Jane Williams Receives Spirit of Martha Award
Jane Williams (pictured left) is the recipient of the 2012 Spirit of Martha Award presented by the Griffiths Leadership Society.
Williams received the award April 13 during the society’s spring conference at Reynolds Alumni Center. Created in 2006, the award honors a Mizzou alumna or faculty member who has distinguished herself in her chosen field as well as exemplified the spirit of leadership, particularly in the furtherance of women. Like the organization, the award bears the name of Martha Wright Griffiths, an inspirational alumna who was a trailblazer for women’s rights.
A true tiger, Williams has become a fixture in Columbia since earning her bachelor’s degree in 1976 and master’s degree in 1977. During this time, she has been involved with a number of local organizations in volunteer roles, working behind the scenes to serve others in the Columbia community.
Williams has helped found two non-profit organizations in Columbia. In 2001, she joined with Pam Ingram in co-founding Granny’s House, a safe and nurturing public housing after-school program for Columbia’s inner-city children. More recently, she co-founded Love INC - Love in the name of Christ - in 2006. Love INC serves as a citywide clearing house for social services so those in need can go to a single organization as a point of entry to receiving the variety of services of which they may be in need. She continues to serve as the program director of Love INC.
Williams has been particularly lauded for her efforts assisting Hurricane Katrina evacuees. “Many needs came forth, and Jane solved each problem as if it were her own family member,” stated School of Social Work alumna Kathryn Oberg-Roberts. “Jane helped organize several baby showers and a furniture warehouse. She was able to grasp the big picture needs of people obtaining self-sufficiency, as well as give the personal attention to help people feel important.”
Williams was nominated for the award by Dr. Dianne Orton and Suzanne Cary, faculty members with the School of Social Work. “Jane takes action and leads by example,” they stated in their nomination. “Jane is relentless of her time, patience and energy in identifying the needs, resources and gaps of service for needy people.”
Past recipients of the Spirit of Martha Award include include Pam Benoit, Executive Vice President and Provost, Ohio University; Rebecca McDowell Cook, former Missouri Secretary of State; Cynthia Mustard, Executive Director of the Voluntary Action Center in Columbia; Linda Remelle Evans, retired director of the Missouri Division of Judicial Education; and Christina Lindholm, Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University.