Shermans Named Outstanding Volunteer Philanthropists

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The support Bruce and Carol Sherman have given WYSU stretches all the way back to the first days the FM station went on the air in 1969. While the focus of their support has changed and shifted, it’s always been there.

For Carol Sherman, it began with a music appreciation class she took at the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University, which in 1969 was in the former mansion on Wick Avenue today known as Alumni House.

“There was this little barn in the back where you’d put the headphones on and as a young adult it was my first experience with classical music of any sort,” she says. “From that very first moment when I became aware of classical music, WYSU was coming into being.”

Today, the Shermans – recipients of the Outstanding Volunteer Philanthropists award from the Mahoning-Shenango Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – are members of the radio station and help out in its the twice-yearly fundraising drives to keep the station running. And, as she notes, it’s the only station played on the radio at the office of Sherman Creative Productions, 5500 Market St. in Boardman.

“It adds many things on many different levels. It adds the morning news, evening news, a variety of viewpoints, and certainly the classical music during the day along with jazz and folk at night,” Bruce Sherman adds. “There’s something for everybody at the station.”

That connection with the university – both graduated from YSU in the 1970s – doesn’t end at WYSU. Both belong to the Penguin Club, Pete’s Pride and are lifetime members of the YSU Alumni Society, where Bruce Sherman served on the board from 1998 to 2013.

He also served as a trustee for the Frances and Lillian Schermer Charitable Trust and the J. Ford Crandall Memorial Foundation, raising money for the Williamson College of Business Administration building campaign and the renovation of Melnick Hall, as well as supporting the Judaic and Holocaust Studies program at his alma mater.

“It’s a way to provide support to the university that was just so important to us,” he says of the work they’ve done.

Their work extends well beyond the university. As a teenager, Carol Sherman joined B’nai B’rith, a Jewish service organization that supports educational and cultural endeavors, which she credits for establishing her love of philanthropy. In high school, she was involved in community service projects and public speaking.

“It helped mold me as a young teenager to grow up and make sure that those things are available to young people in the community,” she explains. “I want them to learn skills like leadership and learn about their traditions through B’nai B’rith.”

In 2000, she joined the Youngstown Rotary and has introduced the Rockin’ Race, a fund-raiser that benefits the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center, and two new playgrounds at Harding Elementary School, which she attended.

“Having grown up in the city, I knew I wanted to give back and support the elementary schools in the system,” she says. “Children are never too young to learn about philanthropy. We just don’t give them enough credit or opportunities to participate in philanthropy to learn that they can help someone.”

Meanwhile, Bruce Sherman has worked with Junior Achievement, the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, B’nai B’rith, Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology, and Northeast Ohio Medical University.

All of those efforts are about giving the community something to take pride in, something the two feel can only enhance the quality of life in the Mahoning Valley.

“We want to have those sources of pride, so families don’t have to go to Cleveland or Pittsburgh or Columbus to have fantastic things,” he says. “We were brought up to support the Valley and give back, whether it’s through the university or nonprofits. We want to make people proud of where they live.”

And, his wife adds, they don’t intend to stop.

“We try to do things to make that community the best it can be. We live here. We grew up here. And we want it to be the best it can be,” she says. “As long as we have our health and the ability to help create funds and solicit funds, we will do whatever we can to make this area the best it can be.”

Pictured: Carol and Bruce Sherman.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.