The Rotary Club of Columbia/Patuxent has selected Mavis Lewis as the recipient of its fifth annual Community Service Above Self Award. The award recognizes a non-Rotarian who gives back to the community in a way that reflects the club’s spirit of having fun through community service.

Lewis, who has demonstrated the ability to work with diverse populations, has made a tremendous impact upon the community. She has given unselfishly of her time, talent and financial resources in myriad ways.

She has provided food and transportation to the sick, given spending money to students attending her alma mater (Hampton University, in southeastern Virginia), helped with writing skills and made provisions, on two occasions, to bring a student from Darfur, currently attending Hampton University, to Howard County to share his story.

Through contact with the above-mentioned student, Lewis was introduced to the Lost Boys Foundation, Outreach Africa. Through this organization, she and her late husband, William, sponsored a young boy in Darfur by providing tuition, meals and uniforms, enabling him to attend school in a safe environment. She has continued this sponsorship since her husband’s passing.


  • Lewis has served for 21 years as campaign chairperson for the Howard County Foundation for Black Educational and Cultural Achievement, where she also has served as program chair and as secretary for a number of years.
  • Served 12 consecutive years as president of the Columbia Alumni Chapter, Hampton University.
  • Under her leadership, the chapter participated in the Adopt-a-Road program, in which members were involved in community clean-up efforts.
  • She volunteers at the Howard County Food Bank. This activity is sponsored by St. John Baptist Church, where she is a member.
  • Appointed by the Howard County Executive, she served as chairperson of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Commission.
  • Led the commission in two successful Martin Luther King, Jr., observances and a day of service by the members at the local food bank.
  • Co-authored a book, Are Your Affairs in Order? As a function of their mission to educate the public, Lewis and her co-author give free workshops for community groups, churches, conferences, family reunions, etc. In 2012, she also edited and published Our Story, which is a collection of inspirational messages from past scholarship recipients from the Howard County Foundation for Black Educational and Cultural Achievement.
  • Established the William H. Lewis Memorial Endowment Fund at The Community Foundation of Howard County and Hampton University. This annual book scholarship award will benefit deserving, full-time students who are residents of Howard County while attending Hampton University.
  • Inducted into the Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame for her involvement in a multitude of county, state and national programs to feed the hungry, helping to ensure a brighter future for Howard County youth by providing funding for higher education, helping older adults plan their last will and testament, and helping to bring justice and economic empowerment to people all over the world.

The Community Service Above Self Award was recognized at the club’s Annual Grant Day Event on Friday, June 17. A donation of $3,500 will be given to the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center in Lewis’s name.