It is indeed a pleasure to serve as the Chair of this illustrious group, the Women’s Council for Philanthropy here at Jackson State University, my “dear ole college home.” As a three time graduate, I never dreamed that when I first set foot on this campus as a child with my daddy and my uncle, that I would obtain all of my degrees here on full scholarship, meet and marry my college sweetheart, develop lifelong friendships, or become chair of the Women’s Council. All of this was made possible by the loving nurturing atmosphere and rigorous engaging environment of this great university. JSU has become my second family, and because so many opportunities were afforded me here, I have felt compelled to give back. I am reminded of the scripture: “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). If you have ever heard this line of wisdom shared, you know it means we are held responsible for what we have. If we have been blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, and the like, it is expected that we benefit others. We have chosen Jackson State University as a way to carry out this philanthropic duty and bring this scripture to life today.
This is what philanthropy is all about. The definition of philanthropy that I feel best captures it in the Collins English Dictionary as “altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.” Members of this Council embody this definition and are dedicated to giving back to Jackson State University through contributions of time, talent, and treasure. Furthermore, we are committed to the mission, vision and goals of the Council and will continue to uphold the standards set by those who established the organization and who have effectively led it up to this point. I salute you for your vision, dedication, and service to this cause.
We ask that you join us in our efforts to serve the university and deserving students. You can donate to the Women’s Council Endowed Scholarship Fund through the JSU Development Foundation, Inc., join our Butterfly Society (details are included on the website), and/or support our public events and fundraisers. All of these donations are tax deductible and will be used to provide students in need with scholarship funds.
In closing, I would like to share two quotes from the late great Mary McLeod Bethune, “If we have the courage and tenacity of our forebearers who stood firmly like a rock against the lash of slavery, we shall find a way to do for our day what they did for theirs. I leave you love. I leave you hope. I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another. I leave you a thirst for education. I leave you a respect for the use of power. I leave you faith. I leave you racial dignity. I leave you a desire to live harmoniously with your fellow men. I leave you finally, a responsibility to our young people.”
I indeed consider it a privilege to serve in this capacity and be able to give back just a portion of what has been given to me by “Thee I Love” – Jackson State University!
Onward and Upward!
Rhea Williams-Bishop, Ph.D.
Women’s Council for Philanthropy Chair