Rick has a philosophy of “tithing” back to the community that is shared by the family.
A pivotal experience for Rick was his time spent as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia in 1976, and he has been giving back to the community for more than 40 years.
Back in 1984, Rick represented Mayor Clark on the Biscayne Bay Management Committee and worked with the Commissioner, Harvey Rubin. The committee purchased the Deering Estate for $17 million in order to turn it into the very popular park it is today. The same committee purchased the mangroves along the perimeter of Biscayne Bay to prevent it from turning into what Brickell Avenue looks like today.
Rick represented the Governor of Florida as a Board of Director on the Florida Endowment Fund for Higher Education, which is a $17 million endowment that awards full 4-year scholarships for African Americans to study for their PhD's. Rick represented both Bob Martinez (Republican) and Lawton Chiles (Democrat) on this board.
Rick and Margarita have a passion for education and have provided numerous scholarships to students that attend the Miami and Coral Gables high schools, Florida International University (FIU), and the University of Miami (UM). Rick has been a mentor for university graduate students. He is a guest speaker on topics such as entrepreneurship, running a successful family business, and ethics. Rick volunteered for eight years as an instructor on Business Plans and Finance at the SCORE (SBA) seminars.
A major donor to the theater, the FIU theater lobby and the Knight Concert Hall Second Floor Promenade at the Arsht Performing Arts Center are named in honor of Rick and Margarita Tonkinson.
Rick serves as a national and regional board member for the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI). He is currently the Chairman of the Board for the FIU College of Architecture and the Arts (CARTA). Rick and Steven also serve as board members for The Woody Foundation. Margarita serves as a member for the Rotary Club of Coral Gables Scholarship Committee as well as a member of the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle.
Rick and Margarita support 44 charities that include the following:
- 9/11 Memorial — Ground Zero, NYE www.911GroundZero.com
- Actor’s Playhouse www.ActorsPlayhouse.org
- American Red Cross www.RedCross.org
- Branches — South Florida Urban Ministries www.BranchesFL.org
- Chapman Partnership www.ChapmanPartnership.org
- Chopin Foundation of the US www.Chopin.org
- Christ the King Lutheran Church www.CTKMiami.org
- Citizens for a Better South Florida www.ABetterSouthFlorida.org
- Coral Gables Community Foundation www.GablesFoundation.org
- Dade Heritage Trust www.MiamiHeritageTrust.org
- Diabetes Research Institute www.DiabetesResearch.org
- Fairchild Tropical Garden www.FairchildGarden.org
- FIU Foundation - Theatre/Music/Interior Design Scholarships Give.FIU.edu
- Foundation for New Education Initiatives www.GiveOurStudentsTheWorld.org
- Guitars Over Guns www.GuitarsOverGuns.org
- Homestead Rodeo Association www.HomesteadRodeo.com
- IBEW 1161 Community Welfare — Fort Pierce www.IBEW.org
- IBEW 627 Community Welfare — West Palm Beach www.IBEW627.com
- Informed Families www.InformedFamilies.org
- Merrick Festival — Christmas Caroling www.MerrickFestival.net/Caroling
- Miami City Ballet www.MiamiCityBallet.org
- Miami Music Project www.MiamiMusicProject.org
- Miami Rescue Mission www.MiamiRescueMission.com
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving www.MADD.org
- National Geographic www.NationalGeographic.com
- National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society www.NationalMSSociety.org
- National Parkinson Foundation www.Parkinson.org
- Navy War College Foundation www.NWCFoundation.org
- Orchestra Miami www.OrchestraMiami.org
- Relay For Life www.RelayForLife.org
- Rotary — Polio Plus and Scholarships www.Rotary.org
- San Marco Knights of Columbus Council #6344 — Naples www.MarcoKnights.com
- Shake-A-Leg Miami www.ShakeALegMiami.org
- ShelterBox www.ShelterBoxUSA.org
- South Florida SPCA — Horse Rescue www.SPCA-SoFla.org
- TEDx Talks www.Ted.com
- The Woody Foundation www.WoodyFoundation.org
- Tropical Audubon Society www.TropicalAudubon.org
- Two Hundred Club of Greater Miami www.200ClubMiami.org
- University of Miami Citizens Board Advancement.Miami.edu/NetCommunity
- University of Miami Frost School of Music www.Miami.edu/Frost
- University of Miami School of Business www.Bus.Miami.edu
- Wayside Baptist Church www.WaysideMiami.org
- Yellowstone Forever www.Yellowstone.org