Big Honor For Little Philanthropist
MIAMI (CBS4) – He may be the youngest, smallest president of a registered charitable organization; and Thursday night, the 9-year-old will receive a big award from Barry University for his good works.
Joshua Williams founded his organization, Joshua’s Heart, when he was five-year-old. He had seen a spot on television featuring hungry children and soliciting sponsors for them. It moved Joshua to want to help, and with the assistance of his mother, Claudia McClean, he began the charity.
“I saw these children, they’re skinny, didn’t have any food, houses – anything – and I thought it was very sad,” Joshua told CBS4 News in a July, 2009 interview. “I’m more fortunate than the other people, and I want them to be fortunate, too.”
Joshua’s Heart has fed thousands of needy people and collected and distributed thousands of tons of food. Joshua has a website, Joshuasheart.org, that details the organizations work – from distributing food at churches, to delivering meals to the elderly at home.
In an interview Thursday at the Colombostile Gallery on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, Joshua said he had no idea that his charity would gain such recognition or accomplish so much.
“It’s made me feel happy, and I’m just amazed by what we’re doing,” the youngster said.
Joshua will receive Barry University’s Faith and Freedom Award at ceremonies tonight at the Marguiles Collection Gallery on Northwest 27th street in Miami.
He will join impressive company.
Prior recipients of the award include former United States Senator Bob Graham, basketball star Alonzo Mourning and his wife Tracy, and the late Monsignor Bryan Walsh.
Joshua said he’s humbled, but proud, to be receiving the award. “I feel very happy about that, and I feel inspired and motivated.”
His mother said the recognition will help raise awareness of hunger and generate support in the fight to eradicate it.
“It helps us to really do what Joshua wants, his mission to help more people help others,” his mother said.
Joshua, a student at Fisher Island Day School makes straight A’s, and hopes to be a scientist when he grows up.
He said he plans to make a scientific career “inventing things… and finding cures for diseases,” but added that he would still be running his charitable foundation.
While Joshua’s charity has scores of volunteers and has collected and distributed tons of food, it is cash poor. Filings show Joshua’s Heart spent about $7,000 more than it brought in last year.
Joshua’s mother said the family’s home health care business has covered the deficit with a loan that the foundation may someday be able to repay.
Also being recognized at the Barry University awards ceremony Thursday night are Dr. Paul Farmer, founding director of Partners in Health; philanthropist Norma Jean Abraham; educator and community activist Marvin Dunn, Ph.D.; and filmmaker Alexandra Codina.