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Lifetime Humanitarian - William (Bill) Holmes
Lifetime Humanitarian Award: honors individuals or families that have demonstrated a lifetime of outstanding civic and charitable responsibility to a community or organization.
William (Bill) Holmes of Ann Arbor is a part of a ninth generation family owned business that was started in 1802 called Chelsea Milling Company, which produces the legendary Jiffy Mix. He is a former fighter pilot with the Air Force and is currently a 26 year Captain with American Airlines.
Bill recognizes and understands the needs of his community and volunteers his time and talents to ensure those needs are met. He served as chair of the St. Joe's Development Council from 2005 to 2012, and even during the downturn in the economy he helped raise more than $90 million in community support to replace the Ann Arbor hospital. Bill personally requested the philanthropic support of more than 100 leadership donors. In 2011, he became a member of the St. Joe's Board of Directors and was involved in the Hospital's partnership in helping to reduce homelessness in Washtenaw County, serving as a key advocate for the Hospital's $1 million gift to the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation to found the Sr. Yvonne Gellise Endowment Fund for Permanent Supportive Housing Services. As a member of the Board of Directors for the Ann Arbor YMCA for the past 20 years, Bill was also a part of the creation, development and campaign to raise $15 million for the new YMCA building. He also has become a leader at Arbor Hospice, helping raise money to ensure residents can be comfortable in their final days, and is also an avid supporter of the Purple Rose Theater.
In his current role as the Board Chair of Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan, his key responsibility is to assist the organization in maintaining a financially sound council. The council awards more than $75,000 annually in financial assistance towards scholarships and with Bill’s support, they went from 200 members to 2,000 and have never had to turn a girl away from the program.
“It makes me tear up thinking about what he has done for the organization,” said Girls on the Run executive director Danielle Plunkett. “We all adore him.”
William’s passion and devotion shines through to the countless people he has impacted through his generosity and service.
“It is evident through Bill’s volunteer efforts and lifelong commitment to the community that he is living to this standard and as a result, the organizations touched by his involvement have benefited because of his advocacy, enthusiasm and dedication,” said Rhonda Fields of Girls on the Run.