The Lucas legacy: Stepping up and filling a need, time and again

BY THE TIME HE WAS a youngster, David Lucas sturdy work ethic and drive to earn cash had set him on a path that might result in a enterprise empire in Southwest Florida actual property improvement. As a 10-year-old, he bought eggs door to door in his Pittsburgh neighborhood. He delivered newspapers, bought Christmas playing cards and shoveled snow.

I used to be at all times working once I was a child, attempting to make cash, Lucas says.

That scrappy entrepreneurial spirit stayed with him all through his life and fuels his need to encourage the identical zeal in others by his philanthropic efforts. His newest reward to Florida Gulf Coast College, a $four million

Linda and David Lucas

problem that spurred different pledges to collectively match his, will empower FGCU to groom generations of scholars who aspire to be entrepreneurs like him. To honor his generosity, the brand new constructing he made doable might be named for him.

The three-story, 27,000-square-foot constructing on FGCUs important campus will home the fast-growing Daveler & Kauanui College of Entrepreneurship in addition to the Small Enterprise Improvement Heart and FGCUs Regional Financial Analysis Institute, all of which interact in neighborhood partnerships that profit financial improvement.

Entrepreneurship is what drives this nation, Lucas says. It creates jobs. Small firms make a giant distinction.

As do longtime traders like David and Linda Lucas, who’re among the many colleges earliest and strongest supporters, with items and pledges in extra of $eight million since 1996. Their legacy features a $2 million reward to ascertain the David and Linda Lucas Heart for Grasp Deliberate Group Improvement and Finance Endowed Fund and one other $2 million for The Lucas Heart for School Improvement Endowed Fund.

David Lucas affect is absolutely in all places, says Kitty Inexperienced, vp for College Development and government director of the FGCU Basis.

Any time there was an actual want, and he thought he might play a job in fixing that want, he would step up.

And in stepping up, Lucas demonstrated perception within the establishment, its mission and its progress. As with the numerous different neighborhood causes he has supported together with the Southwest Florida Group Basis, United Method and Canterbury College, to call a couple of Lucas has led by instance, sharing his time and experience in addition to his fortune.

Greater than a dozen various companies, faculties and charitable organizations have benefited from his hands-on dedication within the three-plus a long time he has lived in Southwest Florida. Including up his simultaneous phrases as chairman, president or government commitee member of a number of organizations 31 years with the United Method, 25 years Westminster Presbyterian, and so forth. ends in a cumulative 141 years of service.

Lucas has supported these and different establishments with $78.5 million thus far, usually as problem pledges that encourage others to present and double his pledges and items. And he willingly asks others for cash; he has raised greater than $30 million in direct solicitations for organizations together with United Method.

The factor that I wish to be remembered for is the truth that I’ve been related to many organizations, charitable and enterprise alike, which have had a optimistic affect in the neighborhood, Lucas says.

That legacy might be celebrated and preserved in perpetuity at FGCU.

David Lucas was an early investor in FGCU, and he continues to make investments that propel this college on its continuous journey to excellence, says FGCU President Mike Martin. Together with the numerous monetary help David has supplied, his involvement with FGCU sends the message extremely profitable persons are betting on our success.

Lucas involvement began nicely earlier than FGCU was FGCU. In 1991, six years earlier than the inaugural class stepped on campus, he helped tee off the primary annual fundraiser for the then-unnamed college; The Founders Cup golf event has raised about $2 millionfor scholarships since then. He served on the colleges founding Board of Trustees and continues to play an lively position with the FGCU Basis.

Youve bought to discover a place the place you can also make a distinction thats what makes your life important, he explains, invoking considered one of his favourite sayings: There are three sorts of individuals on this world those that make issues occur, those that watch issues occur and people who marvel what occurred? We need to be in that first class, making issues occur.

There are three sorts of individuals on this world those that make issues occur, those that watch issues occur and people who marvel what occurred? We need to be in that first class, making issues occur.

Lucas has few friends on the subject of supporting initiatives that enhance alternatives for FGCU college students and college. Each profit from the Lucas Heart for School Improvement, established along with his reward in 2014. The middle helps actions that assist school members develop as academics, which promotes FGCUs major mission of offering the very best high quality schooling to organize college students for fulfillment. Its a ripple impact, in line with Lucas Heart Director Invoice Reynolds.

School who take part in Lucas Heart applications constantly report that their educating and their relationships with college students are enhanced which, in flip, contributes to simpler educating and studying, in addition to general pupil success, Reynolds says. David Lucas had the foresight to acknowledge {that a} younger college would profit from a educating and studying middle devoted to college and pupil success.

He noticed a necessity for school improvement applications, and he stepped up simply as he did 10 years earlier with the endowed fund that helps The Lucas Institute for Actual Property Improvement & Finance. The institute was designed to fulfill a requirement for high-quality diploma applications that put together college students for the challenges of the extremely aggressive actual property improvement trade one of the vital highly effective financial forces in Southwest Florida.

Once I consider Mr. Lucas affect on FGCU, I give it some thought from the coed perspective, says Shelton Weeks, Lucas Institute director and division chair of Economics & Finance. The variety of college students Ive been capable of work with personally and that weve been capable of give experiences to, the variety of neighborhood teams weve delivered to campus to show our college students to alternatives and profession paths in actual property, wouldn’t have been doable with out his help.

Photo of David Lucas
David Lucas

The Lucas legacy extends nicely past the boundaries of FGCUs campus, Weeks provides. Throughout the Southwest Florida actual property trade are numerous alumni who’ve risen to management roles due to FGCU applications supported by Lucas. Its a becoming tribute to a visionary pioneer in advocating sustainable improvement as head of The Bonita Bay Group. Lucas assumed management of the household actual property improvement enterprise in 1984 after the dying of his father-in regulation, David Shakarian, founder and chairman of Common Vitamin Corp.

It was at The Bonita Bay Group the place Kitty Inexperienced first bought to know Lucas after she was employed in 1991. He noticed a have to encourage philanthropy amongst his staff, and inspired others to comply with swimsuit.

He actually taught all of us within the firm about what it means to present as a result of it’s the proper factor to do not due to what you get in return, Inexperienced recollects. David has led by instance all through this neighborhood, and far of it has been finished anonymously.

And hes finished it the correct approach, stepping as much as give when and the place it will probably do essentially the most good. In his personal phrases: Do your givin when youre livin, so that youre knowin the place its goin.

At 73, Lucas is nicely on his strategy to reaching his objective of making a gift of $100 million, which he expects to attain in three years. Battling Parkinsons illness for greater than 20 years has been his greatest problem in life, he says. His proudest accomplishment, although? His half in FGCUs founding, development and improvement.

What I discovered within the improvement enterprise was do it proper and do the correct factor, he says. Thats what (FGCU) does it does the correct factor and produces the correct of individuals. Ive been honored to be a part of it.

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