Margaret Crissman Funkhouser, a public education activist, graduated from Wellesley College in 1952 with a degree in international relations. After graduation, she moved to Princeton, New Jersey to work for the Gallup Poll. There, she met her husband, Robert, and moved to Pittsburgh.
In Pittsburgh, Funkhouser became involved in volunteer work and discovered her strengths and passions. She worked with the Junior League of Pittsburgh, an organization committed to promoting volunteerism among women, and eventually served as the organization’s president. She also served as the vice president of the Pittsburgh Information and Volunteer Services. Through these positions, Funkhouser developed her talents in organizing, uniting people, and raising financial support for an effective cause.
Funkhouser moved to Los Angeles in 1970, where she worked with the Los Angeles Wellesley Club on a benefit event and introduced the club’s internship program. From 1971 until 1976, she was a trustee of the Southern California Coro Foundation, a non-profit graduate training institution for government and public affairs. She was elected to be the secretary to the National Board of Trustees of the Coro Foundation in 1977.
Funkhouser also cofounded Performing Tree, a program designed to promote the role of art in education. She has served on the boards of directors of numerous organizations and charities in the Pittsburgh and Los Angeles area.
In 1984, she founded and presided over the Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP), which is now the Urban Education Partnership. The mission of LAEP is to reform the public education system in Los Angeles by engaging the assistance of the private sector.
Margaret Funkhouser retired from LAEP in 2001, but the organization has continued to serve more than 2,500 educators and 75,000 children in high-poverty, multicultural communities across Los Angeles County.
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