When it comes to community service, John Folsom '73, a trustee emeritus of W&L and the president-CEO of the commercial real estate firm Colliers International, said, "We all do a better job if we are totally committed to the causes we support."
That's what Folsom told the Columbia, S.C., newspaper The State upon being named his region's 2013 Humanitarian of the Year by the United Way of the Midlands.
Folsom said he tries to work actively for organizations and initiatives for which he has a passion, such as health and human services, education and the arts. His work on behalf of the homeless and recognition of members of the armed forces received special note in his nomination for the award.
As a member of the Midlands Housing Alliance board, he helped secure the property and solicited gifts from individuals and businesses that made possible the construction of the Transitions homeless shelter in Columbia. The shelter helps chronically homeless people make the transition to self-sufficiency. It has helped some 500 people move into permanent housing and another 1,300 to find improved living conditions.
Folsom told The State that he was surprised by the award, noting that many other people have made a significant impact on the quality of life in the South Carolina Midlands. And he added that large financial contributions are not the only way to do so. Thoughtful leadership and devotion of time and energy are also essential.
"For those of us who care about our community and the quality of life of our residents, I believe there is a role for each of us to play," he told the newspaper.