Community pays tribute to leader whose group mentored, steered young men to college


Tracy Morris, center, stands with two dozen Blue Heart Foundation mentees. (Courtesy of Mathew Gordon)

Executive director and founder of Blue Heart Foundation, Tracy Morris, died on Feb. 17

Friends, family and colleagues are mourning the recent death of community advocate and mentor Tracy Morris, executive director and founder of the Blue Heart Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at empowering and educating underserved young men.

The foundation began by helping a handful of boys in a classroom on San Diego State University’s campus, and now it serves more than 80 male students ages 13 to 19, offering various education and empowerment programs focused on character development, health and emotional wellness, community service, leadership, teamwork and more.

Since Morris founded Blue Heart in 2013, more than 50 young men have completed the program and gone on to college.

“He wanted to ensure that a pipeline was built to get young men of color from disadvantaged communities or backgrounds to four-year universities, particularly first-generation college students,” said Mathew Gordon, a longtime friend of Morris and a mentor at Blue Heart.

Morris, who died Feb. 17 at age 54, grew up in the Skyline neighborhood of southeastern San Diego and attended Morse High School.

While attending San Diego City College, Morris joined Phi Beta Sigma, a historically African American fraternity that emphasizes community service. He went on to graduate from SDSU in 1997 with a degree in business administration and continued to work with the fraternity over the years.

Morris was inspired by his own challenging upbringing. He and his two brothers grew up in an abusive household, without their father in their lives, Gordon said. He has said he wanted to create something he never had, a safe place to learn and grow, according to his personal statement on Blue Heart’s website.

“He just wanted to become the change he wanted to see,” Gordon added.