This year we welcomed our new board chair Sandra Strickland. She has been a leader in the community for many years, a fundholder and supporter of the Community Foundation, and an inspiration to many. We recently sat down with her and did a short, fun Q&A.
CFNEG: Why is helping lead the Community Foundation so important to you?
Sandra: When then-board chair Scott Phelan asked if I would consider being the chairman of the board for the Community Foundation, I told him to let me have a week to think about it, pray over it, and I would get back to him. It only took me three days. People often ask me if I have a favorite nonprofit and I say “all of them”. I don’t have a favorite, but I have one or two that I always have passion for, and when I asked myself who I was passionate about, it was the Community Foundation. What better seat to sit in for the community when you’re with a nonprofit who wants to help all the other nonprofits? Clyde and I actually already planned out our trips for the year and let Randy know so that I could be available when he needs me. I believe through leading together we will take the Community Foundation to a higher level so we can become a better community. Being the board chair is an investment in people because we connect people who care with causes that matter to them.
CFNEG: What’s your dream for the Community Foundation?
Sandra: My dream is that at the end of 2019 we have the greatest amount of assets in our history, a stronger board, and a larger staff so we can serve more nonprofits than we ever have. Our responsibility is to serve the community and people in need.
CFNEG: Why should people give through the Community Foundation?
Sandra: It really changed our lives when Clyde and I started giving. We had a foundation somewhere else but then started giving through the Community Foundation. We transferred the balance of our foundation into the Community Foundation because we felt like this was local and close to our heart. The Community Foundation also offers more freedom and opportunities to those who open a donor advised fund – it gives them time to think about where they want to give their money and hear about the needs. Plus, the staff will work with you personally, and they really listen to where your heart is and how you want to give.
CFNEG: You and Clyde moved to Gwinnett in 1969. What was it like then?
Sandra: If I remember correctly, I-85 had just opened before we moved. There weren’t many people on the highway and it didn’t have very many lanes. Big difference from how it is now! I was a young mother with three small children when we moved here and there weren’t many schools. Lawrenceville only had one high school, one middle school and one elementary school. Now I’ve lost track of how many schools Gwinnett County has! We had a lot of service projects back then, too. We would go door to door with the American Cancer Society, telling people how to prevent cancer – or with the American Red Cross, trying to get people to donate blood. You didn’t have many options to get the word out, other than an ad in the newspaper or going door to door.
CFNEG: What do you do for fun?
Sandra: My hobby when I was younger was volunteering. Then when Clyde started the business in 1972 I became a work mom and a volunteer. I was still involved in everything the kids did and was part of the PTA. Clyde and I have both been deeply involved in church work for years as well. About 12 years ago, though, I started a hobby I never thought I would: golf. I love to play golf! I’m not good but when we go on vacation, that’s what we do. I also love traveling and going to the movies. When I was growing up, my dad always took us to the movies once a week and it’s always been something I love. If I have a free day, I also love being home with nothing to do and just cleaning house, catching up on laundry and cooking a good dinner. That, to me, is my therapy.