We had the good fortune of connecting with Ron Fitzsimmons and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ron, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I know from personal experience that when you live in poverty you suffer privately and publicly. When you have no heat, electricity or food, those are hardships that you can hide to some extent from the rest of the world. But when you wear the same shirt to school five days in a row, when you watch your friends go on a field trip that you could not afford, when you watch others sign the yearbooks that you don’t have, those are public embarrassments that affect your self esteem. Alice’s Kids pay for those seemingly “minor” items that can provide that child a much-needed lift. We believe a little help can go a long way.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My first love has always been public service. I was inspired by Bobby Kennedy and his compassion for the less fortunate. Over the years, I worked for three Members of Congress and as a lobbyist. At the same time, I was fortunate to have been appointed to numerous Boards and Commissions in the City of Alexandria, Virginia. For example, I was the Chairman of the Landlord-Tenant Board and I fought often to prevent evictions of the less fortunate. Several years ago I was named the “Mount Vernon District Champion” by Supervisor Dan Storck for all of my work in the community. But Alice’s Kids is the best work I have ever done.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Whenever a friend visits for the first time, I love to take them on a car tour of Washington, DC. We hit the usual tourist spots but then I like to take them to places most people don’t see. For example, one popular spot is the home of certain celebrities, like Hillary Clinton or Jeff Bezos. I like to show them obscure statutes, like the Albert Einstein statue on Pennsylvania Avenue that is hidden from the general public. Lincoln’s summer home in northern DC is a great spot with a great view of the city. After that, we’ll stop in Old Town Alexandria and walk the cobblestone streets that Washington, et al walked.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When we were receiving welfare in the 1960’s, my sister and I suffered public embarrassment. Indeed, in one year I missed 67 days of school to avoid being made fun of because of my worn clothes. Every once in a while, however, my mother – Alice Fitzsimmons – would pick up a few dollars and she’d come running home to announce that we were going shopping for those new Converse sneakers of the latest Beatles record! We were suddenly lifted and we could not wait to go to school the next day. We try to recreate that feeling of euphoria every day for kids all across the country. We are Alice’s Kids and we are continuing her work. .