By Bryan Boggiano
The Coral Springs City Commission declared June 15 as “John W. Ruffin, Jr. Day” to honor the legacy of the philanthropist, mentor, and former chairman of the Community Redevelopment Agency.
The commission honored Ruffin on what would have been his 81st birthday. He passed away in 2020 following a battle with prostate cancer. He was 79.
Ruffin, a nearly 40-year resident of the city, served as chairman of the United Negro College Fund in Fort Lauderdale, where he raised more than $2 million in scholarships.
He and his business partners purchased WRBD 1470 AM radio in 1986, making it the first black-owned station in Coral Springs.
He and his wife, Dottie Ruffin, started J.D. Ruffin Associates to run retail concession shops, the Ruffin Group consulting firm, and Trans Ocean Holdings to form economic relationships with Caribbean, African, and Latin American countries.
He also volunteered heavily, serving on the Coral Springs Economic Development Foundation, Urban League of Broward County, and the Community Foundation of Broward County, among other organizations, according to a city document.
In 2021, the Coral Springs Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee awarded Ruffin the MLK Monument Award, which recognizes individuals who embody the ideals of MLK.
Without his leadership, our city would probably not look the same,” said Mayor Scott Brook. “There was nothing he wouldn’t do for the city.”
Ruffin’s wife, Dottie, accepted the award and thanked the city for honoring her late husband’s legacy.
“Our family is elated that you chose to honor John,” she said. “You saw the service that he rendered to this community and this city, and you appreciated it. That is what is so special to us.”
Vice Mayor Simmons reflected on Ruffin’s legacy, saying that the foundation he brought to the city helped him get elected.
Commissioner Nancy Metayer also expressed her thanks to the community leader, saying that because of his efforts, she received a scholarship from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee, as have other students in the city.
“This is not only a celebration for you all, but it’s a celebration for everybody who is reminded of his legacy every day,” she said.
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- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan is pursuing his masters in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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