When meeting Ed Crawford, you feel the presence of a quiet leader. He is gracious, with a calm demeanor and warm smile.
As you learn his story, you begin to realize the profound impact this humble man has made personally, professionally, and as a volunteer.
When Ed was a young teenager, his family moved from France to Minnesota when his father was transferred to the Duluth Air Base. Ed didn't speak any English. It was a difficult transition. Amid problems at school and home, he landed in foster care.
His family soon returned overseas, but Ed stayed behind with a foster family to finish school. He says the guidance he received as a youth helped him find his way. He later paid it forward spending 21 years as a foster parent himself. He remains close to some of “his kids”, many now grown with children of their own.
Ed retired in 2015 after 35 years with Duluth Public Schools as a social worker, guidance counselor, principal, and assistant superintendent. He helped establish credit recovery, online learning, and language immersion programs. Colleagues and students knew him to be an innovator, mentor, and a compassionate listener and supporter for students who struggled. He understood well the burdens many students carry into the classroom and sought ways to help lighten the load.
Today, Ed lends his steady leadership to numerous boards, as a University of Minnesota Duluth adjunct faculty member, and to the Northland Foundation. He was a Board Chair and remains connected as an Emeritus Trustee Group member, annual donor, and Legacy Friend who has included Northland in his estate plan.
“My time with the Northland Foundation is among the most rewarding I have spent on any board,” Ed noted. “As an educator, I have seen how Northland resources and programs help communities flourish and build positive, caring environments for children, youth, and families.”
In fact, that is exactly what Ed has always done, too.