Gwyneth’s Gift Foundation Honors two “Volunteers of the Year” for 2023

By Kathryn Durham

Gwyneth’s Gift Foundation is proud to announce that Evan Ruchelman and Haroun Kamara have been named as The Foundation’s 2023 Volunteers of the Year. Both Ruchelman and Kamara have consistently given their time, talent and treasure to Gwyneth’s Gift Foundation. The two can be seen working hard at just about every Foundation fundraising event, bringing a smile to the faces of those around them.

For Ruchelman, volunteering with Gwyneth’s Gift is all about the people. He enjoys spending time with both event attendees and fellow volunteers and is empowered from knowing that they are all coming together for a good cause. Ruchelman volunteers for any and all events that he can, no matter the responsibilities. He particularly enjoys working the concession stands at the FredNats stadium nights because it allows him to give back to a broader community.

“I always look forward to the events,” Ruchelman said. “It’s fun being able to spend time with the good people that run and support The Foundation.” 

For Kamara, the desire to volunteer is even more personal. 

“In 2017, I went into anaphylactic shock and wasn’t breathing for about 6-8 minutes, so I know how terrifying it is not to be able to do something as simple as breathing,” he said. “I know the importance of proper CPR so I wanted to help raise awareness of how critical and essential it is for everybody to know CPR.” 

Kamara is always eager to help, and he can be found at events both big and small. He decided to volunteer for Gwyneth’s Gift because he knows how important CPR training is and he wants to do his part to ensure that people are educated. He remains an active community member outside of his work with the The Foundation through his involvement with the Rappahannock Rotary Club, the SPCA and local food banks. 

“I am a strong believer of paying it forward,” said Kamara. “Even when I’m not feeling the happiest, I try to still rustle up some strength to be happy and help others.” 

Here at Gwyneth’s Gift Foundation we are working to create a Culture of Action – we are striving to make a difference in our communities and the lives of those within. Our 2023 Volunteers of the Year Ruchleman and Kamara have shown their incredible dedication to their local community and we are thankful for their efforts in helping us create a Culture of Action across Virginia. 

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Joel Griffin

Chairman & Co-Founder

Joel Griffin is co-founder and chairman of Gwyneth’s Gift Foundation. Gwyneth’s Gift was founded in 2015 by Joel and Jennifer Griffin in honor of their oldest daughter, Gwyneth. He is also an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist with 25 years of private industry consulting experience and 20 years in government contracting. He is the Founder and CEO of Riphean, a regional growth management firm.

Joel is committed to philanthropy within the region through local nonprofits and organizations that strengthen local communities. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance, Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, Stafford Hospital Foundation, and Germanna Educational Foundation. Joel was recognized for his impact and leadership within the region, receiving the Prince B. Woodward Leadership Award in 2022.

In addition to the regional award, Joel received the Valor Award from Loudon County for his life-saving efforts in an emergency. He also received the Patriotic Civilian Service Award given by the U.S. Army for actions taken immediately and following 9/11 at The Pentagon in 2001.