From a press release
The Delaware County Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce Frances M. Sheehan as the recipient of the 2023 ATHENA® Leadership Award. Sheehan will be honored during the prestigious 2023 ATHENA® Leadership Luncheon, scheduled for Wednesday, October 4 at the Springfield Country Club.
“I have long admired the women who have received the Athena Award in Delaware County and am humbled that I’ll be included in this esteemed group of leaders.” said Sheehan. “They have contributed to the growth and vitality of our county in so many ways. I’m honored that others see me alongside them and look forward to a wonderful event.”
A committee comprised of business leaders from the community selected Sheehan based on her high level of professional excellence, eager and action to improve the quality of life for others in the community and willingness to actively assist others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential.
Sheehan is the first president of Delaware County’s largest philanthropy, The Foundation for Delaware County, an independent public foundation formed on July 1, 2016. She came to the foundation six months later, after serving as the founding President and CEO of the Brandywine Health Foundation (currently the Alliance for Health Equity) in Coatesville, Chester County for 15 years.
With 75+ staff operating in four offices in Delaware County, The Foundation for Delaware County provides philanthropic services to donors who wish to invest in Delaware County, makes grants to launch new initiatives and supports non-profits improving Delaware County, and runs high quality, evidence-based public health programs such as Nurse-Family Partnership, Healthy Start and WIC. The Foundation has been fully accredited by the Council on Foundation’s “National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations,” and has achieved Guidestar’s Platinum status.
Prior to her work at the Brandywine Health Foundation, Sheehan ran Planned Parenthood of Chester County, and has served on a variety of boards of directors including the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry and as president of the Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia. She currently serves as President of the Delaware County Estate Planning Council, Vice Chair of the Delaware County Interactive Gaming Revenue Authority, and serves on the board of directors of the Delaware County Economic Development Oversight Board, the Riverfront Alliance of Delaware County, and Children First (formerly PCCY).
With an MBA from Temple University and a BA with honors from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., she also holds Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) certifications and has won several awards over the years including the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award, the Main Line Chamber’s Gold Leaf Award, March of Dimes Woman of Achievement in the Field of Health, and the Chester County Chamber of Commerce’s Robert J. Thompson Citizen of the Year Award. Ms. Sheehan has been a resident of Swarthmore for over 30 years and is the previous President of Congregation Ohev Shalom in Wallingford. She is married to Dr. Ricardo Gelman, a retired emergency physician from Penn Medicine – Chester County Hospital and has two grown children and two new granddaughters.
The ATHENA Leadership Award was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for her strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment – qualities embodied in the ATHENA Leadership Model. The Award is unique in both scope—local, national and international—and the ATHENA mission upon which it is based. The ATHENA Leadership Award is presented to a woman —or man— who is honored for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.
Since the program’s inception in 1982, more than 7,000 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, Unite Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA Leadership Award Program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.