Giving as a Means of Enacting Values
The education that Bill King ’73 received as a Morris undergraduate has sustained him throughout his personal and professional life. Recognizing that this educational experience enriches his work in the field of philanthropy, King hopes to support Morris students while expressing his personal values. A lifelong advocate of inclusivity and education throughout greater Minnesota, King gives back to Morris in an effort to manifest these principles.
Considering that he holds a bachelor of arts in elementary education and comes from a family of teachers, education is a natural field of interest for King—much like his devotion to greater Minnesota, given that many of his family members live in the region. There is yet another dimension to King’s personal investment in education, however, and that is his dedication to promoting multicultural diversity. Believing that “education is a gateway to the future, regardless of economic background,” King is interested in supporting multiculturalism in rural classrooms.
King established the William R. King Scholarship in an effort to help diverse young teachers thrive in a rural environment. Awarded to senior students of color who are planning to teach elementary education in rural Minnesota, the scholarship serves two purposes—providing financial support to deserving students and promoting diversity among classroom role models. Although King’s decision to create this scholarship was informed by his experience and values, it ultimately came as a response to conversations he had with his brother Richard, who served on the Willmar school board during a time of great cultural change within the community.
“In a way, this is a sort of grand experiment, seeing if we can make sure children of color have greater success by having access to diverse role models. The purpose of my work is to influence success in rural communities and see if we can make a difference in greater Minnesota.”
With a vested interest in diversity, race, and inclusion, King is heavily involved in work addressing diversification of the population. As president of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, he has an extensive history of community involvement, which informs his views on the significance of philanthropy within rural communities. King believes philanthropy is an effective method through which to enact the change he aims so strongly to achieve, and it is his hope that other donors and alumni who want to make a difference in the Morris learning community will join him by giving and extending their relationship with the University beyond the initial four-year experience.
“Because my work has been in the field of philanthropy, I am able to recognize that philanthropy is value-based. I happen to find Morris a vehicle through which to enact a more inclusive community. I encourage others to look at Morris as a vehicle for carrying out their aims, and if it matches their values, I hope they find ways to express those values through philanthropy.”