2013 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Inspires Crowd with His Personal Story

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After he had shared his passion for improving the quality of life in Springfield, and especially for its young residents, the crowd couldn’t help but give not one, but two standing ovations to Charles Rucks. Charles, who has served as the Executive Director of Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services for close to 15 years, was honored with the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s 2013 Lifetime Achievement award during yesterday’s conference.

Suzanne Frechette, MNN Board member and Deputy Director of Coalition for a Better Acre, introduced Charles. “Charles’ commitment to his neighborhood has deep roots.  This neighborhood, where he works, goes to church and lives, is the same neighborhood where Charles spent his childhood. That commitment to his neighborhood and its youth was the motivation for Charles’ decision to leave the for-profit sector to work in the nonprofit sector.”

Suzanne went on to describe the precipitating event years ago that drove Charles to want to improve his community: two young African-American youth, who were the same age as Charles’ daughter at that time, were sentenced to two years in prison for the possession of marijuana.  Around the same time, two white youth were found in possession of LSD, but they only lost a semester of college.

Charles then inspired the crowd with his personal story of overcoming racism to become the outstanding nonprofit leader he is. “The Lord did not give up on me, and I will not give up on these young people” he promised the crowd.MNNConf2013-12

MNN is proud to honor Charles Rucks for his work to improve the quality of life in Springfield and its many neighborhoods. As a sector, we are very fortunate to have Charles as an inspiring example of nonprofit leadership and dedication.

 

Photos courtesy of Leise Jones.