Dr. Phyllis Hildreth, left, recipient of YMCA of Middle Tennessee’s Order of the Red Triangle Award, with former YMCA board chair, Liz Wilson at the Y’s Annual Meeting held April 27.

NASHVILLE, TN — The YMCA of Middle Tennessee recently presented its highest volunteer honor—the Order of the Red Triangle—to Dr. Phyllis Hildreth, a long-time board member, volunteer, and community leader, during its Annual Meeting held April 27.

Hildreth, former Director for Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management, currently serves as the Vice President of Strategy and Chief of Staff at American Baptist College. 

The Y acknowledged Hildreth with this honor for her instrumental work with the YMCA’s HBCU Alliance, which developed following a series of community dialog sessions co-led by Hildreth, aimed at identifying ways in which the Y could convene other organizations and resources to best meet the needs of the community and chart a more sustainable future.

A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in biology, Hildreth went on to obtain her law degree from the University of Maryland in Baltimore, where she and her husband, Dr. James Hildreth, current president of Meharry Medical College, spent the early years of their career—and where she served as both deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice and as the very first managing director of the Baltimore Juvenile Justice Center. 

Hildreth has not only led dialogues for the YMCA, but on the heels of a series of incidents involving Nashville police and young people of color, Hildreth was also called on to lead the “Real Dialogues,” a series of conversations addressing policing, criminal justice and race relations. More than 1,000 community members were given voice through that process, and gave rise to the city’s first Community Oversight Board. She’s also served two terms on the Human Rights Commission and as a member of the Nashville Centennial Conservancy.