A lifelong spirit of philanthropy

Even though Richard Tucker only lived in Birmingham a short time, he has pledged half of his estate to the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. The other half will go to the Community Foundation of Jefferson County, Washington, where Tucker currently lives and works. It was a promise he made to his late partner Walter Logan who was a Birmingham native. “Neither one of us had children. And so we said, Well, how can we make a difference?” Tucker recalls. “We weren’t wealthy by any means, but we have resources, so we decided that we wanted to make a legacy gift that honors both of our commitments and passions.”

This spirit of philanthropy was instilled in Tucker from a young age by his mother. “My mother raised me to be grateful and show gratitude by supporting other people,” he says. “She was a remarkable person who said every morning you wake up, be grateful for what you have. Don’t be stingy and share. So, while I’m not wealthy, I am generous.” And generosity was a value he shared with Logan. “Walter was a good, decent man, and he had deep ties to Birmingham.”

That’s why seeing the difference their donations make is important to Tucker, who is still very connected to the Birmingham community. “I like to see the impact because I don’t have a lot of wealth. Whatever I have, I just give it away because I want to make sure I can make a difference,” he says, “Through the Community Foundation, our money is invested wisely and it makes a difference. And that’s transformational change.”

In the 8 years Tucker has been involved with the Community Foundation, he’s seen the Community Foundation fund many initiatives that have made a big difference in the quality of life here, and he says that’s vitally important. “People will come to Birmingham because of the quality of life, and then they’ll stay because they find what they want to find in a community. I credit a lot of that to the projects that the Community Foundation has been involved in.”

When he first moved to the Birmingham area in 2010 from Atlanta, Tucker was immediately impressed by the Community Foundation mission to ignite passion for transformational change. “Whether it’s working with individual donors, with a donor advised fund, or working with their own funds that have been donated over time, the Community Foundation is constantly seeking out projects in the region that make a difference.”

Tucker saw how the Greater Birmingham community benefits from both tangible projects like trails and conservation and intangible projects that benefit schools, cultural endeavors, and the arts. “But what really got me, being a gay man in Alabama who was married to a man from Birmingham was the fact that the Community Foundation took a bold step to set up the LGBTQ fund to support organizations in the region,” he says. “It was an eye-opener for me that an organization in Alabama would actually set up a fund to support things that I truly believe in, that impact me directly.” But aside from the personal impact, Tucker saw the importance the Community Foundation placed on building understanding and building bridges between different communities.

“When I saw the LGBTQ fund being established for Greater Birmingham, first of all it blew me away that it would happen. But it also showed me that this is an organization that’s in touch with what the community needs,” Tucker recalls. “And that’s what’s best about the Community Foundation – it’s bold enough to support organizations, programs, and populations who are often underserved, and it’s an organization that has an overarching vision, that sees the larger picture of community, not just the individual programmatic needs. It’s an impressive organization with a fearless, but not reckless, vision.”

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