Philanthropy future lies in youth

Published 10:40 am Friday, January 8, 2010

A lazy day at Nana’s turned into a life-learning experience for three young children.

Cole, 9, Morgan, 7 and Cason, 4, children of Eric and Hayden Jeffries of Columbiana, were spending the night with their grandparents, State Rep. Mike and Carol Hill. They wanted a project to make some money and to have fun. Nana (Carol) suggested a lemonade stand.

At dinner that night, Uncle Hunter Hill got involved with the project and made them a “godfather” deal, one they could not refuse.

Hunter offered to match whatever his niece and nephews earned if they gave it to charity.

“It was a no brainer to me,” said Hunter. “I suggested the Children’s Hospital because it is an easy charity to get behind. I wanted my niece and nephews to have the experience to learn to give, to earn the money for a purpose, and to give it for good.”

Nana suggested her grandchildren link with Miss Shelby County Ashlee Stiglich and give the funds to the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).

Nana also suggested they have their lemonade stand behind the Shelby County High School football stadium on a day the band was practicing. Hunter played trumpet in the SCHS band, was an instructor at the SCHS Band summer camp, and was well known with all the SCHS band members.

So, the children had a willing group of thirsty teenagers to sell to and a high motive behind their project.

“The band wanted Uncle Hunter to pay,” said Morgan.

Their lemonade stand raised $100. The band members got so involved with the project to raise money for the hospital and also “to stick it to Hunter,” some paid $5 for a single glass.

Needless to say, they sold out and the plan was a huge success with Hunter’s wallet a lot lighter.

“I thought that would raise $15-$20,” said Hunter. “I was stunned they did so well, but was thrilled.”

The Jeffries’s children met Miss Shelby County at the hospital and presented their cash donation to Emily Hornak, Children’s Miracle Network director of Children’s Hospital.

“I was so excited to see young kids give back,” Hornak said. “CMN relies of community donations, and every dollar raised truly counts. CMN raised over $1 million dollars this year for Children’s Hospital. These children are the future of philanthropy.”

Columnist Phoebe Robinson can be reached by e–mail at