About two years ago, RED Capital Managing Director Sharon Walker was asked to accompany a friend to a fundraising event for Legacy Counseling Center. The only requirement? She had to get dressed up and head out the door in 15 minutes.
The time crunch didn’t faze Sharon, and that night she was introduced to Legacy, a 27-year-old nonprofit that provides mental health care, substance abuse treatment and housing services for people living with HIV and AIDS. According to Dallas County Health statistics, nearly 20,000 people are living with HIV in the Dallas metropolitan area. Legacy’s goal is to help them deal with the difficult realities that can accompany the disease.
After volunteering for events like Legacy’s clothing drives, Sharon became a board member for the organization in March of this year. It turned out, Legacy was in need of someone with her background in finance to help with their budget planning process. She also serves as a face of the organization at fundraisers and helps plan events like the upcoming spring gala.
It doesn’t feel like work because I’ve met so many wonderful people who give their time,” Sharon says. ” I just wanted to be involved in something where everyone is so positive and trying to help people in need.”
That dedication doesn’t go unnoticed-Legacy is beyond grateful for the work of its volunteers, as Executive Melissa Grove, who has been with Legacy for 25 years, will tell you. Melissa says, “It’s been wonderful to have Sharon’s expertise. She is sharp, has a lot of charisma, and is a person that just naturally attracts people.”
Legacy has a seven-room, special care facility called Founders Cottage where people living with AIDS in critical stages of their illness can stay and receive supervised care around the clock. Volunteers can also be part of the Comfort Food Program, which gives them the chance to visit residents once a month and bring food for seven people. Another way to help out is through the Master Leasing Program. Legacy routinely visits homeless shelters and takes people with HIV into the program, which is designed to get them their own apartments while the participants work on gaining independence.
By day, Sharon’s job as a Managing Director for the FHA Asset Management team at RED Capital has kept her busy since January 2015 leading a team of six asset managers that service the FHA portfolio.
I come from humble beginnings , and my father just wanted to make sure all of us were educated, well-fed and had more opportunities than he did,” Sharon says. “He was always helping somebody else, so that’s the kind of house I grew up in. If you have something, you probably have more than others, and you just try to help people with that. That’s the way I was raised.”