Fall 2011 Issue


You Gotta Have Faith

By Jeremy Jones

Against the backdrop of one of the world's most extensive and eclectic private art collections, Barry honored the generosity and service of extraordinary philanthropists and community leaders on Feb. 3 during its first-ever Celebration of the Human Spirit event at The Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE in Miami.

Among those honored was 9-year-old Joshua Williams, who may possibly be the world's youngest and smallest philanthropist. Through his foundation, Joshua's Heart, he and others who volunteer with him have helped feed more than 7,000 people and distributed more than 250,000 pounds of food to needy communities in South Florida.

He started the foundation more than three years ago with a goal to end hunger and increase awareness of the issue. His passion for the less fortunate has been evident since he was just 4 years old. Seeing a homeless man on the street, Joshua gave him $20, which he received as a gift from his grandmother. Later, Joshua saw a program on TV about poverty and hunger-stricken children, which inspired him to create the foundation. His contributions to those less fortunate in Miami-Dade County has garnered national attention and made a significant impact in the community.

For his work, the University honored Joshua with the Faith and Freedom Award, which recognizes men and women whose work and actions have embodied the shared religious values of civility, mutual respect and justice while addressing controversial and challenging issues. Past recipients of the Faith and Freedom Award include Sen. Bob Graham, Alonzo and Tracy Mourning and Dr. Pedro Greer.

Also recognized during the Celebration were Dr. Paul Farmer, founding director of Partners in Health; philanthropist Norma Jean Abraham; educator and community activist Marvin Dunn, PhD; and filmmaker Alexandra Codina. These four individuals received the Laudare Medal, which is given as a particular expression of gratitude and appreciation for outstanding community service.