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) and a member of the FIU Foundation board. 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, a board of director of the Deering Estate, and co-chair of the University of Miami Library.
Rick and Margarita support over 30 charities that include the following:
- Actor’s Playhouse www.ActorsPlayhouse.org
- American Red Cross www.RedCross.org
- Branches www.BranchesFL.org
- Chapman Partnership www.ChapmanPartnership.org
- Chopin Foundation www.Chopin.org
- Citizens for a Better South Florida www.ABetterSouthFlorida.org
- Connect to Protect Network www.FairchildGarden.org
- Coral Gables Community Foundation www.GablesFoundation.org
- Deering Estate Foundation www.DeeringEstate.org
- Diabetes Research Institute www.DiabetesResearch.org
- Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden www.FairchildGarden.org
- Florida International University www.FIU.edu
- Foundation for New Education Initiatives www.GiveOurStudentsTheWorld.org
- Guitars Over Guns www.GuitarsOverGuns.org
- Homestead Rodeo www.HomesteadRodeo.com
- IBEW Local 627 www.IBEW627.com
- Informed Families www.InformedFamilies.org
- Knights of Columbus www.MarcoKnights.com
- M.U.J.E.R. www.MujerFLA.org
- Merrick Festival Caroling Competition www.MerrickFestival.net/Caroling
- Orchestra Miami www.OrchestraMiami.org
- Ron Magill Conservation Endowment www.ZooMiami.org
- Rotary International www.Rotary.org
- ShelterBox USA www.ShelterBoxUSA.org
- South Florida PBS WPBT2 www.WPBT2.org
- South Florida SPCA www.SPCA-SoFla.org
- Special Olympics of Florida www.SpecialOlympicsFlorida.org
- The Caring Place www.CaringPlace.org
- The Clearwater Free Clinic www.ClearwaterFreeClinic.org
- The Two Hundred Club of Greater Miami www.200ClubMiami.org
- The Underline www.TheUnderline.org
- The Woody Foundation www.WoodyFoundation.org
- Tropical Audubon Society www.TropicalAudubon.org
- University of Miami www.Miami.edu
- Yellowstone Forever www.Yellowstone.org
- Zoo Miami Foundation www.ZooMiami.org