Lawrence C. Patrick

The sudden death of Lawrence Clarence Patrick, Jr. in January 2017 left a gaping hole in the heart of BUF of MI. Not only was he a long term supporter of the organization, Attorney Patrick  was a pioneer in BUF’s early years as a Board Member and helped to establish BUF’s golf outing an annual fundraiser.

Although he led many other causes in Detroit, BUF claimed Mr. Patrick as their own. He was born and raised in Detroit and was a graduate of Detroit Public Schools, Wayne State University and Harvard Law School. Staying true to his roots and fervent commitment to the City of Detroit, Attorney Patrick stayed local and  offered his talents to help improve educational opportunities for Detroit’s children.

In 1989, Mr. Patrick formed the HOPE campaign slate and successfully ran for the Detroit School Board. While leading the way as board president from 1989-1995,a number of major reforms were implemented.  He was an ardent supporter of parents having the right to choose the school their children attended, and the empowerment of principals to manage their own school. He spent much of his time cultivating collaborations among people and  encouraging teams to work together. His power as a leader truly was personified by his ability to inspire opposing positions to work together to solve problems. His pioneering ideas continue to shape the design of education policy and legislation across the country.

Attorney. Patrick  mentored a number of Black Youth that he empowered which is a true testament of one’s legacy. He taught young men how to work the problem versus fighting the problem. 

At the June 28, 2017 BUF Benefit Golf Outing, the first annual Lawrence C. Patrick, Jr. Award was presented to the Coleman A. Young Foundation for their leadership among youth through scholarships and mentorships.


Garrett T. Townsend

In recognition of Garrett T. Townsend, Jr., whose daughter Niya Imani Townsend recently sponsored several scholarships to BUF 45 Scholars in his name. Mr. Townsend was truly an advocate for the children of Detroit. In addition to his role as a dad, he was passionately involved in and avidly organized many community activities for youth. These included a child’s bowling league, children’s skating events and his role as a mentor to a number of local young men. He authored a child’s poetry book entitled, “Kids are Really our Destiny,” and wrote the poem, “The Long Journey to Walk thru the Front Door of the White House,” to honor former President Barack Obama. 

Mr. Townsend grew up in Detroit and graduated from Northwestern High School. After an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force, he was self-employed as a financial planner. His major clients were the Detroit Public Schools and Wayne County Community College.

Mr. Garrett T. Townsend, Jr. departed this life on May 24, 2009, after heroically saving a young boy from drowning across the street from his home. Sadly, he was not able to escape and drowned in a ten-foot hole dug for future housing development.

Recently, several scholarships were dedicated in his name to two BUF 45 Scholars - Jalen Green who is a Freshman at Michigan State University majoring in Biochemistry, and Dante Fleming who is entering his Sophomore year at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Thanks to the generosity of his daughter, Niya whom he affectionately called, “Angel Doll,” Garrett T. Townsend Jr.’s epic legacy continues.