From the Desk of the Chairman

The 20th anniversary of the founding of MMHMF finds the Nation experiencing significant political and social turmoil.  I can’t help but wonder “What would Mrs. Hill and others on whose shoulders we stand say about these times?  What advice would they have for us?


I believe that they would urge us to talk and think about what we should be doing rather than what they should be doing.  They would urge us to ensure that our actions speak loud and clear and support and reinforce the words that we speak.  We would be reminded to cherish the many gifts that we have been given and to pay it forward. As an example, my mother, a third grade educated single parent gave me the gift of not having to miss school to work on the farm when she saw the joy that I received from the lessons that I learned there.  While she was not formally educated, she valued learning and believed that a quality education would give me access to a better life than she lived.


Our elders taught us to recognize that in the baseball game of life, we realize that we did not hit a double or a triple, but that because of the work that was done by those who went before us, we were born on 2nd or third base.  They emphasized that it was our responsibility to pay it forward and to give others a helping hand.


Mrs. Hill’s daughters speak of their childhood experience of getting on the school bus or sitting in the classroom and seeing a girl wearing one of their favorite skirts or blouses as their mom felt that girl needed it more.  VSU women in Branch Hall (the dormitory in which Mrs. Hill worked) would often find “care packages” in their room, courtesy of Mrs. Hill.  Giving shaped the legacy that she left!


Yes, our parents may have been poor, but they taught us the value of sharing.  How often did we hear- “Go into the garden and pick a pail of peas and carry they over to the neighbor who can use them” or “Christmas Is coming – go into the smoke house and take that piece of smoked shoulder to the “Smith” family to help them spread a little cheer”.


Our elders taught us the value of empathy and humility.  While we learned to recognize the good work done by others, we did not always have to talk and boast about the good work we thought we had done.  They firmly believed in the spirit of the old Negro Spiritual “Let the work I have done speak for me”. 


MMHMF strives to embody the spirit of Mrs. Hill in all that we do and have used that spirit to help shape our vision and goals.  Our vision and goals reflect an appreciation for the value of the spirit of community and the Foundation’s place in and responsibility for the growth, support and health of the neighborhood.  The Foundation fully realizes that we can make a difference only if we have your support.  While the world in which we live is constantly changing and we embrace those changes that make our lives better, let us not forget that there are customs and values that are worth remembering and saving.  MMHMF is committed to highlighting the contributions by our elders while supporting and encouraging the next generation of stars. 


James H. Stith

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