History of The Legacy Center

The Legacy Center for Student Success (TLC) was founded on July 1, 2004 as a “think and do” tank. The initial Board of Directors, consisting of Dr. Gary Hughes, Superintendent of Midland Public Schools and Denise Spencer, CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation, first met on July 6, 2004. The Board subsequently elected W. Lynn Weimer, President UniTrust, Inc., Linda Stavropoulos, Community Volunteer, and Bobbie Arnold, CEO of The Charles J. Strosacker Foundation to form the initial TLC Board of Directors. TLC received its 501(c) (3) designation on September 10, 2004.

TLC’s mission was to investigate outside-the-classroom factors that impede student learning and development, to devise programs that address the identified barriers, and to implement these initiatives through collaborative efforts with youth-serving agencies in the community. In addition, TLC rigorously measures the effectiveness of these programs to determine whether and to what extent their desired outcomes are being achieved. One of the more outstanding early and continuing successes was the implementation of Developmental Assets, a group of 40 positive and constructive character traits and attributes that all children should possess. In collaboration with the Midland County Probate Court and various partner agencies, this concept was promoted throughout the community resulting in significant and stunning reductions of multiple risk-taking activities including drug use and delinquent behaviors. TLC also developed a Model for Youth Success (originally known as the Youth Master Plan) that identified four Key Elements required for youth success, viz., Basic Needs and Safety, Physical Health, Wellbeing, and Education (including quality preschool experiences). This has become the strategic framework for youth programs in the community resulting in favorable and positive outcomes in education and health-related matters.

In 2010, TLC merged with the Literacy Council to form The Legacy Center for Community Success. This merger added literacy tutoring services for children and adults to TLC’s programming. Of particular emphasis has been the highly successful Barton Reading Program for students with dyslexia, the principal cause of low literacy skills. In 2011, TLC merged with the Midland Area Partnership for a Drug Free Youth organization (MAP). A Community Alliance for Youth Success was established to educate children and their families in order to prevent drug use. Emphasis has been especially focused on marijuana use and vaping. Community outreach has been principally accomplished through town hall meetings, presentations in schools, and through TLC’s widely acclaimed publication, “Youth Connections.” This periodical is distributed quarterly at no cost to every family with children enrolled at the secondary level in each county school. It is also available at local medical providers’ offices, coffee shops, and other public locations.

Today, TLC is an organization that is widely recognized as a valuable community resource. In partnership with community agencies, TLC is helping children and their families attain their maximum potential and to flourish and thrive.

Dick Dolinski
Richard Dolinski, Founder

Dick Dolinski was born and raised in Detroit and graduated from the University of Detroit with a degree in physical organic chemistry. He enjoyed a 32-year career with The Dow Chemical Company in the US and Asia in both research and at the corporate management level.

Dick has been committed to several community organizations primarily focused on education, youth development, and mental health in the US and in Africa. He is fond of urging partnerships and collaboration among community groups as well as on objective, outcomes-based, data-driven and evidence-compelled approaches to solving problems at their sources. He encourages “going upstream” when seeking the causes of problems or challenges and he emphasizes “attacking problems, not one another.”

Dick founded The Legacy Center in 2004 as a non-profit “think and do tank” focused on understanding the environmental factors that affect youth learning and development, and implementing initiatives that address these factors in collaboration with youth-serving agencies. Subsequent mergers with The Midland County Literacy Council and the Midland Area Partnership for Drug Free Youth formed The Legacy Center for Community Success as it exists today. In 2008, a spin-off non-profit, Midland Kids First, was established in partnership with Judge Allen and the Midland County Probate Court to address the issues associated with at-risk youth, principally those in the Juvenile Justice system.

In his spare time, Dick and his wife of 60+ years, Donna, enjoy reading, traveling, and “spoiling” their nearly young great granddaughter.