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Hill-Man’s Foundation Brings Relief

Stow students helped out at last year’s Foundation Toy Drive. (L-R) Sarah Clopeck, Greg Hill, Julia Hill, and Kylie Lance.

By Ann Needle
Driving to work, the news on the radio can be a wake-up call, with stories of accidents and loss that are often too close to home. As someone who has dealt with dozens of these stories on his morning radio show, Stow resident Greg Hill decided to do something to help the victims.

Reaching thousands of listeners every weekday morning on Boston radio station WAAF’s “Hill-man Morning Show,” Hill uses this clout to assist some of the victims behind these local news stories with the Greg Hill Foundation.

Started by Hill in June 2010 after 20 years on the airwaves, the Foundation’s purpose is to provide immediate assistance to local families suffering tragedy.  “The reason I started it was I would come to work in the morning, and we would talk about some of these stories as part of the news on the show,” Hill said of the stories that often shadow the morning news. “I wanted to find some way to use the generosity of the audience to help.”

The story of Lancaster’s Jack Lally underscored just how well and how swiftly the Foundation can step in.  Early last month, the 12-year-old Lally was severely injured while riding his bike, struck by a car driven by an alleged drunk driver. He was rushed to UMass Medical Center in Worcester, and is at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center recovering from injuries that include head trauma that has left him with memory loss.

After hearing about the accident, Hill started out his show by announcing that he would be collecting donations for the Lally family that morning. Listeners gave $7,000 that day and, as always, the Foundation matched the contributions dollar for dollar. Two days later, the Foundation delivered a $14,000 check to the Lallys, said Hill.

Compared with other non-profits, the Greg Hill Foundation is new, set up less than three years ago. “There are so many worthy charities out there,” the Stow native remarked. “But this lacks red tape, and we can get the money to them in days. They’re able to use it right away, and that’s what I love about it.”

The Foundation recently assisted the family of a man in Leominster who was struck and killed while changing a tire on the road earlier this year. The Foundation’s list also includes grants for families of firefighters and servicemen killed in the line of duty, and those struggling to recover from strokes and severe injuries, said Hill. The Foundation even raised funds for a local Babe Ruth League after its utility shed was struck by lightening. The money helped rebuild the shed and replaced some of the baseball equipment lost.

‘Tis the Season

Hill-Man found a friend among the huge selection of toys and books from which parents could choose at last year’s Foundation Toy Drive Giveaway.

The sudden nature of these misfortunes makes it almost impossible to predict where the Foundation’s next donation will go. However, one of the Foundation’s few planned events is its annual Christmas Toy Drive Giveaway, slated for December 11.

Hill explained that deserving families will be able to “shop” for holiday gifts free of charge. Parents come to a central location and can walk around and choose age-appropriate gifts for their children ages 16 and under. Last year, the Foundation assisted about 180 parents, he said. Hill works with the Boston Housing Authority in identifying deserving families, but anyone can nominate a family by going to Foundation’s website. Nominations must be received by December 4.

At the event, volunteers escort parents to help identify appropriate gifts. Hill said that these helpers include his two children, Julia and Breese, and their middle- and high-school friends. “My kids are great at it, and they like the mission of the Foundation,” Hill said.

While an annual golf tournament and other events help fuel the Foundation, Hill pointed out that individual contributions are key to its success.  “People like to give to their neighbors.  I think people feel really good about giving and knowing that the families will get it a day or two later.”

For more information and donations, visit The Foundation can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.