Three Generations of Giving

Share this post:

William and Barbara Hicklin Harrell

Martin Harrell’s ‘aha!’ moment about giving back came as a youngster, when he saw his grandparents’ name on a stained-glass window in a small community chapel in Amelia Island.

“When I asked my mother why, she said, ‘The community had a need, and your grandparents had the ability to help,’” he remembers. It is a mantra that serves the family to this day.

Painting of Mig

There are at least three generations of givers in the family, and a fourth in the making. Mignonette Hicklin and her husband Bill donated to that church many years ago. ‘Mig’ passed away just days short of her 101st birthday; in 1994, she opened the William J. Hicklin, Jr. Advised Fund at The Community Foundation in memory of her husband, following his 1993 death.

Barbara Hicklin Harrell, Mig and Bill’s daughter, says her dad did not consider himself a philanthropist. “He would just say we have to support what is good in the community.”

Barbara became a passionate champion for improving public schools in Duval County ; the Citizen’s Task Force she chaired successfully passed a $199 million school bond issue in 1987 and she chaired the Mayor’s Education Council (1990-1991).

Her community leadership brought her to The Community Foundation, where she was a Founding Member of the Women’s Giving Alliance. Barbara served as WGA’s fourth president and helped establish WGA’s Legacy Fund program. She has a WGA Legacy Fund and her own advised fund. Today, Barbara serves on The Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Barbara and her husband William, founder of Coastal Construction Products, have the Harrell Family Fund, where they continue to focus their philanthropy on education and helping low income people improve their lives. They support a range of nonprofit organizations, including HabiJax, Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, World Affairs Council of Jacksonville, Elevate Jacksonville, All Saints Episcopal Church, and many others.

Martin and Ann Harrell and their daughter with Mig on her 100th birthday

Most importantly, they’ve instilled in their children the fundamental belief in giving back.

“We didn’t talk to them in specific terms of philanthropy,” she says now. “We talked about what the needs were in the community and how we could help.”

Their son, Martin, who now leads Coastal Construction Products, remembers that lesson well. He and his wife Ann also have an advised fund at The Community Foundation.

“We try to live by ‘to whom much is given, much is expected,’” he notes. “We have been blessed beyond all reason, and we have a responsibility to do whatever we can to improve our community.”

For more information about how to include your family in your charitable giving, contact Joanne Cohen at

Sign Up for Our Email Newsletter