Deborah A. Wreyford, President & Co-Founder of the W Foundation, Co-Founder and Trustee of the Space Station Museum, Co-Founder of the Novato Space Festival, Trustee & Co-Founder of the Wreyford Family Foundation, and Committee Member & Donor for ARCS, Northern California Chapter, was just recently selected as Top Philanthropist of the Year for 2020 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for her outstanding leadership and commitment to her community and to the industry.
While inclusion with the International Association of Top Professionals is an honor in itself, only a few members in each discipline are chosen for this distinction. These special honorees are distinguished based on their professional accomplishments, academic achievements, leadership abilities, longevity in the field, other affiliations and contributions to their communities. All honorees are invited to attend the IAOTP’s annual award gala at the end of this year for a night to honor their achievements. www.iaotp.com/award-gala
With over 2 decades of professional experience in Non-Profit Work, Philanthropy, Volunteering, and Collecting, Debbie has certainly proven herself as an accomplished professional and expert in many fields. As a dynamic, results-driven leader, Debbie has demonstrated success not only as a Philanthropist, Co-Founder and Trustee of many foundations, but she has been successful with every position she has ever held. Her impressive repertoire of prior roles have included; Trustee for The Magic Theatre in San Francisco, Trustee of the San Francisco Fleet Week Association, Walt Disney Pictures Film & Television Production, United Airlines In-flight Services, Sales & Service Representative for Antek Instruments, and Finnigan Corporation, Marketing. Debbie has also been a donor and volunteer for many non-profit organizations such as Literacy Works, Marin Humane Society, U.S.S. Hornet, Chabot Space & Science Center, Marin Designer Showcase, California Academy of Sciences, Women in Film, American Film Institute and Girl Scouts of America.
The W Foundation (TWF), 501c3 nonprofit organization, was founded in December, 2002 by Debbie and her husband Ken Winans.The pair are both space enthusiasts and collectors that as children Debbie loved books and Ken collected Lincoln pennies and models. Their childhood hobbies have become extensive collections of artifacts, with many of their items on display at leading museums coast to coast. Many of their unique artifacts are on permanent display in the Bay Area at the USS Hornet Museum, Chabot Space & Science Center and the Space Station Museum. TWF has amassed one of the largest private collections of US, Russian and Soviet space exploration artifacts in existence, and not only do they lend their items from these collections to museums and education institutions but TWF has also provided funding for these exhibits. In 2013, TWF helped the Museum of American Finance in NYC with a financial history exhibit. In 2011, TWF organized and produced a “pop-up” Space Exhibit including Astronauts and a gift shop. Also for 2011 Debbie planned and produced a 10K square foot outdoor Space Exhibit for San Francisco Fleet Week including educational & interactive exhibits with 4 astronauts and over 8K in attendance. Debbie has also organized “Napa & Nasa” an evening with Apollo Astronaut Captain Dick Gordon-a Legendary Astronaut & Legendary Wines. This fundraising event celebrated achievements in Space Flight & featured a wine tasting of 1965-1973 Beaulieu Vineyard BV George De Latour Private Reserve Vintages, many of which were bottled during the Apollo Moon Missions. Debbie has also organized numerous school presentations and exhibits with other museums and libraries.
The Space Station Museum, also founded and operated by Debbie and her husband, is a privately funded, all-volunteer staffed space exploration museum. This admission free space history & education museum is operated by the W Foundation. It was founded in 2011 and is an innovation in museum exhibits in that vacant commercial space is filled and the public gains a new education venue in their local neighborhood of Novato, California, through private contributions. Since opening its doors in November of 2011 there have been over 200,000 visitors from across the country-including 20 astronauts. TSS’s overall theme is the excitement of space exploration, and how its discoveries in science and technology have benefited all of mankind, and they emphasize the major role California’s institutions and businesses have played in the US space program.
TSS has hosted an annual festival called “The Novato Space Festival.” This admission free exhibit allows visitors to meet legendary astronauts and view over 30 exhibits from various space science organizations. The festival draws crowds of 7,000-10,000 visitors each year, making it one of the Bay Area’s most popular festivals.
The ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation advances science and technology in the United States by providing financial awards to academically outstanding US citizens studying to complete degrees in science engineering and medical research. Funding Scientists at the Seed Stage of their work. Debbie has Co-Chaired field trips and served on Scholar Awards Luncheon for the Chapter.
The Wreyford Family Foundation is an educational foundation founded in 2007 by the Wreyford family members, including Debbie’s father Donald M. Wreyford, President and Founder of Antek Instruments, Inc. Mr. Wreyford is an inventor who revolutionized the scientific instrumentation industry and built a world-wide corporation. Upon retiring, Mr. Wreyford, Debbie, her mother and siblings founded the family foundation. Some grants that have been approved from the Foundation have included a 100K education grant to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, and 100K Challenge Grant for the USS Hornet Museum, just to name a few.
Debbie earned her Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts in Psychology with minors in Genetics, Political Science & Sociology from Texas A& M University in College Station, Texas. Her areas of expertise include but are not limited to entrepreneurship, fund raising, organizing events & fundraisers, hosting galas, proposal writing, project management, strategic planning, event management, public relations, marketing, and communications.
The President of IAOTP, Stephanie Cirami, stated “Choosing Debbie for this award was an easy decision for our panel to make.She is brilliant at what she does and she has contributed so much of her wisdom and passion to help educate children and to help her community. She is humble, gracious and we felt she would make an amazing asset to our organization. We are looking forward to celebrate her at the gala and know we will be seeing more amazing things from this incredible woman.”
Throughout her illustrious career Debbie has received awards, accolades and has been recognized worldwide for her outstanding leadership and commitment to the profession. For 2020 she is being considered for a feature in TIP (Top Industry Professional) Magazine and for the Empowered Woman of the Year Award. For her selection as Top Philanthropist of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP), she will be honored at their annual awards gala being held at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Debbie is very active in her community and an advocate for paying it forward.
Looking back, Debbie attributes her success to her perseverance, mentors she has had along the way, and staying passionate in all her business endeavors. When not working, she enjoys snowshoeing, swimming, hiking, aviation, reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two cats. For the future, she hopes to continue to make a difference in people’s lives any way she can.
For more information on Debbie please visit: http://www.thewfoundation.org/
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