Julia Wright

Dr. Julia Wright is shown here with the Women’s Fund of Ashland County Community Foundation’s Dr. Lucille G. Ford Freedom From Selfishness Award.

ASHLAND – In presenting Dr. Julia Wright with the Women’s Fund of Ashland County Community Foundation’s Dr. Lucille G. Ford Freedom From Selfishness Award, Women’s Fund Steering Committee Chair Dr. JoAnn Ford Watson quoted Lewis Carroll.

“One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others,” Ford Watson said. “You certainly exemplify that, Julia.”

Wright is the seventh recipient of the annual Ford Award, which recognizes women who exemplify community foundation founding president Lucille Ford’s definition of philanthropy — “Freedom From Selfishness.”

Nominees must be current residents of Ashland County and must have lived in the county for at least the past 20 years. Award recipients are selected by a committee of the Women’s Fund of Richland County Foundation.

“This is probably the biggest surprise of my life,” Wright said as she accepted the award in a small, socially distanced ceremony held at the community foundation. “When I got that letter, I burst into tears.”

Wright was nominated for the award by Lindsey Roberts-Gasche, who wrote, “Julia always asks herself, ‘How can I fix a need in the community?’ Julia exemplifies leadership and has mentored me to be a better leader and business owner in the community.”

After retirement from her career as an educator and school psychologist, Wright moved to Ashland, where she devoted herself to community service.

Wright is best known locally for founding the Ashland Bookcase Project, which promotes early literacy by providing customized bookcases full of children’s books to hundreds of preschoolers in Ashland County.

“The goal of the project is to make reading together a habit and a family activity for parents with young children. The impacts of early exposure to books and early positive associations with reading can last a lifetime,” Wright said.

“Once a child thinks they are dumb and they can’t learn, an emotional disability starts and it’s really hard to overcome that,” she said. “That’s been a focus of my career.”

The Bookcase Project was among several initiatives Wright has been involved with through Rotary Club of Ashland. Others included the club’s shelter box project and its annual Fourth of July fireworks display.

Wright also helped to start Dazzle, a major annual fundraiser for the Ashland Symphony Orchestra Women’s League.

“Your passion becomes your legacy when you serve others, be the person God has called you to be and do what you love,” Ford Watson told Wright. “Your contribution to Ashland is immense.”

ACCF Chief Program Officer Kristin Aspin said the Women’s Fund hopes to honor Wright again during a larger gathering in the future, when the pandemic subsides and such a gathering becomes appropriate.

About the Women’s Fund of Ashland County Community Foundation

The Women’s Fund of Ashland County Community Foundation was established in 2004 to create a permanent legacy that enhances the lives of women in Ashland County. Donations to the Women’s Fund are invested, generating income to award grants and scholarships that strengthen Ashland County women.

DON'T MISS A THRIVE STORY

Sign up for the weekly thrive newsletter and get local inspiration delivered to your inbox every Monday.