Fundraising Pro and KMM Volunteer George Hamilton Earns Philanthropy Award
The Lee-Collier Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored George Hamilton as a distinguished volunteer at its National Philanthropy Day virtual event on Tuesday, November 17. A true example of a dedicated, generous community member, George truly embodies all that it means to be a distinguished volunteer.
George is no stranger to winning awards, which is a testament to his upstanding character and altruism. He has also been recognized for his community contributions by the YMCA Minority Achiever Awards, Crain’s Detroit Minority All-Star Award and Crain’s Annual Who’s Who in Detroit in 2005. He was also named to Black Enterprise Magazine’s Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America list in both 2005 and 2009.
George teamed up with Kids’ Minds Matter as a committee member in 2019, and most recently was installed as one of the newest members of the Lee Health Foundation Board of Trustees. Kids’ Minds Matter strives to raise awareness about the children’s mental and behavioral health epidemic in Southwest Florida, and improving access to pediatric healthcare services through strategic community partnerships and the support of generous donors.
George enthusiastically supports this objective and has a personal stake in the mission of Kids’ Minds Matter. “Good mental health and education are key foundations in allowing young people to achieve their full potential. I have seen the positive impact with my son, who is high functioning in large part because of access to, and support of, health and educational resources from an early age,” said George. “Shouldn’t everyone have the opportunity to reach their full potential?”
Kids’ Minds Matter believes the answer to that question is yes. Fortunately for Southwest Florida children in need, there are plenty of community advocates, volunteers and philanthropists who agree. Through the generosity of our community, mental health services and programs in our community have expanded to support families in need.
It is with immense gratitude that Kids’ Minds Matter acknowledges George’s tireless and crucial efforts in support of its mission. This year, George supported the fundraising efforts of the annual Secret Garden Gala. Proceeds from this signature event benefit ongoing efforts to improve the mental and behavioral health resources for Southwest Florida children – and particularly the large population on Medicare or without insurance coverage.
The personal passion that George poured into the 2020 Secret Garden Gala paid off in a big way. With his leadership, passion and support, in conjunction with our dedicated and hardworking committee, this high-profile community event set a record raising $2.8 million. This marks a substantial increase from the previous year’s total of $1 million.
George’s investment of time and energy in Kids’ Minds Matter not only represents a deep commitment to his own community, but also the importance that he places on mental health and education in general. “Kids’ Minds Matter and Lee Health are taking big steps in making this a reality for so many children and their families in Southwest Florida. I am honored to be a part of such a noble cause, focused on improving the quality of life for many in our community.”
For George, the volunteer partnership felt like a natural extension of a career spent helping others. His skills in fundraising, event and marketing acumen stem from an extensive career in business operations, marketing and sales, higher education and consulting.
Recently, George served as chair of the Board of Trustees for North Carolina Central University and is a Trustee for The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. He also recently served as its interim director. George is also on the Higher Education Works Board, and has held membership, board and leadership positions in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Montreat College, Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), Executive Leadership Council and the National Paint & Coatings Association. He also served as an Honorary Committee Member of International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies (FISITA).
George retired in 2014 as vice president of Olympic Operations of The Dow Chemical Company, a Worldwide Partner and the Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games. He held a variety of positions in sales, marketing, application development and business operations during his 37 years with the company, including management of two global business units for Dow as vice president of Dow Coating Solutions and as president of Dow Automotive. Prior to his Olympic role, Hamilton was responsible for the establishment of Dow’s Government Markets practice, which advances innovation and growth in areas such as alternative energy and energy efficiency.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. He later completed the Executive Development Program at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He and his wife, Jill, reside in Bonita Springs, Florida, and have two children. He enjoys mentoring youth, motivational speaking, performance and classic cars, golf and skiing and is a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
With his heart for service and impressive credentials, there’s no doubt: George has made a lasting impact on many children in our region through his service to Kids’ Minds Matter’s mission.