From Caring Matters, July 2014
It could be said that Gwendolyn Simmons carries yellow and green pom-poms wherever she goes. After a single conversation with this Giving Circle member it is easy to see that she is one of the Women of Philanthropy's greatest cheerleaders.
The ladies in attendance at the Giving Circle's spring informational meeting would likely agree. Gwen's heartfelt message about the good that has been done, and could be done, to help Washington County charities, particularly those that serve disadvantaged women and children, resonated. Several individuals had their WOPGC applications completed before she returned to her seat!
Gwen's incredible passion for service, ability to make others excited to join the cause, and charming personality have made her an asset to many local charities.
"Over the years, I have greatly enjoyed working with many charitable and philanthropic groups across the county, such as Easter Seals, the YWCA in Washington, and SPHS. They were very broad and enriching experiences for me," she stated.
With a heartfelt desire to help others, Gwen is also a WCCF Trustee who is so proud that the Foundation "serves to enrich the lives of all people of the community."
Additionally, she has been active with diverse charitable groups in her home community of the Mon Valley, including the Mon Valley United Way (where she served as President), the Mon Valley YMCA, the Monongahela Area Revitalization Initiative, Southwestern PA Human Services, and the Board of Trustees of California University of PA. She was also the President of the Washington County Historical Society and is a member of the NAACP.
Inspired by the good works of her parents, Gwen's commitment to service began at an early age. Her father, a minister, emphasized that she had a responsibility to help enhance the quality of life for others. While her mother dedicated her time and talents to groups such as the League of Women Voters, the PTA (serving as President), and the Girl Scouts. Gwen was very active in her church and she also fondly recalls activities of groups such as her high school's Girl Reserve Club, which led projects to help those less fortunate.
Now retired from her days as an economics and sociology college professor, she particularly enjoys reviewing the WOPGC grant applications to learn more about community programs, such as those that teach local youth the values of hard work and persistence.
Recognizing each member brings a unique and valuable contribution to the Giving Circle, Gwen hopes many others will want to join in the collective collaboration.
"When you broaden the base of support, you can be much more effective. There are many more women in the community who are genuinely interested in improving the region's quality of life and working with other women who have similar interests. They would be perfect additions to our Giving Circle."