Make Emily Magid’s day with a laugh, an animal and a cause


Make Emily Magid’s day with a laugh, an animal and a cause

MICHAEL ACKLEY

The first thing a visitor sees when entering the 70-acre Franklin homestead where civic activist Emily Magid has lived for the past 17 years is a sign that notes the land is protected for environmental conservation.

The first thing a visitor sees when entering the 70-acre Franklin homestead where civic activist Emily Magid has lived for the past 17 years is a sign that notes the land is protected for environmental conservation.

Several animals including wild turkeys, deer, and raccoons are permanent fixtures of her property and Magid has ensured these animals will continue to be seen there long after she’s gone – Magid has willed the entirety of her property to Walden’s Puddle, a non-profit Middle Tennessee wildlife rehabilitation and education center.

In her tie-dyed T-shirts, accented by the bright purple lipstick which matches her purple highlighted hair, Magid is a true patron of the Franklin who serves on the boards of more than a dozen non-profits. She continuously donates her time, money, and energy to helping others and Leadership Franklin recently honored her with the Caroline J. Cross Award for her philanthropic work.

Let the record reflect that Emily Magid also is wickedly funny.

“I’m just one cat shy of being a crazy cat lady,” Magid said as a few of her cats suddenly appear in the room where she speaks with a reporter.

“I like to refer to myself as the harmonious bag lady with nice jewelry. When I decided to put the purple in my hair, I thought, ‘What the hell?’ I love color. If I chaired the Heritage Ball, it would be a tie-dye affair.”

Anyone who has enjoyed a performance at the Franklin Theatre in recent years has Magid to thank – when the property was in danger of being sold for use other than as a theatre, Magid anonymously ponied up the cash to save it.

“We had thirty days to buy it at a certain price if we could find a buyer,” she said. “On the day before deadline, I was up all night thinking about it. At 4 a.m. I asked myself if I could do it. I called my stockbroker and mortgage broker and they said that I could do it. At 8 a.m. I called Mary Pearce and told her the news. It was the best thing I have ever done in my life.”

Why was that, Magid was asked.

“It’s what everyone wanted. You don’t often get an opportunity to help what is separate from politics and that has nothing to do with race, religion or creed.”

Magid remembers that in the early days of raising money to save the theatre, people asked how they could give anything at all, if they didn’t give as much as her.

“One of the sweetest things I have ever seen in my life was the little kids who would come up to me with three pennies to donate. It’s not about how much money you give. It’s not about whether it is one dollar or a million dollars, it’s about if what you give comes from your heart.”

Because Magid is so busy with all of the non-profit work she is doing, she arises at 4 a.m. and sticks to a plan for her day.

“I am either going to live to be 100 or I am going to die very soon. I only do what I want to do. It keeps me active. I’m not kind of person who joins a charity organization just to have their name on the board. I get asked and if I believe in the cause, than I want to be an active part. I don’t seek out things to get involved with, I just react.”

Magid has many passions – world travel, literature, friendship – but none rivals her fondness for animals. She has been known to leave out bowls of food for the raccoon population which thrives in her wooded yard.

Despite her affinity for animals, Magid thinks her legacy will be with the Heritage Foundation, where she has given a lot of her time over the past 17 years.

“I would love to see people understand what the Heritage Foundation is, and for them to understand why it’s important to Franklin. I don’t know if people realize what we do and what we try to do. Of course, we would also like their money.”

Magid says her secret to a happy life is “surrounding yourself with the people who you want to be around.

“I need a big belly laugh at least once a day. Small things happen to me or something in nature will happen and I’ll find it so funny. You have to appreciate the humor in everything, big or small.”

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

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