Prairie View A&M University president gifts Fifth Ward non-profit with $100,000 donation

Prairie View A&M University President Dr. Ruth Simmons presented Fifth Ward's Julia C. Hester House with a donation in the amount of $100,000 Saturday. She said the house contributed to her upbringing. (KPRC 2)

HOUSTON – The president of Prairie View A&M University, Dr. Ruth Simmons, has gifted the Fifth Ward community with a major boost in an effort to help a non-profit founded 77 years ago.

Simmons presented the Julia C. Hester House, a long-standing community center in the Fifth Ward area, a donation in the amount of $100,000 on Saturday. She said the non-profit organization contributed to her upbringing.

Simmons said the gift will help the organization continue to serve residents with a variety of programs, including child development, education, community swim classes, senior services and meal distributions. Many of the programs are free as JCHH serves an under-resourced population.

“My siblings and I owe a great deal to Julia C. Hester House," Simmons said. “It serves as a beacon of hope for the community and we spent many years here as children, participating in their programs in a healthy, productive environment created specifically for those of us in the neighborhood. My hope is that the legacy of the organization remains strong and faithful, and that they continue to help shape lives, like they did mine.”

The funds will be used to continue program operations at the house and help cover some of the losses in donations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seniors in the African American community rely on the JCHH as a source for health and wellness due to the scarce and limited resources in the community. Due to COVID-19, many programs have been suspended or moved online.

“We were both surprised and elated with gratitude when we received the news of this thoughtful donation. To see the direct impact of our services through the years and the impression our programs have on people like Dr. Simmons is a great reminder of why organizations like ours are essential,” said Daisy Stiner, executive director of the Julia C. Hester House.

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