Volunteer Spotlight: Bob Rudman


Bob Rudman built a career around thinking outside the box and making unlikely connections, skills that make him one of the Heritage Foundation’s star volunteers.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s never met a stranger.  Now retired from a career as a manufacturing representative for a number of national companies, he puts his considerable talents to use for a number of Heritage Foundation projects.


Bob’s involvement with the Heritage Foundation began by volunteering at a street festival.  That grew into a three-year, full-time commitment with the Franklin Theatre that made a significant financial impact.  During the building’s demolition phase Bob and friend Denny Kohan were onsite every day, giving the building “occupied” status with the insurance company and significantly lowering the insurance premiums.  They consistently opened and locked up the building for various contractors, saving the Heritage Foundation staff valuable time and resources.  As folks realized a Heritage Foundation volunteer was at the building every day, people began to drop by to reminisce and share stories, which gave Bob the idea of selling artifacts from the building as souvenirs.  Together Bob and Denny sold the seats, light fixtures, tables, fire extinguishers, and anything else that would have been discarded, netting thousands of dollars for the Heritage Foundation and saving tons of trash from the landfill.  Bob’s ingenuity not only had a significant financial impact on the theatre, it also contributed to the building’s “green” rating.


When Bob noticed the number of empty seats at the Franklin Theatre at Saturday morning children’s movies he quickly thought up specialty programming to fill the house and even purchased an Easter Bunny costume so he can play the role at the annual Easter movie event.  He will do anything he is asked:  tend bar at social gatherings, sell merchandise at street festivals, wear silly costumes, deliver merchandise, solicit local businesses for donations to the silent auction at the annual Heritage Ball, and more.  In 2012 he was named King of the Ball at the annual Heritage Ball and served as the official greeter.


He is also active with St. Philip Catholic Church in Franklin, of which he and his wife, Missy, are members, and with the Serra Club, an organization that prays for men and women to enter full-time ministry in the Catholic Church.  He serves on the board of the Children’s Kindness Network (CKN), an initiative for very young children aimed at stopping bullying before it begins by encouraging kindness toward others, animals and the environment.


At GraceWorks Ministries, where he serves on the board, he has become heavily involved in the organization’s fundraising efforts, assuming responsibility for a $4 million capital campaign that will give the nonprofit its own building for the first time. He has secured a celebrity spokesperson and envisioned a variety of fundraising ideas.


Bob’s unflagging creativity, energy and good humor change the temperature of the room when he walks in, and in the best way possible.  Not only does he provide valuable financial and organizational advice to the organizations with which he is affiliated, he inspires its members to be better people.  The Heritage Foundation is honored to call him a friend.