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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Local clothier holds golf invitational to fight abuse
The William Wilson Celebrity Invitational will benefit Turning Point, Autism Speaks
 
Published Wednesday, May 15, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

Growing up, clothing designer William Wilson was one of the estimated more than 10 million children who witness some form of domestic violence each year in the United States.

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PHOTO/ KEVIN DOUGLAS
William Wilson, CEO of William Wilson Clothing, is an advocate for victims of domestic violence.

“As a kid, there was nobody there to fight for me,” Wilson said. “I know what it’s like to be that powerless kid seeing someone you love go through something like that and not being able to do anything about it… I made a pledge to myself that when I got older, that if I had the opportunity, I would do what I could to help kids like me and people like my mom.”

In 2010, Wilson founded a nonprofit that raises funds to support organizations that provide services for families and victims of abuse.

Because issues of domestic violence are seldom one-dimensional, the William Wilson Foundation also supports scholarships and other programs that help empower victims of domestic violence to change their situation.

“It is easier to get out of a bad situation when you have skills or some kind of trade or career that you can fall back on,” said Wilson. “If you are not marketable to get into the job force, and you leave but can’t find a job, that can very well force you to be back where you were – especially if you have little kids.”

Wilson estimates that since its inception, the William Wilson Foundation has donated approximately $15,000 to various organizations and scholarship funds that assist women and children fleeing domestic violence. Each year, the foundation hosts its signature fundraiser – the William Wilson Celebrity Invitational. This year’s charity golf tournament will be held May 20-21. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Turning Point, one of the largest shelters in the southeast for victims of domestic violence. Wilson said he selected the charity because he was impressed by the 42-bed facility and the passion displayed by the staff and volunteers.

“I liked the fact that the families can stay there together and the kids are not going to be separated,” Wilson said. “And you can tell the staff and people there really cared about what they were doing. They were not just there to be on a board or volunteering to build their resumes… They were there because they really truly cared and I could sense that.”

Domestic violence is not the only cause the William Wilson Foundation supports. Wilson has been partnering with Ryan Stone, CEO of the private jet management firm Jetpool, since he began holding the annual invitational four years ago. Stone has a daughter with autism, and each year a portion of the proceeds from the tournament are donated to Autism Speaks, a science and advocacy organization dedicated to advocating for and funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism.

The William Wilson Invitational kicks off May 20 with the Jetpool Pre-Pairings Party at Jetpool’s hangar. The actual tournament will be played May 21 with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start at Carolina Lakes Golf Club. There is an after-party following the event.

Confirmed players include former Carolina Panther James Anderson, NASCAR driver Kevin Conway, comedian Rodney Perry and other celebrities and professional athletes.

Visit www.WilliamWilsonFoundation.org for more information.

As for Wilson’s mother Della, she has since ended her abusive relationship and is now happily remarried.

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