For over three decades, W. Gregory Wims has personified purposeful power and influence in our region and beyond.
By Adoria Doucette
Physics is widely considered the most elemental natural science and is defined as “a general analysis of nature, which is conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.” Within the realm of physics, the word “Power” is defined as “the rate at which work is performed or energy converted.” In our region the word power is thrown around a lot more than it should be, and often mistakenly so. Notoriety, position, fame and popularity are one thing – but real power – exuberant and effective results achieved at a consistent and remarkable level, is another phenomenon that few “powerful” people ever truly accomplish. Power Source is honored to highlight one of the region’s most successful businessmen and philanthropists, a genuinely powerful force within our region, W. Gregory Wims, a resident of Bethesda who has personally touched tens of thousands of lives and raised millions of dollars through his tireless and effective efforts. Action and results have defined his life, our region and the world are much better in many ways because of his work.
Mr. Wims is the quintessential champion of worthy causes, creating financial and networking opportunities for issues that he supports, and personally volunteering countless hours for the most simple tasks that other executives of his caliber seldom commit to. He began his volunteer career in 1969, when he was elected vice president of the State of Maryland Youth Commission. The next year, as president of that organization, he played a pivotal role in lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. In the 1970’s, he served as the youngest person ever appointed by the County Executive as Commissioner of the Montgomery County Maryland Human Relations Commission. In this role, he worked with community officials to hire the first African American to its police department.
From 1974 to 1976, he was the first male Head Start teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland. In the 1980s, he led the Social Concern Committee at Goshen United Methodist Church and set up a prison ministry program. He also founded United Brothers, Inc., organized the first “gun turn-in” program in Montgomery County, and chaired the “Get Out to Vote” campaign.
In the early 1990s, Gregory Wims served as the membership chairman for the NAACP, recruiting more than 1,000 new members. In 1994, he was elected president of the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP, and one-year later; he was voted President of the NAACP’s Maryland State Chapter. As a result of his success, Mr. Wims was appointed by President George Bush as deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration, and Board Member of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where he personally initiated and chaired an initiative that raised $10 million for the Kennedy Center.
Power Source has profiled many champions of industry, causes and initiatives; Mr. Wims unique use of his power makes him an exceptional example of prominence and the promising future of our region. The list of Mr. Wims appointments on the local, state and national level is exhaustive, as a member of the board of directors at the University Of Maryland Dental School to the Children’s Charities of Washington DC, with dozens of positions in between. His myriad of causes reflects his core value system – giving to those in need.
In response to the senseless killings of three Washington, D.C., area women in 1996 Mr. Wims founded and became the volunteer president of the Victims Rights Foundation, which raises funds to assist victims of crimes, their families, and their communities. Working with local law enforcement, VRF also provides reward money for the apprehension of criminals. Through his work with VRF, Mr. Wims has helped comfort victims’ families following a number of tragic crimes, including the 2000 shooting at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and the brutal murder of 8-year-old Kevin Shiflett in Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Wims was also instrumental in forming and supporting the Sniper Victims’ Fund in response to the 2002 sniper attacks in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Working closely with the families of the victims of the sniper attacks, he spearheaded fundraising that garnered $500,000 to distribute among the families, and acted as a victim advocate in the 2-month murder trial of Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad that followed. The Victims Rights Fund has since expanded to include activities and financial support for victims on nearly every continent of the globe. Mr. Wims chose this area of Victims rights for his efforts because of the needed aspect of protecting human dignity that is so paramount in the United States role within global affairs.
Mr. Wims has received Hall of Fame awards from the Montgomery County Government, been declared leader of the year by Leadership Montgomery, and profiled in the Hall of Fame of the prestigious History Makers initiative, which is the largest single archival collection of prominent African American individuals in the world. Most importantly, Mr. Wims has quietly supported and mentored many young people whose positive contribution to society have yet to be seen, but is inevitable.
Based on the scientific definition of real Power, since 1969 Mr. Wims has performed meaningful work at an alarming rate and is converting positive energy into unmatched and highly appreciated results. Power Source salutes and thanks Mr. Wims for his spirit, presence and purposeful movement. Power Source would like to encourage everyone to financially support the Victims Rights Foundation, a tangible example on how our individual efforts can make a difference and demonstrate to citizens across the world that peace, unity and justice are supreme and will ultimately annihilate fear, violence, and injustice. http://www.victimsrightsfoundation.org
Thank you Mr. Wims, for your humble, genuine commitment to our fellow citizens. You are truly appreciated and in your own right you are a prime example of what a true hero is.