Stith Family tradition of giving back continues – and expands

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: Apr. 2, 2018 | 2:35 p.m.

SUSSEX – Millard “Pete” Stith, Consultant to Sussex County Board of Supervisors, comes from a background of giving back, as he explained following the recent presentation of a $100,000 check to the Sussex County School System.

“My mother and father, Millard and Florence Stith, both served on the Sussex County School Board,” Stith said. “My father was the first African American to serve on the School Board, and when he passed away unexpectedly my mother was appointed to complete the rest of his term.  After the term was up, the Board of Supervisors appointed her to an additional four-year term.  She was the first African American ever to serve as chairwoman of the Sussex County School Board.“

“Our parents always taught us the value of education,” he continued.  “We grew up on a 350 acre farm, and the work was hard, but they always told us that what we are doing does not define what our future will be.  So to honor both my mother and father for their achievements, our youngest brother, David, recommended that we start a $50,000 scholarship in the name of our parents for the Sussex County School System.  With a couple of financial gifts from the Robbins Foundation through attorney Reginald Jones of Jarrett, we quickly achieved our $50,000 goal.  Our baby brother then suggested that we take it to $100,000.”

Stith said a requirement they established for earning the scholarships is that the funds be given not only to college bound students, but to community college and trade school bound students as well.

PICTURED, Left to Right: Margaret Francine Jackson, Brenda Stith Finch, Janet Taylor, Shirley Ford, Mildred Barden, Rose Mary Singleton, Dr. Jarrett, School Superintendent, Millard “Pete” Stith, back row Dr. Melvin Stith.
Not pictured: David Stith 

“This year,” he added, “we’re requesting that a small amount of money be given to any student that is enlisting in the US armed forces.  It is our further intention to match each year the interest earnings on the fund so that the Superintendent will have a larger pool of money to give away to our aspiring students without having to touch the principal.”

Stith added that in addition to the scholarships, they are also financially investing in the girls’ basketball team and, this year, in the boys’ baseball team as well.

“Giving is not new to us,” he said.  “All of our brothers and sisters give back to the Historical Black Colleges and Universities that we attended as well as our family church in Jarrett. We were taught by our parents that when you are blessed to have resources, you should share those resources for the betterment of the whole community.  And this is our way of giving back.”

Stith added, “Giving is contagious.  The other day I was having lunch with a Central High former student.  He went home and talked with son, and now they’re going to start a similar fund within the school division.”

Copyright 2018 by Womack Publishing
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