Our new Board Chair, Ruell Hicks, answered a few questions about himself and plans for his time with Waccamaw Community Foundation. Read on to learn more about our new leader.
How did you first become involved with Waccamaw Community Foundation?
For the past 40 years, I’ve always been involved in the Grand Strand community and my church. I’ve been active in the United Way, Habitat for Humanity and other organizations that offer a helping hand to those in need. I have found that working with WCF offers a uniquely tangible and focused way of having a positive effect on the lives of others. Through working with donors, we are offered the opportunity to see exactly how lives are changed by grants from a donor’s fund. The grants from donor-advised funds seem to offer a results-oriented impact on the lives of others.
Who are some leaders that you look up to?
There are two past WCF board members that I look up to, Paul Malone and Jimmy Johnson. Both are very successful business people who exhibit a concern for the well-being of others. They both continue to be involved in giving back to our communities, are philanthropically-minded and understand the importance of helping others who are in need. They see philanthropy as their civic responsibility.
What does philanthropy represent to you?
To me, philanthropy is my opportunity to give some of my good fortune back to others in need in my community. It’s much like tithing to support your church. It’s an opportunity to share some of your financial success with others who have less.
What kinds of causes are most important to you?
I have four young grandchildren here in Myrtle Beach. I hear tales from their parents of how many of the children in their classes don’t have what I consider basic needs. They often don’t have money for field trips, don’t have warm clothes to wear, sometimes don’t have a healthy meal to eat on weekends or when they are not in school. They often do not have parents who are positively involved in their lives to encourage them or be good role models. These children are the future of our society, and we need to do a better job teaching them to be successful, contributing members of our society.
What goals do you have for your time as Chair?
I look forward to continuing to build on our past successes and improving our relationships with our donors. Donors should always be the focus of our efforts at WCF. They should see us as the engine that helps implement their philanthropic desires. We should make it easy for our fundholders to see their charitable goals realized.
What are you most looking forward to about the year ahead for the Foundation?
During this next year, I hope we can continue to strengthen the board by recruiting dynamic, qualified members with diverse backgrounds. We also plan to grow our team with a part-time staff member to help with the grant administration and donor support.