Greg Beard has been a Kiwanian since 1995, when he joined the Kiwanis Club of Alexandria, Louisiana. But his connection to the Kiwanis family started long before that. In fact, it began in middle school with Builders Club—and then continued through high school with Key Club and college with Circle K International.
All together, Greg’s journey of service has been an integral part of his life for decades. And it serves as a reminder of the many ways Kiwanis continues to inspire service and leadership in young people today.
“That’s why I’m proud to be a Kiwanian,” he says. “We have something to offer to everyone, regardless of their age. We’re taking a vested interest in people’s lives.”
No greater joy
Greg has made a big impact through Kiwanis, even becoming a leader among Kiwanians. For instance, he was governor of the Louisiana-Mississippi-West Tennessee District in 2011–12. Like many Kiwanians, he has also found a way to extend his Kiwanis impact—through the Kiwanis International Foundation.
Greg’s Kiwanis experience has helped inspire the generosity he’s shown through our foundation. Another big influence is Greg’s wife, Lisa, a retired special education preschool teacher. “She has a heart for kids,” Greg says. “That makes a big impact.”
For Lisa, having a philosophy of generosity started even before her career did. “My dad always taught us that there would be people with more than you and people with less than you,” she says. “But whatever you have, always share with others. There’s no greater joy.”
Like most people, the couple receives a lot of requests for gifts. But since no one can give to everything, it comes down to belief in an organization’s mission—and trust in the people who administer it.
“We look at the impact it’s going to make on whomever we’re trying to reach,” Greg says. “We look at which ones are close to our hearts.”
That’s another reason why the Kiwanis International Foundation continues to be an appealing outlet for their generosity, year after year.
“You can always look back and see what you believed in,” Greg says. “You can see what you gave your time, talent and treasure to. If you truly believe in something, you’ll contribute to it.”
A history of generosity
For Greg, fellowship has always been a crucial part of the Kiwanis experience. In fact, it’s the basic reason why he rejoined the Kiwanis family as a Kiwanis-club member in Alexandria back in 1995.
“How did that happen?” he says. “Someone asked.”
It was as true when he joined Builders Club as it was when he became a Kiwanian in adulthood. “Everything I’ve been involved with, someone invited me,” he adds. “The personal ask goes so far. If you like something, you’ll invite people to be a part of it.”
And when you like something, you’re inclined to support it. Greg’s own history of giving is an example. As an active member of the Kiwanis International Foundation, he has reached children close to home and around the world.
For instance, he became a George F. Hixson Fellow in 2008. Hixson Fellowships are awarded to donors who give US$1,000 or more to our foundation. In 2011, he became a charter member of the Walter Zeller Fellowship Society, which consists of donors who give at least US$1,250 to The Eliminate Project—helping to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus from the face of the Earth.
Greg has even received further Hixson and Zeller honors. As a two-time Diamond-level Zeller fellow and with a Hixson Ambassador Diamond, he has been recognized for continued giving at those programs’ respective levels.
When The Eliminate Project began, the opportunity to help save or protect the lives of women and their babies was an instant inspiration for Greg and Lisa.
“If you save a life now, it’s not just that life—it’s also the other lives that one can touch,” Greg says. “We said, ‘You don’t have to sell us on this project. It’s a matter of sitting down and seeing what we can do.’”
Memories and inspiration
The fact that every gift makes a difference—regardless of the amount—is an important reason why Greg and Lisa support children through the Kiwanis International Foundation. They began making gifts soon after Greg joined the Alexandria Kiwanis club.
“Lisa and I were young, and we didn’t necessarily have a lot of money then,” he says. “But it was an example of giving something. We’ve been blessed—and when you recognize that, you give what you can.”
Ultimately, the emotional satisfaction of making a difference continues to be a big inspiration. For Greg, early Kiwanis memories remain a great reminder of the positive impact members make on children’s lives—both through service and through financial generosity.
“Every time we have a service project with children, I relive the times a Kiwanian was there,” he says. “Having fun with us. Showing us how we could develop our leadership skills. I wouldn’t stay unless I believed Kiwanis was making an impact on children’s lives.”
Join Greg and Lisa in giving
The Kiwanis International Foundation is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Kiwanis-family clubs, members and other friends of our foundation who help shape a better future for children. Gifts of all sizes are deeply appreciated. Support the Kiwanis International Foundation today.