON) School District, which was founded in 2005, has raised more than $300,000 for college scholarships through its annual black-tie gala, which was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mr. Cousins’ donation reflects our philosophy of philanthropy, which is based upon the concept that education can be endowed by community support,” said Beverley Thompson, FON founding director. “We are thankful for his generous donation and inspired by his irrevocable belief in the academic excellence of our students.”
Even though this year’s FON Gala was cancelled, the community can still support graduating seniors with scholarships. To contribute, visit www.normandysc.org/friends.