Rodney Glassman’s passion for improving the lives and opportunities for the children of Tucson is his number one priority. To turn his mission into a reality, he started the Glassman Foundation in 2002 to raise money for non-profit organizations in Tucson that provide services for children. With other partners from Southern Arizona, the foundation is involved in several fund-raising events each year, including “An Evening of Love Songs,” a “Gentleman’s Roast,” “KB Home Tucson Putt Putt Open,” “Ante up for Kids Poker Tournament” and the “South of 45 Breakfast Club.” The foundation also puts on an annual youth expo to make young people aware of programs available in the community.
“As I grew up, the importance of helping children was instilled in me by my parents,” Glassman said.
In addition to his admiration for his parents, Glassman is not shy about expressing his gratitude for his mentors Congressman Grijalva and John Bremond of KB Home, noting that they have had a “spectacular impact” on his life. “These two men, coming at our community from two very different points of view, continue to instill in me the importance of investing in children, being true to oneself, and working with others to build a stronger community,” he said.
Originally from Fresno, Calif., Glassman came to Tucson to take over the operations of the family’s ice skating rink in 1997. “I was supposed to be here for a year, but I fell in love with Tucson,” Glassman said.
He gathers motivation for his day-to-day work from a poster he keeps above his desk. “It says ‘Persistence: Now that we’ve exhausted all the possibilities, let’s get started.’ I learned through school and work that there’s always some way to get things done,” he said.
Education has always been important to Glassman, too. Now in his first year of law school, he credits his father in particular for inspiring him to push forward in academia. Glassman has already completed his doctorate in arid land resource sciences and two master’s degrees, one in public administration and one in business administration, all from the University of Arizona.
Glassman’s goal is to bring people together to do as much as possible to help children in Tucson. “We as adults, and as a business community, need to do whatever we can to provide a uniform set of experiences and opportunities for children,” Glassman said. “We need to demonstrate for them that they can make their own opportunities. We need to make sure they are inspired to achieve.”
“I’m blessed, because to a great extent, I get to do the things I’m passionate about, the things that make me feel good. I get to work with friends to make a better Tucson.”