With parents like Georgia State Rep. Juanita Williams and the late civil rights leader Hosea Williams, 60-year-old Elisabeth Omilami spent her entire life contributing to the greater community one way or another. At an early age, she participated in protests during the Civil Rights movement early on and helped out in the background of her father’s charity, Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless.
After her father passed away in 2000, Omilami took over his foundation as CEO and continues to live up to her parent’s legacy of helping others.
WATCH THE GRIO’S 100’S ELISABETH OMILAMI DISCUSS HER FAMILY LEGACY:
Omilami oversees the foundation’s efforts to feed the hungry, provide access to medical clinics, clothing distribution and educational programs, among other human services.
Elisabeth Omilami is making history as… a leader in the philanthropic community in Atlanta. In her role as CEO, she has expanded the budget of her father’s foundation from $200,000 annually to $1.5 million, which in turn expands their reach into the community. Her efforts have been recognized with several awards, including an SCLC Women Drum Major for Justice Award and a Georgia State Senate resolution in recognition of her community service.
What’s next for Elisabeth?
Omilami is also a pastor and an actress. She has appeared in movies such as Madea’s Family Reunion and Ray, and appeared in the 2010 TV mini series Marry Me.
In her own words:
“Whenever we get too big to do the little things, to see the little people and to right the wrongs to those who are voiceless, we have lost our souls to something that will eventually destroy the humanity in us. We have lost the real meaning of life, of love, and the purpose for being.”
A little-known fact about Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless
Since its founding in 1971, Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless has distributed more than $3 billion in food, clothing, medical supplies and more to those in need.
For more information, click here.
THE GRIO’S Q & A WITH ELISABETH OMILAMI
Q: What’s next in this chapter of your life?
A: It’s a good question because none of us really know from moment to the next what may be in Gods plan for our lives. I am a woman of faith or at least acknowledging that I think it is an introspective stage of my life, whereas I have been very extroverted in the last 11 years now I am entering a stage where I must begin to capture the vision that I’ve been given. I must duplicate myself for people around me so that can carry on the vision in their own way in caring for the less fortunate, in providing jobs for each other, educating and supporting each other, empowering each other and taking no prisoners when it comes to fighting off wickedness
Q: What’s a little fact about you that many people don’t know?
A: I am addicted to beaches. My name Omilami. It is a Yoruba word that means “water heals me.” If I had the budget and energy, then I would go to no end to visit as many clean beaches as I could. I believe that water is a healing virtue. Water falls, lakes, streams, oceans, all hold mysteries and since our bodies are 70% water certainly our relationship with water must be important.
Q: What’s your favorite quote?
A: If it’s not in writing, then it’s not real.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: I get my inspiration from watching other people make miracles happen as they relate to civilization and the world around us, knowing that it only takes one person, inspired by a passion for life and a goal to make this world better for future generations, to make a difference. I am inspired by watching artist, builders and creative people, leave their mark on the world, their footprint in which future generations will be nurtured and take on their own responsibilities for this earth and each other.
Q: Who are/were your mentors?
A: My mentors are people who have the audacity and the guts to support me and believe that Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless will survive as one of the premier human service organizations in this country. People that take the time to have faith in me and the mission of Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless. People like Ingrid Sanders Jones and David VanCronkhite, people who trust me with their resources, their money, and show me how to do a good thing better and strive to be the best.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to achieve their dreams?
A: Well if someone is craving to achieve their dreams, they will, cause nothing will stop them. It may not take the shape or form they expect. For example, you may be dreaming to make the best ice cream and end up with sugary cold substance in a cone. Be willing to trust that the universe knows what is best for you and you are not alone. And learn how to be content but never ever give up. Real actors don’t act, because they want to be movie stars. Instead they act, because they wake up drawn by an undeniable magnetism to participate in the purity of the craft of acting and that in itself is the payoff. It’s not for the money. Although we need money, ministry takes money. The dreamer must participate, but the purity of being used by God to create something that has not existed before. So anyone who is craving to achieve their dreams will do it, regardless of the “crazy-makers” the nay sayers, the liars, the envious, backbiting, or the haters, because they have to achieve their dream.They simply have to.