John Neill, an Oklahoma native, completed his B.A. at Yale and his M.B.A. at Harvard, where he met his business partner, Steve Rush. Together they co-founded Telesis Company in 1969. John lives in Dallas with Barbara, his wife of 48 years. They have three grown children. Barbara and John personally donate time and resources to the Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation’s programs, as do its board, full-time employees, and scores of community volunteers. //
John Neill first became actively involved in the Vickery Meadow community after he and Mr. Rush built Walnut Place, an assisted living residence and nursing care facility, across from Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. At the time, 1980, Vickery Meadow was populated by young professionals. But only a few years later, following changes in housing laws and a real estate downturn, Vickery Meadow had become the crowded home of more than 50,000 residents within a three-mile radius. Many of the residents are refugee families; almost all are low-income. Particularly struck by the many needs—developmental, educational, and recreational—of the children in the area, Mr. Neill founded and still chairs the Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation (VMYDF). The programs VMYDF supports focus on academics, sports, character development, and early childhood development for children living in Vickery Meadow. Its signature program is Eagle Scholars, a vibrant six-year academic enrichment program for students from seventh grade through graduation. Summer camps, after-school activities, and college scholarships are also funded by the Foundation. The mission and daily endeavor of the Foundation is to bridge the gap of inequality for the children of Vickery Meadow, born into poverty, and help them develop to their full potential.