Mona Jeanne Boles Smith, a remarkable individual with a passion for education, the arts, and social justice, left behind a legacy of generosity upon her passing in August 2022. Born in San Antonio, Texas in 1939, Mona’s life journey took her on a path of growth, understanding, and a deep commitment to making a positive impact in her community. Active membership in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Huntsville strengthened her resolve. Despite her modest income as a high school teacher, Mona’s immense generosity shone through as she established the Mona Smith Legacy Fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville. Mona’s legacy gift demonstrates the transformative power of generosity as she continues her mission of nurturing the best of humanity through education and the arts even now.
A Heart for Reading and Knowledge:
Mona’s love for reading and appreciation for the written word led her to support the Huntsville-Madison County Library. She cherished books and believed in the power of literature to inspire and educate. Her contribution will help expand library resources, ensuring that future generations have access to a wide range of books and educational materials.
Cultivating Beauty in Nature:
Although Mona may not have been an expert in botany, her friendship with Catherine Hall, a volunteer at the botanical garden, inspired her to contribute to this cause. Mona recognized the importance of preserving and appreciating the natural world. Her donation will support the maintenance and development of Huntsville Botanical Garden, allowing others to find solace and inspiration in its serene beauty.
Harmony through Music:
From a young age, Mona’s love for music was nurtured through her piano lessons. When she finally acquired her most prized possession, a Steinway upright piano, her passion for the instrument grew. Mona greatly respected professional musicians. Mona fondly remembered an insightful conversation about piano technique with Curtis Lindsey, Huntsville Symphony pianist. Her generous donation to the Huntsville Symphony will support their continued pursuit of excellence and their mission of bringing the joy of music to the community.
Mona found joy in music and community. Her appreciation of the Master Chorale was deep-rooted, as she attended many of their concerts. As a musician herself, Mona sang and conducted the choir at the Huntsville Senior Center, cherishing the friendship of fellow choir members. Mona’s generous gift will help sustain the Master Chorale, ensuring the continued celebration of the beauty of music in Huntsville.
Fueling the Creative Spirit:
Mona understood that art and creativity are vital to the human spirit. Her travels introduced her to diverse artistic expressions, and she amassed a collection of small works of art and prints from renowned artists. The Huntsville Museum of Art will benefit from her legacy, providing opportunities for people to engage and appreciate art.
Cultivating the Mind through Radio:
Mona’s love for classical music, jazz, book reviews, and poetry found a home in the airwaves of WLRH Radio. She recognized the value of diverse programming and the ability of radio to expand minds and touch hearts. Her contribution will help sustain the station, allowing them to continue providing enriching content to the community.
Supporting Vulnerable Communities:
Mona’s understanding of the challenges faced by the elderly, survivors of domestic violence, individuals living in poverty, the LGBTQ community, and children in need of love and security led her to support various organizations dedicated to making a difference. ENABLE (formerly CASA), Crisis Services, the Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Harris Home for Children, Kids to Love, and Thrive will each receive support from Mona’s legacy gift, ensuring that these organizations can continue their vital work.
Investing in Education and Empowerment:
As a lifelong learner and dedicated teacher, Mona recognized the importance of education and the challenges faced by educators. Her support for Free-To-Teach, Girls, Inc., and Learning Quest/, Osher Lifelong Learning at UAH will enable these organizations to empower educators, provide educational opportunities for girls, and foster lifelong learning for all.
Mona Jeanne Boles Smith’s $270,000 legacy gift to local nonprofits through the Mona Smith Legacy Fund is a testament to her unwavering commitment to equity, education, and the arts. Despite her modest means, Mona’s generosity has left an indelible mark on the community of Huntsville. Through her gift, the eighteen nonprofits mentioned above will continue to nurture the best of humanity. Mona’s belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person lives on through these organizations, ensuring a brighter future for the community she loved.