“Greatest Place In The World,” Greg Hill Brings Foundation To The Island He Loves

David Creed •

Greg Hill (right) speaking during his foundation's inaugural Surfside fundraiser with close friend and Team Impact board member Jay Calnan. Photo by Bill Hoenk, courtesy of The Greg Hill Foundation

Greg Hill lives a very busy but successful life. From hosting his popular morning radio show “The Greg Hill Show” on WEEI 93.7 FM from 6-10 a.m. Monday – Friday, to his work as a partner with Right Coast Hospitality Group LLC, which owns and operates several restaurants such as Howl At The Moon, to operating his foundation “The Greg Hill Foundation,” Hill doesn’t have much leisure time on his hands.

But on the off-chance Hill has some free time, he will never hesitate to make the 30-mile trip from Cape Cod out to Nantucket.

“To me, Nantucket is the greatest place in the world,” Hill said.

Hill, 57, is a long-time seasonal island resident and has been visiting Nantucket since his 20s. He said he considers the island to be his “Happy place like a thousand other people” and feels very fortunate to have the island as his getaway spot.

Hill also knows life can present hardship and struggle, oftentimes out of nowhere, and that not everyone is able to unwind on an island like Nantucket while attempting to handle the burdens of life.

While speaking with Hill, one thing that instantly jumps out is the gratitude he has for the life he is living and the opportunities he has to help people who need it. It led him to start his foundation in 2010 when he began to notice while operating his radio show – which began in 1989 at WAAF before moving to WEEI five years ago – that whenever something bad would happen, there wasn’t a source in place that could provide whoever was suddenly thrust into a very difficult situation with immediate relief.

"There was no crowd funding-like mechanism in place so I would walk in, do my show, something bad would have happened, and I would want to try to direct people to give at that moment when their mind was on it and it would take three weeks, four weeks for somebody to set up something at a local credit union and by that time, everybody had moved on to something else,” Hill said. "I wanted to find a way that we could give immediately to help people who needed it. It was a way that we could take the audience that cares and wants to give and harness them immediately when it comes to giving."

Hill’s foundation has donated over $30 million to over 10,000 different beneficiaries, and it only continues to grow. As he continues to search for new ways to further its development and help more people, Hill’s journey has taken him back to the island he adores.

This past weekend, his foundation held a fundraiser at Jamie Feeley’s South Shore Road property with a special performance by Barenaked Ladies, the popular Canadian rock band that has sold over 15 million albums.

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Barenaked Ladies performing at the fundraiser. Photo by Bill Hoenk, courtesy of The Greg Hill Foundation.

He is hoping this event is the first of many to be held on the island to benefit his foundation. A fundraiser event was held five years ago during Memorial Day Weekend, but the mission to create and develop an annual island event lost steam amidst the COVID pandemic, Hill said. He hopes Saturday’s event reignites that flame.

"It just makes sense because all of our people that support the foundation in Boston are here on Nantucket this weekend and other weekends, so it makes perfect sense and I hope we do it forever,” Hill said of his first annual Surfside Music & Wine fundraiser.

Team Impact was also a beneficiary of the event alongside The Greg Hill Foundation. Hill’s close friend – Jay Calnan – is a board member for Team Impact, a national organization founded 13 years ago in Boston that helps find families with children between the ages of 5 and 15 years old who are battling a chronic or life-threatening disease or life-long disabilities.

Once these children are reached, Team Impact networks with colleges or universities nearby to each child. Those colleges will then commit to that individual being a part of an athletic team for two to four years. Over 4,000 kids have been drafted to teams across the country in all 50 states and 750 college campuses.

“Having an opportunity to do an event on Nantucket or anywhere, and creating more awareness of Team Impact, leads to more kids (being reached) which leads to more matches with college athletic teams who are waiting for these kids,” said Calnan, who is also a seasonal island resident. “We are really excited to be here.”

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Jay Calnan and Greg Hill. Photo by David Creed

Hill also took time to speak with the Current about some of his favorite spots on the island, as well as his career in sports talk radio.

Hill said his first trip to Nantucket occurred around three decades ago when Jay Harman, CEO of Cisco Brewers, was running a small beer bar at the time. He told Hill to visit and check the island out.

“He was doing a bartender event or something and then I came over here, fell in love with this place, and have been coming ever since,” Hill said.

Hill spoke about some of his favorite spots on the island including Cisco Brewers, Jetties Beach, and Island Kitchen.

“I think you have to be at the brewery towards the end of a Saturday when they’re closing,” Hill said. “If I lived here every day, I would go to Island Kitchen every day for breakfast. But I think from a perspective of not being here every day like you guys are, I think you just get here and your perspective changes on how you feel about life in general. I just don’t think there is any place like (Nantucket) on Earth.”

Hill said down the road, he could see himself moving to the island year-round and operating a radio show on 97.7 ACK-FM.

“I follow (the Current),” Hill said. “100 percent. I love what you guys do, and I think this island is in a really interesting place. So I have a friend here – Jeff Shapiro (owner of 97.7 ACK-FM) – and he is always like you should come here, move here, and do a radio show here. So someday when I get old or older, that would be my thing. I would come here and do a radio show and probably do it for free. I wouldn’t get paid or anything.”

Hill also spoke about his show and the challenges of balancing sports talk with hot-topic news items. He said the decades of experience help them gauge the appropriate length of time they spend on each topic but believes the genuine chemistry between everyone on his show has helped it thrive.

“I think the shows are very similar,” Hill said. “We talk about whatever is on everybody’s mind that morning whether it is sports or the Karen Read trial. It hasn’t been that much different doing my show on WEEI compared to WAAF. I think the worst thing in radio or a podcast is when you can tell people are faking chemistry. We all get along. If we are bickering or fighting, that’s real. If we are hugging it out, that’s real. You can tell when it is fake chemistry, but we have real chemistry.”

You can learn more about The Greg Hill Foundation and/or donate here. You can learn more about Team Impact and/or donate here.

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