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Simms Family Continued Women’s Build Legacy on Father’s 90th Birthday

Charles Simms and Homebuyers Kendra and Donnovan at the Ann Simms Memorial Women Build site.

Charles Simms started off his 90th birthday on Thursday enjoying an ice cream cupcake with his family, a workout, and a visit to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton’s 2022 Ann Simms Annual Memorial Women’s Build jobsite. What a perfect way for the well-loved, philanthropic local builder to celebrate his past, present, and future on a very special day!

The Charles Simms family, along with their businesses, Simms Development and Simms Management, have helped to fund the building of 18 homes in the Dayton area since his late wife Ann first started Dayton Habitat’s Women’s Build Program in 2000. On Thursday May 26th in Huber Heights, they celebrated the kickoff of their 19th new home build.

It was a day to remember the impact that the family’s late matriarch, Ann who started the two-decade-old partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton.

“We were very inspired by this when she first brought the idea to us,” said the Simms’ daughter, Leslie Simms Nagel. “She had seen it done successfully in Florida and was blown away. As a wife of a builder, she hardly ever saw women on build sites.

“She just felt it was an untapped resource,” she continued. “As a woman who grew up in the 1940s and 50s, with a husband who built houses in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, she just didn’t see many women in this field. Half the planet is women, and there were very few on jobsites. So, she started the Women Build in Dayton.”

The cutting-edge program was her vehicle with which to empower underserved families in a big way by giving them the stability and safety of their own home. The Women Builds also allowed her to enjoy an even greater passion. “Her greatest joy was working with the partner families, especially the children,” added Leslie.

Families like Kendra and Donovan and their three daughters. They will be purchasing this home once they finish up their qualifications, which include a combined 550 hours of “sweat equity” time working on their home, in the ReStore, and in classes. According to Kendra, they had always heard about Habitat but never thought they could apply and qualify … until they did.

“This means everything,” she said. “The kids have been itching for a backyard to play in and the dog needs a place to run. You can’t have those things in an apartment. And I’ve never actually decorated a home. His (Donovan's) family likes to do house projects. This will allow us to have all of those things.

“We had to move around a lot until we got the place we are currently in,” she continued. “But this will give us stability. It’s definitely worth the wait.”

Donovan was laid off his personal trainer job at Peloton. And Kendra just graduated earlier this month with a degree in nursing which allows her to become an RN. They waited for a long time for a lot to come available in an area that they wanted to move into – nearly six years. Now their patience is about to pay off big time. This dream wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of the Simms family.

“Dayton Habitat would not look like it does now without the help of the Simms family,” said Development Director David Mauch. “Eighteen families are homeowners in our area because of the generosity of the Simms family.”

If you’d like to help with this Women’s Build, either through volunteering onsite or with a donation, give us a call at (937) 586-0860. For more information on the program, visit daytonhabitat.org.

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