A longtime member of The Shriners International, Tracy Pick has always been ready to jump in and lend a hand. Passionate about giving back, the special care planner at Legacy Wealth Partners was volunteering at a Special Olympics event with longtime friend Don Nottingham, former running back with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, when they met Maria Roman, a dedicated volunteer fundraiser and coordinator with Special Olympics Florida, Marion County.
Recognizing that Special Olympics events are primarily athletically-focused, Roman wanted to offer arts, humanities, and other diverse opportunities to the disabled community. Pick immediately sprang into action and reached out to clients and other community leaders for support. After an overwhelming response, the nonprofit Champions for Champions was founded to fill the gap in the community.
Four years later, the nonprofit offers programs that include music therapy, Toastmasters, dance, aquatics, bowling, cooking, summer camp activities, and community outreach projects to special needs individuals, their families, and people who support diversity and inclusion, who often travel from out of state to participate.
Pick said he isn’t always comfortable in the spotlight, but has found his niche in serving as a board member, co-chair of fundraising, and member of the finance committee.
“As a financial professional, I am comfortable approaching people,” he said. “Champions for Champions is an opportunity for us to be better as a community, and people generously donate when they know they are making a difference.”
Pick was recognized with a $25,000 Community Service Award from the MassMutual Foundation for his work with the nonprofit and Champions for Champions.
Run entirely by volunteers, Pick said the organization “takes our individual strengths and puts them to work for one cause. Working together, we make the vision become a reality for so many.”
Pick said not only has he gotten back tenfold what he has put in to Champions for Champions, his fellow volunteers and the participants themselves inspire him daily.
“To see someone who was once afraid to talk to anyone offer a Toastmaster’s speech to a room full of people reminds me of the difference we are making,” he said. “Our recipients give 100 percent and to see them blossom is something I never take for granted.”
The perspective he’s gained as a volunteer has enriched the value he offers clients.
“I understand the challenges facing special needs families,” he said. “We develop financial strategies that protect their loved ones, and I’ve suggested many clients use the resources available at Champions for Champions.”
Pick’s daughter now also volunteers for the causes she is passionate about.
“Giving back has been a part of my life since she was born,” he said. “She recognizes that giving back is an important part of personal development and self-improvement.”
A $25,000 difference
The award will be used to further develop unique programs that allow participants the ongoing opportunity to grow and develop.
“The MassMutual Foundation’s recognition is validation of the work its financial professionals do in their communities,” he said. “There are so many amazing causes to support, and this spotlight raises awareness higher than we could have ever hoped.”
In 2020, MassMutual Foundation awarded 32 grants, including two $25,000 Platinum Awards, 15 $10,000 Gold Awards, and 15 $5,000 Awards to eligible applicants. The winners were notified in July.
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