Selma Tucker wants his gifts of time, talent and treasure to help people build better lives
Selma Tucker arrived in Grand Rapids by way of Grand Valley State University. As a young man living in a small, rural community near South Bend, Indiana, becoming a Laker wasn’t part of his out life plan. Rather, it was a door that opened for a teen who was desperate and brave enough to see what was on the other side.
CATCHING A BREAK
Selma was accepted and recommended for a Grand Valley program known as the Oliver Wilson Freshmen Academy. This program provides academic support and personal development to selected students to help them transition to college and find success.
By the end of his freshman year, Selma was laser-focused on earning his degree in political science and public administration to help him achieve his dream of becoming a city manager. He worked hard and built a network. At commencement, he had three job offers in his pocket—pretty great, especially considering it was 2009. He started working with the City of Grand Rapids under mentors Eric DeLong and Greg Sundstrom.
Today, Selma is a vice president with Public Sector Consultants, leading a communications practice he started. He’s been with the Lansing-based firm since 2013 and he resides in Grand Rapids’ East Hills neighborhood.
When it comes to community issues, one of Selma’s passions is safe and affordable housing. “From a policy standpoint, housing is where most middle class wealth is held. If a family is shut out of the housing market, it is incredibly difficult for them to gain wealth and get to a place of stability,” Selma said. “I think people who are working on housing and thinking of it from a multi-disciplinary standpoint are doing really important work.”
He also supports his alma mater and Grand Rapids Community Foundation. In 2018, Selma became one of the Community Foundation’s One Hundred New Philanthropists. This is a donor group that commits to giving to the Community Foundation now and later. Selma decided to support the Community Foundation after his lifetime by naming the organization a beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
“I’m a millennial and I’m very much in the beginning of my philanthropy, but I know my giving will grow,” Selma said. “You have to think about people who are on the tail end of the bell curve, and I think the Community Foundation is doing really great work in that space. They’re not afraid to talk about issues that might seem impolitic. There is a fearlessness in what they’re doing, and I’m attracted to it.”
The full scope of Selma’s ultimate legacy is yet to be written, but he knows the type of impact he’d like to make. “I want my work to have a strong element of service and I want all people to do well,” Selma said. “I worked hard to get where I am, but I did not get here alone. My environment facilitated my growth instead of diminishing it, and that was possible, frankly, because someone gave money. There were breaks and people who took a chance on me, and I want those opportunities to exist for others.”
PLANNING IS IMPORTANT, LET US HELP
Planning what will happen to your assets after your lifetime is important. Getting started is often the hardest part. We’re here to help you understand all of your options and explore creative ways to leave your mark on the community you love. Let’s talk! Reach a member of our team at 616.454.1751.