willie-gary_web.jpgDELRAY BEACH — Before the Great Recession, when donors were plentiful,  fundraising for non-profit organizations was a simple process that almost always guaranteed results.

Now, however, fundraising has become a painful task.

To ensure that their next fundraiser meets its financial goals, the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum has brought in the man known as “The Giant Killer.”
On April 17, Willie E. Gary, the prominent South Florida attorney, will be the featured speaker at the museum’s Legacy of Champions Luncheon at the Delray Beach Marriott.

Gary, who earned his nickname after winning several cases against large corporations, will speak on the topic, “Dream Big Dreams; Refuse to be Denied.”

Gary said his speech focuses on universal themes such as optimism and perseverance, which he said are especially relevant now.

“We’re all going to have to weather this [economic] storm,” he said. “I think it’s a breath of fresh air to talk about hope.”

The fundraiser honors individuals who are very active in the community service arena.

Among the 2010 honorees are Rita Ellis, a former mayor of Delray Beach; Perry Stokes, a vocalist, playwright and drama coach at Carver Middle School; Addie Greene, a former Palm Beach County Commissioner; Tony Newbold,  External Affairs Area Manager for FP&L; and the Keith Straghn Foundation.

In addition to owning a law firm with three offices in Florida, Gary has also founded a separate, non-profit organization, the Gary Foundation, to lead his charitable endeavors.

When asked how he managed to balance a career with community service, he replied, “It’s real simple: You have to set your priorities, otherwise you’ll be so busy you won’t have time to give back.”

For Gary, who said he believes his own success is partly attributed to the help of caring community members, community service is not an option for anyone.

“We’ve got to give back,” he said. “Nobody has the right not to reach back and help someone.”

Daisy Fulton, executive director of the Spady Museum, said she believes that Gary’s inspirational message will have an effect on all audience members.

“I think it’s going to be very, very enlightening for our children as well as their parents and grandparents,” Fulton said.

She said she hopes that young people in particular will see the influential attorney and learn that “the window of opportunity is open and that they too can be successful if not more successful.”

Fulton is even offering limited seating and discounted tickets for children up to 16 years old, in order to encourage youthful attendance. 

The proceeds from the luncheon fundraiser, which Fulton said she hopes will raise $75,000, will fund the museum’s Kids Cultural Program, 3T (Teach, Travel and Tour).  Begun in 2001, the program serves 5- to 17-year-olds, and travels to schools to show children mini-exhibits as well as age-appropriate activities.

Photo: Willie E. Gary


What: Legacy of Champions Luncheon.

Where: Delray Beach Marriott, 10 N. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach.

When: 11 a.m.

Cost: $100 for adults per ticket; $35 per ticket for youth 16 years old and younger.

Contact: For more information, please call 561-279-8883.