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Past Wilkins Legislative and Civic Award Winners on Service

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As we prepare for the January 10 Riley-Wilkins OneSouthCarolina Legislative and Civic Leadership Awards, we’re reminded of the examples set by past winners. Here’s a look back at what a few of these outstanding leaders had to say about the importance of public service.

What drives you to serve?

“I truly believe in tikkun olam, which means ‘repair of the world,’ and so through serving my community, I have the ability to make a difference. I believe in doing things that can change lives [from infancy through adulthood]. I want to be able to teach and continue teaching. Even though I am not a teacher, I’m always a teacher … That’s how I serve my community. I work with others, and I believe in serving as a role model trying to help people understand roles they could take on as well to be able to make a difference in the world.”

Anita Zucker, Philanthropist
2012 Award Winner for Excellence in Civic Leadership


“When I was born, my mother taught school in a little town called Bowman. She taught her kids [using] books that were stamped ‘For colored use only.’ They paid her $368 a year while they were paying white teachers $769. So, I find a system that I really want to change [and make] fairer and better for all people. Every time I get to a difficult issue, I just think about my mother nowadays, what she talked to me about, and so I think that tends to be my guiding principle.”

Senator John Matthews, Jr. (D-Orangeburg)
2018 Award Winner for Excellence in Legislative Leadership

Riley-Wilkins OneSouthCarolina Legislative and Civic Leadership Awards

January 10, 2023

Join us in shining a light on two exceptional individuals, people who inspire rising leaders by exemplifying what can be achieved through empathy, collaboration, perseverance, and an overriding commitment to the wellbeing of the people of our state.

Reserve Your Seat

The Riley Institute would like to thank South Carolina ETV for supporting the 2023 Riley-Wilkins OneSouthCarolina Leadership Awards as a partner-level sponsor. Learn more about South Carolina ETV at

Winner quotes excerpted from 2020 video, “Fifteen Years of Wilkins Award Winners on Leadership, Service and Bipartisanship.”