Engaging Family

Engaging Family

The Foundation actively seeks ways to engage family members in philanthropy and wants to build on the legacy of giving that Kemmons and Dorothy began. All five of Kemmons and Dorothy’s children and spouses have lived out the values of philanthropic engagement and many, along with their spouses, have been visionaries in the community through non-profit leadership. 

Family Engagement Spotlights 2017

McLean Crosstown 2

McLean Wilson and the Crosstown Concourse Redevelopment

In 1927, Sears, Roebuck & Co built their distribution center at the Crosstown location of North Watkins and North Parkway. This building was left vacant in 1993 as a result of the decline in the Sears mail-order business. In 2014, the Crosstown Development Team took on the project of transforming the vacant building into a vertical urban village. McLean Wilson partnered with Todd Richardson and the Crosstown Development Team to create a vision for repurposing the building to create artistic, business, living, nonprofit, and retail space for Memphians. McLean was responsible for the financing, legal, leasing and project management side of the $200 million redevelopment of the 1.1 million-square-foot tower. Crosstown Concourse officially opened in the fall of 2017 in large part due to McLean's outstanding support, expertise, and hardwork. 

Becky Wilson Honored as Outstanding Philanthropist

Becky Wilson was recognized as Outstanding Philanthropist on November 14th at this year’s Association of Fundraising Professionals Crystal Awards ceremony. Family and friends gathered at the U of M Holiday Inn to celebrate this honor of Becky's love and generosity to the Memphis community. 

“My hope is through my writing, my photography, and my work with BRIDGES that I can help my children, my grandchildren, and others in this community see the world around them from a new perspective,” said Becky Wilson.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP Memphis Chapter) picked a most appropriate setting to celebrate National Philanthropy Day: Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management at the University of Memphis.  The AFP could literally give one member of the Wilson family or another a Crystal Award on an annual basis. The Wilson family’s fingerprints are nearly everywhere you look across the spectrum of charitable giving in Memphis and the Mid-South. But this was Rebecca Webb Wilson’s moment in the sun. As the BRIDGES website reveals: as a community volunteer, she brought a program called Bridge Builders to what was known in 1988 as Youth Service.  Over the last thirty years, the program she established to create ties that bind adopted the name BRIDGES and has become a national model for uniting young minds in a spirit of friendship while confronting the world’s joys and vexing challenges.

Becky AFP 2

Next Generation Highlights

Next Generation, or NexGen, was created in 2014 for rising 6th graders through 12th graders who are members of the Wilson family. Through foundation programming, the members come together to learn about the history of the family foundation, principles of philanthropy, and explore their passions for service and giving to others.

This year, our NexGen members were allotted $1,000 to gift to the Memphis community. At the first meeting, NexGen members learned about the basics of philanthropy, the Wilson Family legacy, and the causes our NexGen members are passionate about. Throughout the year, we discussed responsible giving practices, how to effectively evaluate a non-profit, and the Memphis non-profit community. We modeled the program in a way so that the NexGen members we serving as a Board of Directors. They worked through group decision making and problem solving tactics.

It is not how much you have but how much you enjoy that makes happiness.
Kemmons Wilson