Serving the community in Dallas is in Leland Burk’s DNA. 

The 57-year-old real estate executive is a third-generation Dallasite who graduated from the Greenhill School and studied political science at SMU. His grandfather was on the Dallas Citizens Council and the board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. 

Burk, whose dream as a child was to build big buildings, says his greatest gift is from his 85-year-old father, who taught him to help others. 

“My family has a history of involvement in giving back to the community.”

Burk serves on the UT Southwestern Medical Center board, the Cultural Affairs Commission of the City of Dallas, the Oak Lawn Committee, the Dallas Opera board and is a member of The Dallas Assembly, an organization of leaders from Dallas’ business, civic and nonprofit sectors who would like to improve the city. He’s also on the board of the Inwood Northwest Homeowners Association. In 2013, he ran for City Council in District 13 under the slogan “Leland Budget Watchdog Burk,” before losing to Jennifer Staubach Gates.

“Half of my day is occupied by civics, and during the other half I take care of business. I love every minute of it.”

Burk lives with Thomas Feulmer,  his partner of 12 years, in a Park Lane home, where he raised three children.

He and his wife married after attending Greenhill in 1987. He was 43 when he decided to come out even though he worried about how family, friends and business associates would react.

“The greatest lesson is that you shouldn’t live with that kind of fear,” he says. “When you’re candid with the people you care about and who care about you, it’s refreshing. They embraced me.”

In addition to reading two newspapers a day, he enjoys international travel and trips with his family to La Jolla, California, each summer. He also finds himself working seven days a week.

“I’m proud of my partner,” Burk says. “I’m proud of my relationship with my ex-wife. She’s one of my closest friends. We share every event together. You might say we’re a restructured family.”

Asked if he has political aspirations, he says, “I would like to serve. I would like to be remembered as someone who tried to make my community and country a better place. I also want people to know that I lived a life that my family and friends would be proud of.”

Photography by Danny Fulgencio.

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