Down the Middle Foundation was formed out of the passion Darnell Lee, Jr. has for his community and for children in general. In 2009, he launched out to serve his community and bridge the gap in hunger through the Lending a Hand Community Initiative.
While working in recreation management in Leesburg, VA, he continued to develop his passion to teach and mentor youth. When returning to the Franklin/Southampton area and becoming the Franklin High School Baseball coach, he began to see the lack in baseball and softball skills within the city. Since 2009, Mr. Lee and his staff of volunteers and Board of Directors, have reached over 100 baseball players through camps and clinics.
Darnell Lee, Jr. (Bud)
Darnell Lee, Jr. is the Founder and Executive Director of Down the Middle Foundation. Born in 1989 and raised in Franklin, VA, Darnell, affectionately known as Bud, is a graduate of Shaw University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Recreation. He is also First Aid/CPR/AED certified and has over 10 years’ experience in recreational management.
Bud is inspired when he sees the excitement in the faces of the youth he reaches and teaches. His father has been the biggest influence on him and a mentor who “exemplifies the true definition of a man.” His father, Darnell Lee, Sr. has instilled strength, hard-work and supportive character in Bud throughout his life. Church has always been at the foundation of Bud’s development. He has been a member of First Baptist Church of Franklin his entire life and believes that it is a duty of the Christian to help others.
Bud is someone who puts his all into his work and the community he loves. He started Lending a Hand Community Initiative as a way to give back in 2009 and from there was set on a path to continue pouring in the city of Franklin. Throughout his life, Bud has been lead and encouraged by many. Rev. D.S. Riddick, Jim Beale, Michael Yeary, Wes Griffith, Greg Scott, Xavier Scott and his entire church family have been instrumental in building Bud’s character.