Dallas Philanthropist Lyda Hill will now receive the Oak Cliff Lions Club’s Bill Melton Humanitarian Award on Dec. 8. The prestigious award will be presented at a noon lunch event in Anderson Hall, Tyler Street United Methodist Church. The address is Tenth at Polk Streets in Dallas. Hill will be the 43rd recipient of this annual award, honoring a person whose activities, contributions and service to the community best symbolize the ideals of Lionism.
The award is typically given to non-Lions who demonstrate dedication to Community, Profession, God, and Mankind that exemplify the Lions Clubs International motto, “We Serve.” The Award was first presented in 1978, to Dallas Cowboys Coach Tom Landry and the list of Past Recipients reads like a “Who’s Who” of the Dallas community. The Award was re-named by the Club Board of Directors in 2010, for Award Founder, former Dallas County Treasurer Bill Melton.
Hill founded Hill World Travel in 1967, which was the largest travel agency in Dallas and one of the largest in the country when she sold it in 1982. In 1970, she became President of Seven Falls, a tourist attraction near Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1975, she was one of the first women invited to join the Young Presidents’ Organization. She developed and constructed the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center in Colorado Springs in 1995. In 2011, after the center had donated $3.5 million to the Garden of the Gods Foundation, Hill gave the Visitor Center to the Foundation. In 1990, Hill made a significant investment in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
She has been Chairman of the World Presidents’ Organization – Dallas, the Visiting Nurse Association, the Easter Seals Society for Children, and the American Heart Association of Dallas and Texas. She has been a Board Member of the Dallas Assembly, Greater Dallas Chamber and Citizens Council of Dallas. She is the President of LH Holdings and the Lyda Hill Foundation. She serves on the M.D. Anderson Board of Visitors.
Hill chaired the Crystal Charity Ball in 1975 and served as President of the Junior League of Dallas in 1982. In 1985, she created the Volunteer Connection, linking willing individuals with charities that needed volunteers, receiving the President’s Volunteer Action Award. The project was replicated in 70 cities across the Country. In 1985, Texas Governor Bill Clements named her “Outstanding Volunteer in Texas.”
She founded a women’s breast care center, also funding and launching Remeditex Ventures, a venture capital fund. The fund supports development of promising biomedical products and therapies, while also providing aid in bringing them to commercial development. In 2015, she donated $25 million to establish the Department of Bioinformatics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Hill joined “The Giving Pledge”, initiated by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett and has pledged to donate her entire wealth to charity, the bulk of it during her lifetime. She is a Lifetime Member of the Board of Visitors of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She has pledged $50 million to its “Moon Shot” Program to help eradicate cancer. Her gift is the largest single private philanthropic contribution to date.
Hill has been honored numerous times for all of her charitable giving and community involvements. Perhaps the most significant award came in 2016, when she received Dallas’ highest civic Honor, the Linz Award.
Oak Cliff Lions
For the past 93 years, Oak Cliff Lions have supported a variety of local, state, national and International charities involving youth, vision, and other worthy causes and charities. It is estimated that the club has contributed over $2 million to charitable causes through the dedicated efforts of club members.
Nia Mackay is President of the Oak Cliff Lions Club. Past President Diana Ezell, who was President in 2020, when the Award selection was made, and Past President Paul Nielsen, 2021, whose Committee endorsed the selection, will participate in the Presentation of the Award. Past President Charlie Tupper is Chairman of the Humanitarian Committee.
A catered buffet will be provided by Alycen Cuellar and Chef Crafted Kitchens Catering. Admission is $15 for members-at-large, non-members and guests. Past recipients of the award are invited to attend as guests of the club. Reservations must be confirmed by Dec .l by emailing Colleen Martin at [email protected]