Rick built the family business, Tonkinson Financial, into a multimillion dollar financial service firm with his wife, Margarita, and their son, Steven. Rick has been involved in community service since 1976 when he was a Peace Corp volunteer in Colombia where he met Margarita and their son, Steven, was born.
Rick studied at night school for 3 years to earn a master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in 1984 and a master’s in Public Administration (MPA) with a specialization in Budgets from the University of Miami in 1985. Rick graduated with Phi Kappa Phi honors. He continued his studies and became a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) in 1991 and a Charter Life Underwriter CLU in 1993.
Since 1981, Rick has been consistently involved in local community service. In the 1980’s, he represented Major Clark on the Biscayne Bay Management Committee and represented Governor Bob Martinez and later Governor Lawton Chiles as a trustee of the Florida Endowment for Higher Education. He has served as trustee of the Children’s Home Society Foundation, the Thomas Brown McClelland Medical Scholarship Fund and the Miami Music Association (Cleveland Orchestra Miami Residency).
Since 2015 Rick is the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the FIU College of Communication, Architecture and the Arts. He is a board member on the national and regional boards of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.
He has a passion for medical research, education, the arts, and the environment.
Rick believes in “tithing” 10% of his gross income to the community.
Margarita’s main interest has been in supporting education, which she has done through the Rotary International at local and district levels. For around 9 years, she was part of the interview team for the Thomas Brown McClelland Medical Scholarship Program, and volunteered as an interviewer and advisor for the Rotary Club of Miami and Rotary District 6990 Ambassadorial Scholarships, and the Miami Senior High School 4-Way-Test Scholarship before moving to the Rotary Club of Coral Gables. At the Coral Gables Rotary Club, Margarita has been an active part of the Scholarship Committee for the Coral Gables High School since her arrival in 2010.
She was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany in 1992 and helped chip down the Berlin wall. Margarita had the honor of working as a Presidential appointment to the J. William Fulbright International Education Board of Directors for two consecutive terms in 1992 to 1995. Under this appointment Margarita was instrumental in supporting a number of programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Also she was able to work closely with the Fulbright offices in Central and South America. At this time she was working at the University of Miami as Associate Director of International Programs.
Margarita has been the Tonkinson Foundation Executive Director since its creation in 2017. In addition, she works closely with some of the charities the Foundation supports such as Branches, the Deering Estate Foundation, the 100 Ladies of Deering, the University of Miami Libraries.
Margarita and her family have been blessed with good fortune and feel the need to give back to the community. That is one of the main reasons why we have created the Tonkinson Foundation as a vehicle to serve and contribute to the causes we feel are important to us.
From an early age, Steven learned what it meant to volunteer and give back to the community. From beach cleanups with the Webelo’s all the way up to his Eagle Scout service project, the Boy Scouts played a big roll. At Coral Gables High, he was part of the National Honors Society and Interact, volunteering at Doctors Hospital or at the Lipton Tennis tournament. All of this volunteering help lay the foundation for community service to be a pivotal part of his life.
Steven is very active with 4 particular organizations: ShelterBox, a disaster relief charity specializing in emergency shelters and other lifesaving aid , where he is a Response Team Member (SRT) and a board member; Special Olympics Florida – Miami-Dade County, where he is a coach, unified athlete and mentor; the Underline, a 10-mile linear park that will transform the land below Miami’s Metrorail into an urban trail and living art destination, where he is part of the Underline Collective; The Woody Foundation, a not for profit organization formed in 2011 to raise funds for the recovery of people with spinal cord injuries where he is a board member.
“Being able to give back with your time and effort along with whatever financial assistance you can provide gives you a wonderful feeling. You do it because you want to not because you have to but then there’s a point that you see the difference you’re making and becomes such an important and meaningful part of your life that you now need to do it.”
Sarah is currently a 4th year medical student at Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine. She will be graduating in 2021 and is eager and excited to become a physician and serve the South Florida community.
She grew up in Clearwater to a father who is a heart surgeon and a mother who was an ICU nurse. Caring for others was a major focus in her household.
Sarah has been volunteering for nearly a decade at the Clearwater Free Clinic, a non-profit, non-government medical facility that provides primary health care to low-income, uninsured residents of Pinellas County. She has progressed from the front desk to triage, to seeing patients and working directly with volunteer physicians.
Sarah and Steven have been together since the beginning of 2018. They are set to get married in February of 2021. Sarah's third date with Steven was to the Woody Foundation lobsterfest fundraising dinner and their fifth date was to a Special Olympics standup paddle board practice back in March of 2018. She connected instantly with these charities and their mission and she has been volunteering with them ever since those events. Sarah is currently a coach with the paddleboard team and on a few committees with the Woody Foundation.
The arts are very important to Sarah. She played jazz piano at the University of Notre Dame while graduating in industrial and Graphic Design.