From the Desk of the Chairman
In 1998, the daughters of Martha Mason Hill decided to honor their mother by establishing a foundation that provides educational scholarships and other forms of support for the children of lower Chesterfield County, the community in which she had lived and worked much of her life. Working as a maid in the women’s dormitories at Virginia State College, Mrs. Hill had fulfilled her dream of seeing each of her seven daughters attend college (all went to Virginia State) and had behind the scenes, supported countless other students. In this issue, I reflect on some of Foundation’s activities.
Several years ago, the Foundation funded an endowed scholarship at Virginia State University (VSU) that targeted URM students in Southern Chesterfield County. In 2016, the earnings from that endowment had grown sufficiently that a $1000 scholarship was awarded by VSU. We look forward to growing that endowment such that the size and/or the number of scholarships can be increased.
For several years, MMHMF has awarded up to two $1000 scholarships each year. Our near-term goal is to increase the size of the awards. With support from the Ettrick Neighborhood and Business Foundation, MMHMF will continue to facilitate Matoaca Middle School field trips to Virginia State University and other institutions, setting the early expectation that college attendance can be a possible part of each student’s future. Annually, school supplies are collected and provided for students at Ettrick Elementary and Harrowgate Elementary Schools and the before and after school program at the Children’s Home of Virginia Baptists. Hundreds of books were secured and delivered to Ettrick Elementary students as take - home gifts to provide for summer readings. Additionally, the Foundation purchased and delivered a printer plus accessories to the Special Education class at Ettrick Elementary. The Kindergarten program at Harrowgate Elementary School received the food items requested for a classroom project and for snacks for students who did not have them.
We also provided an ice cream party in support of the reading competition at Harrowgate for the class reading the most books. Additionally, the Foundation donated funds to purchase books for the school-wide reading project at Matoaca middle school and sponsored the senior awards breakfast at Matoaca high school.
We hope that our namesake would be proud of the associations the Foundation has established with schools in the community. Clearly, this would not have been possible without your help. I believe Mrs. Hill would encourage us to continue contributing to the academic foundation of our youth but would caution us not to forget the moral-ethical component of their education. An additional discussion that we should have is “Just because we can, should we?” Every piece of knowledge can be used for good and it can be used for evil. Knowledge that can be used to make a person feel good about themselves can also be used to cause that same person to doubt their ability. Drugs that can be used to cure can also be used to kill. Is this discussion one that is too important to be left solely to academic or religious leaders? Where does the community fit in helping children develop a sense of empathy? Where do you fit? Just a thought!
As a small public foundation, MMHMF is dependent upon the exceptional service and generosity of the communities in which the family members reside. You have given us your time, your advice and your dollars. The Foundation’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of children in lower Chesterfield county, VA and with your help and support, we continue to be able to do so. For that support, on behalf of the Board of Directors, I say “thank you”.
James H. Stith