By Chris Gigley
HIGH POINT, N.C. — David Hayworth is driven by his past to improve others’ lives through philanthropy.
This year, it earned him the Philanthropist of the Year Award from the High Point Community Foundation.
“It was a great honor and one I will always treasure,” says Hayworth. “I’m proud of my involvement in the community.”
A lifetime High Point resident, Hayworth lost his father before he was born.
The family’s office furniture business was left in the hands of his mother, who had the same drive her son has and kept the business afloat during the Great Depression.
With his mother minding the business, Hayworth says, he led a lonely childhood and he never forgot it, not after he joined the family business himself, or after he rose to become its president and CEO.
Even now, in retirement, Hayworth says, he recalls the solitude vividly.
“If you look at it, I was deserted by both my parents,” he says. “It was sort of a traumatic experience, because I was always afraid my mother would go away and never come back.”
Hayworth resolved to do whatever he could to help other people.
And his philanthropy is wide ranging.
He joined friends Marsha and Jack Slane to establish a charitable remainder trust with the Duke Cancer Center in Durham in 1991.
“I lost a brother and a sister to cancer, so it was important for me to establish that trust in their memory,” he says.
Hayworth also given generously to High Point Regional Hospital and High Point University.
But if there is a common thread running through most of his endeavors, it is helping children.
Hayworth’s $1 million investment in the United Way of Greater High Point had national impact with the “Success by Six” program, which helps ensure children begin their educational journey with an equal chance for success.
His support of the Lineberger Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill helps underwrite research in childhood cancers. Hayworth is also involved with Youth Unlimited, a program providing counseling for children and their parents and families.
It also offers long-term residential care for “at-risk” boys ages 11 to 18. Hayworth has helped build the facilities.
“They now have three homes established on land outside High Point, and I think that’s been tremendous for boys who have had a sad life,” he says. “It gives them another chance.”
He also is involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater High Point.
In 2000, he responded to the organization’s critical need for an inner-city pool by underwriting the cost what became the David R. Hayworth Swimming Center.
“The kids needed a place like that to let off a little steam, especially when it’s hot outside,” he says.
Paul Lessard, executive director of the High Point Community Foundation, says Hayworth stands out from other philanthropists through his willingness to do more than provide funding.
He also raises money, Lessard says.
“He’ll roll up his sleeves to help you,” Lessard says. “He’s a very genuine, compassionate guy. He’s a lot of fun to work with.”