GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — There are not a lot of things we do at work that we can say they’ve changed many lives. But when it comes to the Honor Card, Bill Mangum can easily say “there’s no doubt there have been tens of thousands.”

Mangum, usually under his more formal name William, is a world-renowned artist who has created and sold more than 4,000 original pieces. But none feed his soul more than the ones he has done for the Honor Card for more than three decades.

The Honor Card is something anyone can get with a donation. The cards are made from an original painting Mangum does each year. With the generous help of some donors, including Wells Fargo, the production costs are covered so that 100% of your donation for the card goes to help the homeless. 

For the first 16 years, that was in Greensboro, but Mangum and his friends helped spread that to more than a dozen other cities across the Carolinas. Over the years, the card has generated more than $10 million in revenue.

“Last year, the Honor Card raised more than $650,000,” Mangum said.

He hopes to top $1 million this year, and he just might do it because this will be the last original card he creates. 

The cards have been available for 35 years, but Mangum only created 34 of the paintings. One was done by a man who helped inspire it all: Michael Saavedra. Saavedra was homeless in 1987 when he approached Mangum outside a restaurant in downtown Greensboro and asked him for money. 

Saavedra and Mangum became friends and it was part of what led Mangum to spend more than thirty years working at Urban Ministries. Saavedra died a few years after he and Mangum met.

“There’s no doubt that my three-year friendship with Michael until he passed away really pricked my heart, and it gave me a sensitivity really beyond anything that I think people would understand. Dealing with him day-in-and-day-out…gave me proper perspective…of what my blessings were about,” Mangum said.

Mangum’s religious faith was reinvigorated over those years and informs much of his work for people less fortunate as well as the Honor Card paintings.

“A lot of that inspiration really kind of begins with scripture,” Mangum said. “There are times when I’ll come across…Christian songs that sort of give you that influx. And then meeting those personalities or those individuals down at the shelter kind of strikes those chords, and I’ve woven it all together,” he said.

People often ask him which is his favorite Honor Card painting.

“My pet reply is it’s the one that I’m working on,” he said. “There is no doubt that this year’s may be the most poignant.”

See more on the Honor Card in this edition of the Buckley Report.