Giving back to the people who gave her so much
During the decades she spent in the business world, Evelyn Follit could impress an audience with her professional poise, wow a client with her fearless corporate presentations and dazzle just about everyone with her stunning smile.
These secrets to her success were made possible by The Children’s Aid Society’s Rhinelander Center. “The Children's Aid Society was a key contributor to my development, including dentistry and braces for my teeth,” Evelyn says. “Also, the wonderful performance opportunities absolutely prepared me for the life I lead today. Tap-dancing onstage and twirling a baton, I would always leave thinking I was so wonderful.”
Evelyn Follit, nee Evelyn Lutze, grew up in Manhattan’s Yorkville neighborhood, which was then comprised of working-class German immigrants. She found The Rhinelander Center when her parents learned she could get a hot, 15-cent lunch and participate in the free after-school and summer arts programs. Because of Rhinelander, Evelyn’s mother was able to work outside the home. She started by cleaning offices at AT&T and eventually advanced to a data entry position. “This was her entrée to the professional world,” Evelyn says.
Children’s Aid also gave Evelyn an early lesson in diversity. “I am color blind due to my experiences at Children’s Aid,” she says. “I was one of two white kids with mostly Latino and black kids. The gals I was in camp with taught me to double dutch.”
Evelyn earned a bachelor of arts in mathematics from the City University of New York, a master of business administration in finance and information systems from Pace University, and completed executive training at Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Evelyn served as senior vice president at RadioShack Corporation until her retirement in 2005. During her tenure, she launched RadioShack's first Web site and assumed responsibility for all of RadioShack's global human resources. She currently serves as a director on several corporate boards including the Catalina Marketing Corporation, Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Nautilus, Inc., and Bealls Inc.
Evelyn’s early experience at Children’s Aid influenced how she sees the world, her attitude toward philanthropy and even her family life. She is a financial supporter of Children’s Aid and strongly believes in the proverb, "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will never be hungry."
“Hardly a day goes by when I don't say, ‘Thank you, Children's Aid Society,” she says. “I also hope that my daily actions demonstrate that I won't forget who I really am and the wonderful journey that your being there many years ago has enabled me to make.”