River Region United Way’s New President: Ron Simmons’ Vision
The River Region United Way welcomed a new president and CEO in July. Alabama News Network’s Samantha Williams sat down with Ron Simmons Thursday to get an idea of his vision for the organization moving forward.
Ron Simmons is replacing Jimmy Hill who served the River Region United Way for 10 years. He was the president and CEO for 6 years.
Simmons said the new role simply made sense, and he has hit the ground running since he started on July 16th, “Honestly, I would say it was a God thing.”
A native of Montgomery, Ron Simmons has worn many hats in his lifetime… From being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves to his latest endeavor, working at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce for ten years.
He said he’s always had a passion for this community because he has first-hand seen the need, “When you think about the word ‘united,’ that’s working together. That is something that has always been a part of who I am.”
Serving Elmore, Autauga, Macon, Lowndes and Montgomery counties, Simmons told us the River Region United Way is directly impacting at least 130,000 people. Simmons has four priorities: education, healthcare, financial stability and food security.
A recent project is making a big difference in a food desert in Lowndes county: “They were able to purchase a school bus and outfit that bus with a refrigeration system,” Simmons explained. “We partnered them with another agency that provided the food, then they take the food to a particular community.”
Simmons said one aspect he wants to start concentrating on is showing the community stories about how your investment is impacting people’s lives.
He said before taking the job, he talked with a professional in the community: “On the spot a tear ran down his face. He said there is one organization you can’t say anything negatively about to me and that is United Way. I remember where my family came from, and United Way helped us. I am where I am today because of United Way.”