Richard D. Letts Fund
“If it is to be done, it will be done by me.”
|Mr. Lansing: Richard Letts in 1997.
Those words, spoken by Richard “Dick” Letts, became the title of a documentary about the man affectionately known as “Mr. Lansing.” They were the words he lived his life by. And they are his legacy and his call to action.
The Lansing man, community activist and city employee, built his life around that statement. Before his death in 1997 at 75, he served more than 60 city organizations, spent 27 years as Lansing’s human relations director and opened doors for countless people who needed someone to believe in them.
Along with Olivia, his wife of 46 years, Letts established a field of interest fund with the Capital Region Community Foundation to benefit disadvantaged children. Letts used his $60,000 retirement buy-out bonus to start the fund in 1993. “I want to give something back,” he told the Lansing State Journal. “This will be my legacy.”
Since then, the Richard D. Letts Fund has awarded $28,940 in grants and scholarships to benefit local youth.
Letts believed in the inherent dignity of every single person. “All people matter” was his mantra. That legacy lives on with his endowment fund.