The West End Home Foundation released a book on November 15, 2017 documenting its 125-year history of serving older adults in Middle Tennessee. A Heartfelt Mission – The West End Home Foundation 1891-2016, by Mary Ellen Pethel, is a story that began in the late 1800s when M.H. Howard left a bequest to establish a home for “aged and helpless women who were without means of support”. The Old Woman’s Home, later renamed The West End Home for Ladies, was founded in 1891. For over 120 years, generations of prominent Nashville women served on the Governing and Auxiliary Boards to ensure that elderly women were able to spend their final years in a caring and compassionate residence with all the comforts of home. Today the home is no longer in operation but the legacy of caring continues through our independent charitable foundation. “The West End Home Foundation reaches a much broader population by providing grants to nonprofit organizations that serve older adults and by acting as a voice for a frequently silent and underserved population” reports Kim Sumner Hardin, Foundation Board President.
The organization’s remarkable history has been forever preserved in print by Mary Ellen Pethel, a Nashville native, historian, teacher and author. The book combines a chronological history of the organization with social and economic trends that impacted its mission while giving the reader insights into the lives of women from all walks of life – both those who were dedicated to serving their community and had the financial means to do so and those who needed care and support and became the “ladies” of the home. According to Dianne Oliver, Executive Director of the Foundation, “it is a heartwarming story of women helping women that captures the spirit of philanthropy that has defined the Nashville community”.
A Heartfelt Mission was released at a private event on November 15 at the Belle Meade Country Club. Current and past board, auxiliary and staff members, family members of former residents and representatives from nonprofit agencies that serve older adults gathered to celebrate and to hear Ms. Pethel speak. Entertainment was provided by Bill Sleeter, a local musician who regularly performed at the Home and was a favorite of the ladies.
The book is available at Parnassus Books in Nashville and will be available through Amazon in December. The purchase price is $20.00.