|David Sawyer (Photo via Legacy.com)|
David Sawyer, who built an international consulting career on his work in rural Kentucky and Appalachia, died Nov. 25 in of heart failure in Portland, Oregon, after a year of declining health. He was 71.
For a decade, Sawyer directed leadership and service-learning programs at Berea College in Kentucky, earning him the nation’s highest award for voluntary service from the White House. He designed Save the Children‘s Appalachian Teen Leadership Program and traveled to India to meet with the Dalai Lama to help design a Tibetan refugee education program at Berea. He worked with the Clinton administration to help launch Americorps and facilitated The New Generation Training Program and other national leadership programs.
Sawyer spent four years working with BP, coaching senior leaders, designing the cultural dimension of the BP-ARCO merger, and facilitating a conference on global climate change in Washington, D.C. He was executive-in-residence for the Kauffman Foundation, promoting citizen engagement and civic innovation; first executive director of Social Venture Partners Portland, and was chief culture officer for gDiapers, maker of the world’s first flushable and compostable diaper.
“Though Sawyer’s professional accomplishments are vast, his lasting impact lives in his deep love for his people, his community, and our planet,” his obituary says. “Sawyer was a dedicated and generous friend to many. He was clever and wise, fun and funny, deeply serious, and eternally committed to creating positive futures for all. His life’s work could perhaps be summed up by a simple tattoo on his arm that read: ‘maximum positive impact’.”
Sawyer, whom his Kentucky family called “Buzz,” is survived by his brother, Stephen Shelby Sawyer of Versailles, Ky. Their cousins include Diane Sawyer of ABC News.