Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, opened up doors of opportunity through culture and education. Leading the way was her grandfather, Frank England, and father, Russell Wicks, both employees of the world-renowned metal cutting tools company, Illinois Tools Works (ITW).
Bee grew up learning the value of hard work, success, and the unspoken meaning of philanthropy by watching the warm-hearted actions of her father and grandfather.
"Philanthropy wasn't something you talked about or something you did to get recognition, you did it because it felt good," attests Bee. "I saw first-hand the lives that were touched from their involvement in organizations like the Glenwood School For Boys, which demonstrated an interest in helping boys who were caught in unfortunate circumstances."
"As I grew up, and before I had the means to give money to organizations, I volunteered my time. One I remember was the army wives' club, which helped raise money for families stationed in Puerto Rico, where Tom, my husband, was stationed for a number of years."
Once settled in Colorado Springs, Bee wanted to do more. Founded in 1998, The Moniker Foundation was a way to reduce taxes and preserve the family inheritance initially acquired from the boom of ITW. "Before Moniker, we (Tom and I) had set up two bequests, one to Colorado College known as the James Sinton Scholarship Fund, and one that was gifted to the Fountain Valley School."
"The truth of it is I wanted to minimize taxes, especially after seeing my mother's estate reduced by the IRS. But beyond that, I wanted to find a way to focus on education. Education is the starting point for everything."
And thus, Moniker honed in on scholarships, built on Bee's notion that everyone should have the chance to attend college even if they can't afford it or if they don't have the best academic marks.
"Moniker has grown a lot of over the past few years and I could not be more excited to see it continue to grow and include more family members. What was once a way to reduce taxes has now become a way to preserve our family history while serving our community."