National Philanthropy Day Honoree | Barbara Brothers

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Mahoning-Shenango Chapter will recognize Barbara Brothers as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser during its annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon Nov. 4.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Barbara Brothers, named Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser, was among the nominees that the National Philanthropy Day event co-chairs were surprised hadn’t been recognized before.

People often talk about how Brothers helped them on one project or another – or when she volunteered them for something else, Adams says.

“Barbara is exactly the kind of person we want to honor,” he says. “She forces herself to get into good situations and help others and she will tell you how you can be better to others.”

“Everyone knows her, because she’s just in everything,” Sakacs says.

When Brothers graduated from Austintown Fitch High School, career options for women were limited. She could become a teacher or a nurse, and she couldn’t stand the sight of blood.

“It was a very easy choice,” she says.   

Brothers taught in local schools for about a year and a half before having her first child. She then was invited to teach at what is now Youngstown State University, which meant that she could teach two days per week.

“I love teaching,” she says. “Teaching is a learning experience. You learn from your students.”

After completing her doctorate in 1974, Brothers was elected chairwoman of the English department. She later served as acting graduate dean before being appointed dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, serving from 1991 until she retired from YSU in 2001.

That retirement provided Brothers the opportunity to devote time to volunteering and to work with causes important to her.

“Serving your community is important,” she says.

Brothers is being recognized by the AFP chapter for her involvement with several local organizations and their fundraising efforts. Among them are the League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown, Rotary Club of Youngstown, YWCA Mahoning Valley and Smarts Community Art School. 

Suzanne Barbati, who nominated Brothers, says she first became acquainted with the honoree when she was one of her students at YSU, then worked with her on the League of Women Voters information guide.   

“She gives so much of her time and her talents and her treasure,” Barbati says. “She puts her money where her mouth is.”

Brothers says she believes in the league’s mission, “that you need to know and understand the issues so that you can act as good citizens.”

She has endowed a scholarship at YSU for Black Youngstown City Schools graduates, donated funds for two music rooms at Smarts that were named for her late husband, Lawrence Haims, and led fundraising and volunteer efforts supporting YWCA.  

In addition, Brothers, who joined Rotary in 2015, is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, a recognition given to members who have donated at least $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation. Other local organizations she has donated to include the Butler Institute of American Art and Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens.

She also has served on the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and YWCA boards.

It’s important for everyone to give back to the community, Brothers says, whether monetarily or by volunteering their time.

“It’s what makes us strong,” she says. 

Pictured at top: Barbara Brothers raises funds for local organizations.