ST. PETERSBURG — The R’Club Child Care, Inc. board of directors has established a memorial scholarship fund available to more than 400 employees to help further their professional education in memory of their longtime Human Resource Director Connie Cox, who recently passed away after a short illness.
The R’Club, a non-profit community organization founded in 1976, provides childcare and youth programs to more than 4,000 children and their families daily. Services include preschool programs, before and after care school programs and specialized programs for the developmentally challenged.
Brown-Cox served on the agency’s senior management team as human resources director for more than 23 years until her untimely death in January. Her services were well attended by many of her current and former employees, business associates, community leaders and fellow alumni.
Graduating from Manatee High School in 1974, she was very active in school and excelled academically. After researching the history and significance of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, with acceptance in hand, Brown-Cox ventured to Daytona Beach to attend then Bethune Cookman College and graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.
As a proud “Wildcat” she was an active alumnus and generously supported her alma mater. She furthered her education with certifications in accounting and human resources.
Brown-Cox started her professional career in 1978 for the City of Bradenton. In 1983 she accepted a position in finance with the City of St. Pete Beach, and 1990 saw her become the personnel administrator for the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. In 1992 she joined the nationally recognized R’Club Child Care organization as their first African-American senior manager.
“She influenced, mentored and hired thousands of individuals into employment. She helped hundreds further their professional development through continued education and training, the establishment of a tuition reimbursement program for staff, communications skills training, advocating for improved employee benefits and serving as the heartbeat of this wonderful organization,” said Executive Director Art O’Hara. “Connie’s presence throughout R’Club and its 47 centers was bigger than life itself and truly was the emotional center of the organization. Employees knew they could come to her for “tough love” to get help to grow into being the best they could be to make a difference for children and families.”
During this Black History Month, R’Club is honored to memorialize Brown-Cox through the establishment of the Scholarship Fund.
She was a strong black woman who had such a positive impact on her community. Brown-Cox juggled the human resource duties and responsibilities for an organization with more than 400 employees, and made a difference in the lives of some 4,000 children and their families on a daily basis while continually encouraging everyone to better themselves through education.
Community partners and leaders have joined forces to raise funds for the Connie Brown Cox Scholarship as a way to honor her passion for education and service.
For more information, contact Art O’Hara at (727) 578-5437 or donate online at www.rclub.net.