Dr. Mary Stauffer cannot be thanked enough

Photo by Valentin Flores

Photo by Valentin Flores

DOWNEY – Mary Stauffer is one of the most recognizable community members of Downey. She is known as a generous giver who cares very much for this city – and for good reason. In total, over $5 million has been donated by the Mary Stauffer Foundation to helping the youth of Downey become study-focused and career-orientated. 

Dr. Stauffer aims to empower students with scholarships and also assists with funding programs that shine a light on academics, art, and culture. 

The Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program is largely supported by Dr. Stauffer and teaches middle school students basic career technical education on subjects such as engineering, computer science, and robotics. 

Art classes in the district are also backed by Dr. Stauffer. Students can freely express themselves and become creative by sculpting with clay, painting, and drawing with materials donated by the Mary Stauffer Foundation. 

For all Dr. Stauffer and her foundation have done for the former West Middle School, the school changed its name to Stauffer Middle School in order to show their appreciation for the support given not only to the school, but to the entire community of Downey.

“It feels like a great honor to have West Middle named after me. I feel very appreciated by them. I am just thankful and blessed to have lived as long as I have to help out the community in the ways I can,” commented Dr. Stauffer.

Born in 1917, Mary Stauffer is currently 98 years old and has been living in Downey for over 60 years. She does not consider herself “old,” but she considers herself still young at heart. She says she owes her age to good genes. 

Dr. Stauffer attended Ohio State University, where she graduated first in her class as Valedictorian. She received her M.D. and soon became a doctor where she specialized in delivering children. 

During her young adult life, many men did not believe she, a woman, was capable of studying sciences and getting a degree as a doctor of medicine. She studied arduously throughout college. Once she succeeded in her studies and career, she wanted more young people to follow their ambitions as well. 

This was the point when Mary Stauffer decided she wanted to use her earnings to help students grow academically so they, too, could go to college and become exemplar citizens for their communities in the future. 

When asked why she devoted so much of her time and efforts to the city of Downey and its students, Dr. Stauffer replied, “It’s much better to invest in people than it is to invest in any business... I very much enjoy helping out the community because it makes me feel like I have an important purpose.”

Her investments have impacted the residents of Downey in a very positive way. With her support, the students of Downey have had the opportunity to expand their learning beyond the classroom and with the scholarships her foundation provides, many have had the opportunity to attend college.

Dr. Mary Stauffer has been so generous to the city of Downey. She cannot be thanked enough.