MBA alumnus Darrell Burnham receives SFU Outstanding Alumni Award

Dec 09, 2014

Darrell BurnhamDarrell Burnham, Beedie School of Business alumnus and executive director of Coast Mental Health, has been announced as the winner of the Service to the Community Award in Simon Fraser University’s 2014 Outstanding Alumni Awards.

Each year, the Outstanding Alumni awards recognize alumni whose accomplishments and contributions reflect the university’s mandate of Engaging the World. Since being introduced in 1983, the awards have become one of the university’s most celebrated traditions, with nominations for the awards made by alumni, faculty, staff, students, and the community.

Burnham graduated with a BA from SFU’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in 1976, before returning to SFU to study for his MBA at the Beedie School of Business, graduating in 1986.

In his position as executive director of Coast Mental Health, one of B.C.’s largest community mental-health organizations, Burnham has been transforming the lives of the most vulnerable in our society for over 35 years.

Described as the premier champion for mental health in B.C., Burnham has been a visionary leader in delivering vital social services to B.C. communities. He has been instrumental in influencing policies, advocating, and creating housing, services and programs that have resulted in improving the quality of life of thousands of people with mental illness.

Coast Mental Health provides non-profit housing, employment preparation, and community-based services for people with severe and persistent mental illness in BC. During his tenure as executive director, Burnham has grown the budget from $2.9M to $25M, and today leads over 400 staff, with 40 sites in Metro Vancouver and more than 4,000 clients served.

He has spearheaded discretionary and non-discretionary trust programs at Coast to handle finances for over 350 clients with mental illness, and created the Coast Social Enterprises Society to foster businesses willing to employ persons with mental illness.

Burnham will receive the award at a special dinner event on February 25, 2015, along with the three other recipients of the 2014 SFU Outstanding Alumni Awards.

For more information on Darrell Burnham, visit

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