"I think that where I sit in my life right now is a gift, and my faith and beliefs lead me to ask how to be a good steward of that gift." - Will McCauley
Relationships have long been a driving force in William H. “Will” McCauley III’s professional and personal lives. As CEO of Creative Builders, Inc., a general contractor operating in the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee, he credits the whole CBI family with the success the company has enjoyed.
“It’s not mine; I truly feel that I don’t work with employees, I work with coworkers,” he says. “It started with my father as the sole employee, and 51 years later there are more than 90 key players. It’s 100% about the people.”
Although everything has not been easy—he lost his father 10 years ago to ALS—he still recognizes his good fortune and the need to care for those within the company and the community.
“I think that where I sit in life right now is a gift, and my faith and beliefs lead me to ask how to be a good steward of that gift,” he says.
Relationships are central to answering that question, beginning with the influence of his wife, Amy.
“Amy has the most giving, loving, tender heart,” he says. “She has helped me to grow and be someone who wants to give back openly and happily, not just as a duty. There’s a big difference there – intentional, loving and caring vs. checking a box.”
Like many couples, Will and Amy want to pass on their philanthropic values to their children, Mac, 19, Mills, 16, and Libby, 10. They want to engage in purposeful, impactful giving that serves the needs of those here at home in the Upstate first. To further those goals, they turned to the Community Foundation of Greenville and set up a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) in 2020 because they felt their values aligned well with its mission. What they didn’t expect was that in doing so, their giving objectives would actually become clearer.
“The Community Foundation helped put us on the same page. Setting up the Donor Advised Fund helps you talk about goals as a family. It creates an environment where you can ask ‘Are we on track?’ It’s encouraging to know that your dollars are compounded here in the community,” says Will.
Although the McCauleys donate to many organizations, some are particularly close to their hearts. Will joined the Board of the Cancer Society of Greenville after learning more about the organization’s work from another board member.
He also serves on the advisory board of the South Carolina Chapter of SEAL Future Foundation, an organization providing support for Navy SEALs as they transition into civilian life. His involvement with SFF began about five years ago when he met a couple of them and heard their stories.
“They’re the elite of the elite. We have no idea what they’re doing to protect us, our families and our country every day,” Will says. “When they finish their tour, they sometimes struggle as they integrate back into society. It’s so different from what they have been trained for. The suicide rate is very high.”
Will actively works with members of the local chapter in organizing their annual fundraiser to provide resources to support SFF’s pillars of health, education, career, and community.
“Now the South Carolina event is recognized as one of the most successful in the country,” Will says. “It started with a couple of guys who had a vision. It’s amazing to be a part of it.”
Will and Amy plan to work with the Community Foundation to set up another DAF in the names of their children, preparing them to make their own giving decisions in the future.
“We’re looking forward to talking to them about organizations they want to support and letting them be a part of the planning for their fund,” Will says. “As they grow up, we want them to have opportunities to be involved in their community.”