To be presented at the 2022 Boston Winter Ball
“They can literally change their family. They can change their community, Then they can change this country.” The Burton Family has faith that children can change the world, and for the past 37 years they have been dedicated to teaching and modeling how this is done. The 2022 Corey C. Griffin Humanitarian Award will be presented to The Burton Family at the Boston Winter Ball.
Their recognition is well deserved.
What their father, Ron Burton Sr. began 37 years ago, the next generation of Burton family members have embraced. They accepted the challenge of expanding the Ron Burton Training Village reach to even more children and youth. Each sibling has a role in the operations and management of the now year-round program. They each contain a high level of commitment and dedication to a cause they have known since they were children.
The philanthropy the Burton family practices today is inspired in large part by Ron Burton, Sr. who passed away in 2003. He made his dream of helping challenged youth get a better start in life come true when he founded the Ron Burton Training Village (RBTV) in Hubbardston, Massachusetts in 1985. The mission of RBTV is to train challenged youth to achieve their purpose through education, leadership, physical wellness, social advancement and spiritual growth. Most importantly, they learn about respect and love.
Ron Burton, Sr. was a man of humble roots. His faith and determination helped him accomplish much. He became an All-America high school football player; earned 47 scholarships to major colleges and universities; became a College All-American, and went on to become the first round draft choice in the NFL, the AFL, and the Canadian Football League. He played six years for the New England Patriots and is now in the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame. You can read more about Ron’s early challenges and accomplishments HERE.
Burton, the football player was just a part of Burton the man, the father, the husband and philanthropist. He and his wife JoAnn enjoyed a relationship that lasted nearly half a century. She reportedly was drawn to his humble confidence and peacefulness. Together they have five children: Steve, Elizabeth, Ron Jr., Philip and Paul.
Their children grew up with a saying in their household: “Let the love flow,” Steve Burton once said. “We grew up with that saying. Let the love flow on the playing field. Let the love flow in the classroom. Let the love flow when you’re outside,” he said. “Just let it flow. You’ll be surprised if you’re able to do that. Our dad said nobody will be able to stop you.”
In the 1980s, the idea for RBTV was born. Burton took his kids to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which hosted a camp in Pennsylvania. It was a formative experience for the kids and it set things in motion. Ron Sr. purchased a 305-acre parcel of land in central Massachusetts and RBTV was on its way. From the jump, Burton knew he wanted this piece of land to turn into heaven on earth for kids in need, the kind of place he needed as a child. The entire family poured themselves fully into building the infrastructure.
According to Paul Burton of the early days, “We didn’t have much, but we had a mission. The four core values that we try and teach these kids are love, peace, patience, and humility. If these kids can capture this at a very young age, starting at age 11, they can literally change their family. They can change their community, then they can change this country.”
RBTV now includes extensive SAT and ACT prep, year-round programming and guest speakers from different professional areas. The Corey C. Griffin Foundation is proud to be a partner and supporter of RBTV and believes deeply in their mission and model.
The entire Burton family has impacted the lives of children in need. Every summer JoAnn, all five of the Burton kids and their children join together at RBTV in Hubbardston. It’s a second home for them and for the thousands of children whose lives have been changed for the better because of the family’s vision. JoAnn said, “I think God has blessed RBTV, and I know God has blessed us.”
Congratulations and gratitude to the Burton Family, the Boston Winter Ball’s 2022 Humanitarian Award Honorees.