News

Mar
12

Partnering to Leave A Legacy: Wayne Williams, GTCF Legacy Society Member

Filed Under: Vibrant Community - Posted @ 1:01am

Over the past 38 years, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation has seen Pierce County grow and change, but what has remained constant is the passion people bring to building a thriving community. Sharing community knowledge and stories about our lived experiences builds everyone’s ability to make a positive impact.

In our latest annual book of Pierce County Partners, we share stories and insights from individuals and organizations who are making a difference in Pierce County. In their own words, they speak about the dreams and lessons that fuel their work in the community.

 

Wayne Williams’ mother and grandmother were his guiding light. “They recognized something special in me but told me and demonstrated that the only thing that would make what I had meaningful was to give it away.”

“The first thing people often ask young people is, ‘what do you want to do or be?’ But, my first question is, ‘how can I support you?’”

“I was one of only a handful of African American students in the MBA program at the Wharton School of Business. I remember sitting in a class on portfolios with other students who actually had their portfolios with them! My immediate instinct was to look at them as something more than me. But, it was there that I began to see myself as I really was. Not as something less, but someone in the same class as them, learning the same things.”

Wayne’s experiences and knowledge led him into a career as a product innovator with the Xerox Corporation. As a teacher and administrator with Tacoma Community College and Metro Parks Tacoma, he turned his knowledge and experience into a twenty-one-year involvement with the Elizabeth Wesley Youth Merit Incentive Award Program through the Urban League, supporting the retention of African American public high school students.

“The way I see it, if I look at disease or social unrest or environmental threats, it occurs to me how pompous it is for us as human beings to overlook any mind that might find the cure or have the answer. It is ludicrous for us to put any mind at risk.”

“The simplest way of doing the most good with my legacy gift is through GTCF because I know they will leverage and amplify my intent.

“The first thing people often ask young people is, ‘what do you want to do or be?’ But, my first question is, ‘how can I support you?’”

“I realized in my retirement that I didn’t work all these years to accumulate skills and knowledge to wake up one day and say, ‘that was that’. I think that is one of the worst self-devaluating things you can do, and I refuse to devaluate myself.”

With over 30 years of observing Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s work throughout Pierce County, Wayne believes, “The simplest way of doing the most good with my legacy gift is through GTCF because I know they will leverage and amplify my intent. GTCF shares my values.

They understand my intent. They will take my gift and do more with it than I could do alone.”  “The intent of the Wayne Williams – Lifting Lives Legacy is to help young people of color discover, like I did, the best parts of themselves and to share it with others.”

To find out more about leaving a legacy for your community contact GTCF’s Philanthropy Team.