Greg Wims

Black History Month: Montgomery Community Media Spotlights W. Gregory Wims

Greg WimsIn honor of Black History Month, MCM is shining the light on some of Montgomery County’s most notable public figures, advocates, historians, and leaders who have driven change and provided representation for African Americans and minorities in our area. Today, we honor W. Gregory Wims, a former county and state NAACP president, the founder of the Victims’ Rights Foundation, and a lifelong community servant.

Born in Bethesda, W. Gregory Wims has been serving Montgomery County for over five decades, working for almost 39 thousand volunteer hours and serving on the boards of over 40 non-profit organizations. Wims graduated from Gaithersburg High School in 1968, and within a year, his community service career began as he was elected as the Vice President and later President of the State of Maryland Youth Commission. In that role, Wims was instrumental in changing the voting age from 21 to 18.

From there, Wims was appointed by the County Executive as the youngest Commissioner of the Montgomery County Maryland Human Rights Commission in the early 1970’s, which gave him the opportunity to work towards hiring the first African American to the Montgomery County Police Department.

Wims became the first male Head Start teacher in the county in 1974, and after teaching for two years, he joined Newton Steers’ congressional campaign. Once Steers won the seat, Wims acted as his legislative assistant from 1976-78, making him the first African American professional from Montgomery County working on Capitol Hill. He also served as the legislative assistant for congressman Melvin Evans from 1978 to 1980. After that, Wims worked in the legislative affairs office for the Secretary of Agriculture and was also the Special Assistant to the Director of Minority Affairs and Economic Development.

In 1989, he founded the Hammer and Nails consulting firm, which helped local businesses work with the federal government. In the early 1990’s, Wims served as the membership chair for the NAACP, and he recruited over one thousand members in that position. Wims was elected president of the NAACP’s Montgomery County Chapter in 1994 and was elected president of the Maryland State Chapter just one year later after exposing racial discrimination of African Americans at the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Wims then founded the Victims’ Rights Foundation (VRF) in 1996 in response to the murders of three D.C. area women, and since then, the foundation has spread its impact all over the world. As president of the foundation, Wims played a major role in supporting the victims of violent crimes and their families, most notably after the sniper attacks in the D.C. area when he formed the Sniper Victims’ Fund, which raised $500,000 for the victims’ families. Wims’ daughter, Rachel Wims, was named President and CEO of VRF in January 2019.

Still a resident of Bethesda, Wims is serves on several boards, including the Universities of Maryland at Shady Grove, University of Maryland Dental School, Montgomery College Foundation board, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Children’s Charities Foundation, and the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rotary Club Foundation board, for which he is also the area governor. In addition, Wims produces and hosts “Montgomery Matters,” a Montgomery Community media TV show on channel 21.

Wims has also achieved several accolades over his career. He has received several Hall of Fame awards from the Montgomery County Government, has been declared leader of the year by Leadership Montgomery, and was featured in the Hall of Fame of the History makers Initiative, the world’s single largest collection of prominent African Americans.

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Sam Merrill

About Sam Merrill

Intern at Montgomery Community Media, senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland.


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