A street sign with Runette Williams’ name is just one example of the enduring mark she left on the community she loved.
Pompano Beach in 2017 named the street beside Sanders Park Elementary in honor of Runette to acknowledge her bold community impact. As a teacher, principal and long-time resident in Sanders Park, Runette enriched thousands of lives – in the classroom and beyond.
Runette grew up in Madison in North Florida. She married her childhood sweetheart, Ola L. Williams, after he returned from serving in the Navy during World War II. They both went into teaching and later moved to Pompano Beach.
Ola taught math and science at Blanche Ely High School and Northeast High School during his 30-year career as an educator in Broward. He also held posts ranging from athletic director to textbook coordinator and guidance counselor, according to a March 29, 1988 Sun Sentinel article.
Runette became the first principal of Sanders Park Elementary and after her long career continued to serve as a volunteer at the school she helped shape. Outside of the classroom, Runette remained active in numerous organizations such as the Mount Calvary Baptist Church, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee in Pompano Beach and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Runette and Ola both dedicated their lives to education and lifting up the community they called home.
“We had no children of our own, just a lot (of children) in the school system,” Runette told the Sun Sentinel when her husband died in 1988.
To ensure she could always be there for the children of her community, Runette partnered with the Community Foundation of Broward. In 1994, she established the endowed Ola L. & Runette Williams Scholarship Fund. Scholarships made possible by her Fund help minority students from Blanche Ely High School and Northeast High School continue their educations. Through the power of endowment, Ola and Runette are creating new opportunities for local students today and forever.
When Runette died in 2019, the Westside Gazette said the beloved educator was considered “the community’s principal.” The Community Foundation of Broward is proud to be Runette’s philanthropy partner, carrying on her legacy of support for the children of our community.
To learn how you can create BOLD impact with an endowed charitable Fund at the Community Foundation of Broward, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-761-9503.