Pull others up: Dee Wilcox on improving your community one workshop at a time

Corie Murray’s ‘Black Men Sundays’ podcast focuses on business, finance and building generational wealth

Dee Wilcox, founder of the AnnieRuth Foundation. (The AnnieRuth Foundation)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Finding success for yourself is one thing, and it’s a good thing, but fostering it for others can lead to exponential improvements in your community and beyond.

This week on ‘Black Men Sundays,’ host Corie Murray interviews DeAndrous “Dee” Wilcox, founder of the AnnieRuth Foundation. Named after Wilcox’s grandmother, the nonprofit organization seeks to put young participants in positions of success by means of workshops, networking, guidance in economic development, a focus on education and more.

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“We’re engaging the students in what we call business seminars,” Wilcox said. “...What we do is we bring in community leaders from all over the world — and what they look like, the community leaders, these are TV personalities, radio personalities, politicians, CEOs, successful business owners, just people that can come in and engage the students, sharing snippets of their life that position them to be successful, because our students need to hear that. There’s a saying, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see,’ right? So we want to bring all of these individuals in from all over different career fields, etc., so that these students can see it and know that they too can become whatever it is they so desire to become.”

Wilcox’s decade-long journey to where she’s at now, however, began at a different organization, and with what many might consider bad news.

“So, my job was eliminated, and it took me by surprise, right? I didn’t see it coming. Nobody saw that coming, because I was doing a whole lot of things that were very pleasing to a lot of people in the organization, I’ll say it that way,” Wilcox said. “...what that allowed me to do was to go home, right, with some sunlight still shining, and it gave me an opportunity to just kind of relax and go, ‘Oh my gosh, okay, this feels good. I’m only putting in eight hours, I can go home and relax a bit.’”

Still, what Wilcox said she enjoyed most about her old job was the agency she was granted to look out for others and correct wrongs. Now at home, she said a televised Sunday sermon gave her the direction she needed.

“...What he said was, ‘Often times, we go to our graves with our passion, because we never take action.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, he’s talking to me,’ because like I said, the concept for a foundation was in my head and somewhat on a computer,” Wilcox said.

At this point, in 2012, Wilcox said she had been saving money for four years to eventually buy a brand new car. While what Wilcox eventually purchased with those funds may not have had wheels, the upward mobility it’s since created is admirable.

“The money that I was going to selfishly purchase a car with, I purchased a whole building for the AnnieRuth Foundation, and this is the funny part: so that money, right? Just imagine how much money it takes for a brand new car. I was able to purchase that building, no note, no mortgage note, purchased it straight out with cash, had to get an attorney to make sure, you know, everything was clear and right for sale,” Wilcox said. “I had to get an engineer to test the soil and all of that stuff, right? And I’m using this money that I’m saving for my car, it was like it never ran out. I’m like, ‘Oh my God, when God had something for you, it is definitely for you.’”

From there, as Wilcox put it, it’s a long story and a good one. She suggested calling 904-200-7202 to get in touch.

Black Men Sundays talks about building generational wealth. Check out every episode in the media player below:

About the Authors:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.