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MIND Education Remembers Paul Folino, Orange County Philanthropist and Early Advocate of ST Math

Irvine, Calif., October 17, 2023—Social impact organization, MIND Research Institute and its sister organization, MIND Education, the creators of ST Math, honor the passing of Orange County philanthropist Paul Folino. MIND is grateful for the early support and powerful advocacy Folino shared in MIND's formative years to improve math learning in Orange County and nationwide.

As CEO of Costa Mesa-based Emulex Corp, Folino was introduced to MIND during the late nineties, soon after its origins in neuroscience research at UC Irvine. He witnessed the inception of ST Math as a powerful visual-instructional program that would transform the way students learn math concepts. Upon seeing how ST Math served the first students to use it and how it enhanced their learning experiences, Folino immediately understood the long-term impact it could have on Orange County's future workforce and community.

Folino's philanthropy carried MIND through its formative years, sometimes covering nearly half its annual budget. His guidance during board meetings helped pilot the organizational capacity that has since grown to serve over 7000 schools and 2 million young math learners across Orange County and the U.S.

"He was a wonderful man. I remember, along with fellow MIND Research Institute founder Dr. Gordon Shaw, meeting with Paul shortly after we founded the organization," said Mark Bodner, Senior Research Director and Co-founder of MIND. "His immediate enthusiasm and passion for MIND's programs inspired him to become a Board Member, and his generous support was fundamental to MIND's establishment, existence, and early success."

Folino's first gift to MIND dates back to 2000, just 2 years after MIND's founding and a year before Andrew Coulson was named president of MIND's new Education Division. Recollects Coulson, "Folino's steadfast funding helped keep the lights on as ST Math moved from months of planning on whiteboards into a fully-fledged, PreK-8, patented visual math program."

"For all of us at MIND, Paul Folino will be remembered with deep gratitude for his steadfast confidence in our team, innovations, and students' ability to learn more during our formative years," said Coulson, now MIND's Chief Data Science Officer.

Twenty-three years and over 5 million students later, Folino's early advocacy and support have impacted every child who has ever benefited from ST Math and every teacher who's marveled at the student engagement, focus, and belief in themselves. Folino was a believer in the power of education, a champion for student math achievement, and a philanthropist whose generosity made a powerful difference for Orange County and the lives of all those he touched.   

"I knew we had to help when I saw how much the children loved math! These may be my future engineers."

Paul Folino

Paul Folino with Marti Baker and students at Madison Elementary, Santa Ana

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