Mildred Putnam Recieves 2012 Midland Philanthropist of the Year Award


“If you have something to share, the thing to do is share it,” states Mildred Putnam, this year’s Philanthropist of the Year. At the age of 93, Mildred has spent nearly 70 years practicing her philosophy of giving in Midland.

A celebration is planned at the Holiday Inn of Midland on October 17th at 5:30pm. The event is called “Ripple Effect”, and will honor Mildred as well as highlight some of the 2012 grants made possible by the Midland Area Community Foundation. It is free and open to the public, though RSVPs are requested by October 10th by calling the community foundation at 989.839.9661.

According to Mildred, “Do what you can, whether small or large. If everyone helped a bit, we would all be better off.”

Mildred has helped Midlanders to be better off since she came to the community in 1943 following her graduation from Albion College. Mildred’s husband and his family were Midland residents and Mildred shared their passion for giving. She says that you often follow in the footsteps of your parents and saw herself and her husband doing just that in the community of Midland.

Mildred sees Midland as an outstanding city for sharing and giving. Her initial volunteer efforts focused around her four children as she served in PTA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and their family’s church, Memorial Presbyterian. She then expanded her circle of giving with involvement in King’s Daughters, PEO, Northwood, Eagle Village, Shelterhouse, Boys and Girls Club, Little Forks, Chippewa Nature Center, Marshall Fredericks museum, Albion College and the Midland Area Community Foundation, to name only some of the recipients of her gifts of time and resources.

Mildred shares, “If people know you’re interested, they get involved too.”

She believes that if you can unite enough people, you can unite a city. It was this belief that led her to serve on scholarship committees, the Santa House committee, and the grants committee at the community foundation. She sees the foundation as helping to unite the community.

Mildred thinks the spirit of giving started with Herbert H. Dow, who would often give plants to people. She believes that people continue to give for their children and said, “Always think of what you’re leaving for children.”

Mildred also stated, “Let your name go with your gift because it will encourage others to give.” Mildred truly embodies the spirit of philanthropy with her rich heritage of volunteering her time and giving her financial resources to benefit others.