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Conversation on Philanthropy
Dolores Amidon D'Angelo '69, '72GS

Dolores D'AngeloDr. Dolores Amidon D’Angelo ’69, ’72GS, an honorary Simmons trustee, has devoted her career to education as a teacher and administrator. She has been actively engaged with the College as a volunteer leader and philanthropist. Her gifts include two scholarships for students in the Honors Program: the Dolores and Lawrence D’Angelo Endowed Scholarship for education majors, and the Dolores Amidon D’Angelo Honors Scholarship Fund for study abroad.

What inspires you to give? What causes mean the most to you?

My husband Lawrence D'Angelo and I both know the benefits of education and advanced study, and most of our philanthropy is focused on education and scholarships. Several of the scholarships we sponsor are in both our names.

Some people establish scholarships because they personally benefited from them years ago – which was true for my dad. Thanks to our families, my husband and I were very lucky that we did not need scholarships and didn't graduate with student-loan debts. But we realize that, given the economy and the high cost of tuition, it's much more challenging these days for students to afford a college education. We feel it is our honor to help make education a little bit easier for young people, particularly young women.

What's the most important quality you look for in an organization seeking your support?

We look for organizations that can focus philanthropic support primarily on benefiting students rather than underwriting administrative costs. There's been concern generally that many organizations spend too high a percentage of their funds on administration. At the schools we support – including Simmons – we're confident the money is benefiting students.

What do you most enjoy about being philanthropic?

In terms of the scholarships we create, its very rewarding to experience the personal feedback we receive, and to feel a sense of connection to the students. We enjoy the handwritten thank-you notes students send us, including students at Simmons who use our travel scholarship. I've enjoyed meeting students who use both of our Simmons scholarships.

At Elon University, we provide a scholarship for an outstanding senior, and the students keep in touch, telling us about their careers and progress. It's very gratifying. One young man said he would have had to take a semester off and not graduate on time, but our scholarship made it possible for him to stay in school. He went on to do very well in television news.

What do you consider to be your most significant philanthropic achievements?

To see students complete their degrees and become successful in their fields, and to know that we helped them get that much closer to their degrees- and career goals.

Which living philanthropists do you most admire?

I would have to say Bill and Melinda Gates. What they've done with their money at all levels of education – from early education to older students – is very inspiring.

What should everyone who aspires to be philanthropic know?

When you are supporting young people or education, there isn't always an immediate outcome. You are investing in the future. In that sense, it's not like supporting groups that build houses or provide other services with immediate, tangible results. But helping students who would otherwise struggle financially is very rewarding. It feels good.


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