Even before she was tasked as Foundation Director, Adrian Gibbs was inspired by the mission of the McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation. Carrying on the legacy and life’s work of its namesake, the foundation seeks to empower young people to discover their purpose, while promoting three core principles–care, give, and grow. As a young marketing professional, Gibbs took those principles to heart, volunteering and hosting charity events that raised nearly $10,000 for McKenzie’s Foundation’s local and global programs.
“I always had a passion for giving back, serving the community, and volunteering,” Gibbs says. “When the Wilson family started McKenzie’s Foundation, I knew this is where I wanted to give back.”
Earlier this month, McKenzie’s Foundation hosted its 10th annual McKenzie’s run at TIAA Bank field, proceeds from which support academic tutoring, mentoring, job readiness, and skill building programs to underserved youth right here in Jacksonville. We talked to Gibbs to find out more about how McKenzie’s Foundation does good, here and abroad.
How did you get involved with this organization? What about its mission drew you in?
Earlier in my career as a young marketing professional I wanted to use my platform to do good in Jacksonville. I always had a passion for giving back, serving the community, and volunteering. When the Wilson family started McKenzie’s Foundation, I knew this is where I wanted to give back. I began featuring the Foundation as a featured charity at the events I was hosting for a local plastic surgery practice. Participants loved learning about skincare, cutting edge procedures, and giving back to the community. It was a win, win for everyone!
Is there a story you can share of a time or situation where your organization helped someone that illustrates the importance of the organization’s mission?
The Foundations mission is to help young people recognize their full potential. Through our local after-school programs, we work with kids every day that are overcoming the “statistics” and excelling in their education. One of the most exciting things for me personally was celebrating the four high school seniors that graduated this past May. All four are enrolled in college. All four overcame insurmountable odds to make it. I have been an employee with The Foundation for five years now and seeing these four grow up and reach their potential is absolutely rewarding.
In what ways does this organization work with other organizations or local businesses to carry out its mission?
In August we announced an exciting partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida. Through this strategic partnership, we are able to scale our local programs with an organization that also seeks to see students reach their full potential. With the creation of “McKenzie Wilson Boys & Girls Clubs” we believe that together we can accomplish more good for our students in Jacksonville.
To learn more about McKenzie’s Foundation website mckenziesrun.org
This Do Good Spotlight originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Void Magazine.