Dr. Evelyn Bethune
Dr. Evelyn Idell Bethune is the granddaughter of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and CEO of the Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Preservation Institute, Inc. which she founded to expand knowledge of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and to ensure the continuation, growth and development of her legacy by encouraging and promoting education and community service in a variety of platforms. Her office is located at 140 S. Beach Street, Suite 107 in Historic Downtown Daytona Beach.
Most recently, Dr. Bethune formed a partnership with Diversity Motorsport Racing and they have initiated the Racing for Education project. In July 2011 Dr. Evelyn Bethune became the first African American woman to own a NASCAR Nationswide Series racing team. Her team is Racing For Education, Car #19. Investments and sponsorships also raise money to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as Hispanic Colleges and Universities. They will finish the Nationwide Series season and expand over the next 5 years by developing more racing teams with greater diversity and engaging the motor sport industry at large.
Dr. Evelyn has used her experiences both personal and corporate to help others “get on tract” with their own lives. Her story is one of faith and determination. Her example is one of triumph over adversity. Instead of finding excuses or accepting mediocre efforts, Dr. Bethune points to the accomplishments of her grandmother as the example of what faith and perseverance can do.
Strengthened by her faith in God and the blood of her lineage, Evelyn has served as president of the Houston Area Chapter of the Bethune Cookman College Alumni Association, actively working to promote Bethune-Cookman University and recruit students on any given opportunity, Chair of the Personnel Committee for the Pacifica Foundation for Public Radio; served as Co-Director of the Youth Empowerment Committee of the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce, in 2008 was elected President of the Elease Knight Section, NCNW Houston. Today she is a lecturer and motivational speaker, sharing personal insights and life lessons as well as speaking on the life of her grandmother Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. Now living in Daytona Beach, Fl, Dr. Evelyn is the corresponding secretary for the Bethune-Cookman University Women’s Advisory Board, member of the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Association of Volusia and Flagler Counties, a member of the B-CU President’s Community Roundtable, member of the Board of director for PACE Center for Girls, Inc, chairperson of the New Smyrna Balloon and Sky Fest Foundation, a very active member of the New Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, where she organized the Cubs of Zion, Cub Scout Troop #171, teaches Sunday School, and is chair of the Public Relations and the Singles Ministries. She is also an active member of the NAACP, Life member of the National Council of Negro Women, and Chair of the Alumni and Citizens Advisory Board of Bethune-Cookman University partner in the Asset Building Coalition of Central Florida and E-Board member of the Southern Regional Asset Building Coalition.
In May 2009, she published her first book entitled, BETHUNE: Out of Darkness Into the Light of Freedom. It is the first book on the life of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, written by a family member and speaks on a very personal level about the relevance of the exceptional accomplishments of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune in today’s world as well as a look at her legacy. Dr. Bethune’s second book, “Say What you Mean and Mean What You Say”, will hit bookstores this FALL, 2012.
In November of, 2010, she opened the Daytona Beach office of the Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Preservation Institute, Inc. to continue to promote the life and legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. Dr. Evelyn Bethune states “At the very core of the work of my head, heart and hands, stands the inspiring, awesome, far-reaching legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, touching every volunteer, every vendor, every contractor, every customer, every product and every service provided by the Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Preservation Institute, Inc. Our purpose is to empower and to take the legacy of a great woman to the next level. Everything we do has a direct relationship to the faith-based concept of “educate to serve.” Education is our center of gravity. Education is our point of departure and our ultimate destination.”
It is Dr. Bethune's belief that with every successful plan there must be faith in “God at Work”, and a solid belief that God loves us and has a divine plan for our lives. With this faith, we receive education. The purpose of true education is to teach you to serve your community and your fellow man and in serving, find your purpose.
Bethune - Cookman University; Daytona Beach Florida; Bachelor Degree - April 1979 Business Administration/ Accounting Graduated in the top 5% of the Class of 1979 with a 3.8 GPA; listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges & Universities – 1979. AICPA Scholar, Presidential Scholar, One of the first African American “college hires” for IBM as a Manufacturing Budget Analyst
University of Florida; Gainesville, Florida; Master of Arts Degree, April 30, 1994; Political Science
University of Florida; Gainesville, Florida; - Ph. D. Program - Political Science April 1994-1995.
Top 10% of the Class, Listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities1994; One of the First African-American Students at the University of Florida inducted into the University Students’ Hall of Fame 1994; and the Florida Gold Key Honor Society 1993.
Past Experiences over more than 30 years: 1979 to 2012 –Dr. Bethune’s professional background includes: IBM Budget Analyst and Financial Planner, Sales & Use Tax Examiner II for State of Florida Department of Revenue Insurance Examiner for The State of Florida Department of Insurance, Commodities Broker and Tax Accountant; handled budget planning for projects in excess of $100M, Small Business owner, and award winning speaker and author.