VERO BEACH — One of the founders of the United Way was Dan K. Richardson and as the United Way celebrates its 50th year his influence and contributions continue. Richardson was also instrumental in founding the Gifford Youth Activity Center in 1996. The United Way kicked off their year-long celebration with the annual Community Leaders Breakfast and Spirit of Indian River County Awards. Of the thirty-two health and human service agencies, one is recognized each year for its outstanding partnership, ability to measure and report results, and overall impact on the community. The Gifford Youth Activity Center was given the Agency of Excellence Award for 2010.
In 1996, Richardson along with Dr. A. Ronald Hudson and Dr. William Nigh met to discuss the possibility of building a Youth Activity Center in Gifford. In 1998 the Gifford Youth Activity Center opened and has grown to over 26 programs serving children, teenagers and senior citizens.
United Way praised GYAC for their dedicated staff, collaboration with other agencies and organizations and their ability to reach out to the community. Their programs have improved reading levels and academic performance and provide a support system for students in need.
Richardson’s influence and philanthropy is evident thorough the community; the Richardson Center and the Dan K Richardson Entrepreneur Program at Indian River State College are two more examples of his impact and generosity.
In 2006, GYAC created the Dan K. Richardson’s Humanitarian Award in his honor, to recognize other local individuals for their humanitarian efforts. The annual award is given to worthy citizens who have contributed to the Indian River County community in business, education and philanthropic leadership.
Richardson’s children are also community leaders and have followed in their father’s footsteps serving on human service organizations and arts boards. His daughter, Sandy Kahle, is the founder of Community Childcare Resources, another United Way Agency. His son-in-law Carter Hopkins established and is a member/past Chairperson of the GYAC Foundation. The circle of influence continues.