Giving Back in a Meaningful Way

Ariel Ford

Ariel Ford and Fannie Frazier Hicklin
Ariel Ford grew up feeling the influence of strong women, like her mother, Fannie Frazier Hicklin.

Growing up, Ariel Ford often could be found with a book in her hands. “Even before I could read, I liked books,” Ariel recalled. “At age 2, I would be in my bed, after my mother put me to bed, and I would be ‘reading’ a book to myself, upside down. Mom didn’t care, as long as I stayed in bed. She knew I would fall asleep eventually.”

The stories she told herself at that young age probably had nothing to do with the book she was “reading,” but those books certainly influenced Ariel’s life story.

Feeling the Influence of Strong Women

Ariel grew up surrounded by strong women, starting with her mother, Fannie Frazier Hicklin, and her grandmother, Willie Frazier. Although they have both passed, their influence, and their involvement in the community set the stage early on for Ariel’s life-long commitment to volunteering.

“Growing up in Charleston [South Carolina], my mom was very active in the community, as my grandmother was in Talladega [Alabama],” Ariel said. As a result, being involved in the community herself seemed natural. The commitment to volunteering was cemented by her time working for IBM, where the company strongly encouraged its employees to volunteer.

Giving Women That Extra Little Push

Although books and libraries continue to play a pivotal role in Ariel’s life — she is vice president of Friends of the Goodman Library and serves on the board of the Madison Public Library Foundation — helping other women succeed is where her legacy lies. “When Mom first moved to Madison to get her Ph.D. at the university, she wasn’t sure she was going to be able to make it with just her teaching pay. But she found support from some wonderful women who helped her get scholarships and jobs so she could get that doctorate.”

When Ariel and her mom learned about A Fund for Women (AFFW), they were immediately attracted to its mission of women helping women and quickly became involved. So when she heard about AFFW’s 25th anniversary challenge, Ariel knew she wanted to leave a legacy gift to AFFW.

“I would like people to look back on my life and say that in a small way, I tried to assist other women and give them just that little extra push that it might take for them to be successful. I would like know that I gave back in a meaningful way.”

Leaving a planned gift? Let us know and join our Legacy Society.