Sara Mills Hodge
A "living" legacy of Service
"This learned I from the shadow of a tree
Which to and fro did cast its shadow on a wall
Our shadow selves, our influence
May fall where we can never be."
Sara Mills Hodge was born in 1875, a decade after the Civil War. Her father, George James Mills, was a broker who sponsored numerous profitable voyages of cotton ships to England. The home he built for his bride, Euphemia Cunningham still stands at 208 Hall Street. Sarah Mills was an only child; like other children of prominent savannah families, she was sent away to boarding school at an appropriate age and her education was completed at LeFever School in Baltimore. While living in Baltimore, she met Henry Wilson Hodge, an engineer who specialize in building bridges. After their marriage, the couples settled in New York City and kept a second home in Connecticut, but the new Mrs. Hodge returned often to her home of her youth, Savannah.
After her husband’s death in 1918, Mrs. Hodge more and more time in Savannah with her aging parents. As the beneficiary of a considerable trust from her husband, she show concern for the less fortunate living in the city. Her first philanthropic act was the purchase and renovation of a building on West Bay Street. This building became an all day kindergarten for black children of working mothers in memory of her husband, was named the hodge kindergarten. It was a model of daycare, maintaining an atmosphere that nurses kindness and friendliness - two qualities inspired by its founder.
Other manifestations of Sarah Mills hard to termination to promote the welfare of her fellow human beings included establishment of Mills Memorial Home for needy, elderly black men; generous contributions to the re-building of charity hospital; financing of the Frank Callen Boys Club building and programs; contribution to the establishment of the Turner hard young community center of Montgomery Inc. and donations to Georgia State College, now Savannah State University.
In 1957, the Chatham County Board of Education name the new public elementary school at West Victory Drive in Hopkins Street after her. The designation was a gesture of appreciation to this remarkable unique woman who had tried to her upmost capabilities to make her corner of the world a better place for all people. Mrs. Hodge died in Connecticut in 1962.
The Hodge Foundation was incorporated as an enduring legacy of Sara Mills Hodge, a caring woman who gave much to this community. Since it’s inception, the foundation has contributed over 1.1 million to over 50 community organizations. Mrs. Hodge is buried at Bonaventure cemetery beside her mother and father. Shortly after her death black citizens in Savannah raise funds to place a plaque in the Mills Memorial Home. This plaque is now in the Mills Memorial Wing of Chatham County Nursing Home.
The Hodge Foundation continues the philanthropic efforts of Mrs. Hodge to improve life of the people of Chatham County.