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Founded in 1998, The Board of Directors, comprised of the Simmons family, seeks to honor and follow the examples set by the founders of the foundation.

The Board of Directors meets quarterly. The Foundation accepts applications on an on-going basis.

 Board of Directors

Sandra Simmons - Founding board member (1941-2018)

E. George Simmons Jr. (1936-2018)

Michelle Henry

Christine Hogan

Richard D'Alessandro

About the Founders

Mabel Simmons 1917-2000

Mabel Claprood Simmons, an Ohio native, was a prominent figure in the Ruskin community. Her professional career centered around the floral business, where she achieved remarkable success. At one point, she held the distinction of being the largest flower producer in the state of Florida. Her contributions extended beyond business:

  • Florida Flower Association: Mabel served on the Board of Directors for an impressive  24 years and made history as the first woman president of the association.

  • American Floral Endowment: She chaired this organization and actively participated on its Board of Directors for 12 years

  • Agribusiness Institute of Florida: Mabel was a dedicated member of this institute, contributing to its mission.

  • In recognition of her outstanding achievements, Mabel Claprood Simmons was inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1998

Mrs. Simmons actively participated in several community organizations in Ruskin, including the Ruskin Woman’s Club, the Ruskin Historical Trust, the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce, and the Ruskin Elementary PTA. In 1998, she established the Mabel and Ellsworth Simmons Charitable Foundation, Inc. as a tribute to her late husband, Ellsworth G. Simmons Sr. Her philanthropic efforts extended to various initiatives:

  • Simmons Endowed Professorship in Allergy and Immunology: Mrs. Simmons contributed to this endowed professorship at the University of South Florida.

  • Ellsworth G. Simmons Scholarship Fund: She established a scholarship fund at East Bay High School in memory of her husband.

  • Mabel and Ellsworth Simmons House: This home, located at Joshua House, provides a safe haven for children.

Ellsworth G. Simmons Sr. 1915-1996

Ellsworth Simmons, a highly respected government and civic leader, made significant contributions to Hillsborough County. His notable achievements include:

  • Hillsborough County School Board: Ellsworth served on the board for seven years.

  • County Commissioner: He held this position for an impressive 21 years, with 18 years as the Chairman of the Board.

  • Urban Transformation: Under his leadership and guidance, Hillsborough County transformed into a major urban center.

  • Institution Creation: Ellsworth played a pivotal role in establishing institutions such as the University of South Florida.

  • Community Development: He was instrumental in the creation of vibrant communities like Sun City Center.

  • Infrastructure Impact: His influence extended to critical infrastructure projects, including the construction of Tampa International Airport, the founding of the University Community Hospital, and the expansion of the Hillsborough County Health Department.

Mr. Simmons spent his entire life within a 12-mile radius of his birthplace. His unwavering dedication extended to his family, community, and public service. One of his core goals was to give back to the community and reciprocate the generosity he had received throughout his life.

The South Shore community has ample reminders of its distinguished citizens:

  • E.G. Simmons Field, East Bay High School, Riverview

  • Simmons Loop Road, Riverview

  • Simmons Lake, Sun City Center

  • E.G. Simmons County Park, Ruskin

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