The Foundation was founded in 1998 by then- Miami Dolphin linebacker, Twan Russell, and his mother, Corliss. Corliss was a middle-school teacher with a huge heart for helping struggling children. Called the Russell Life Skills and Reading Foundation, the after school program focused solely on reading as a means to equip children for academic success. Twan grew up in the inner-city and believed that a mastery of reading played a large part in overcoming his circumstances. He received a communications and criminology degree from the University of Miami that has helped him to achieve his goals long after his football career has ended.
Twan and Corliss started the first center at a local church and neighborhood children immediately began to take advantage of the opportunity to overcome their challenges with reading and to reinforce important life skills. Community partners stepped in along the way and now the foundation serves hundreds of children. New centers are being added every year. Starting in 2010, the program began to add math and science, dance and other activities. The foundation was renamed in 2015 to reflect this broader focus.
In 2008, Dragonfly Darlings was added as an auxiliary organization for the mothers of the children in the program. Through periodic events and an annual conference, it helps the parents to encourage their children academically and to improve their own literacy skills.
Today, Twan Russell is the Senior Director of Community Programs for the Miami Dolphins. He remains active in the foundation as Chairman of the board of directors. Sadly, Corliss Russell’s early death in 2006 prevented her from seeing the life-changing resource that the Russell Education Foundation has become. Her memory continues to inspire everything that the foundation does in the community.