A Family Tradition

Janet and Peter Simon, of New Vernon, donate time and energy to the Morristown Memorial Health Foundation; Women’s Health Philanthropy Council; William E. Simon Foundation; Hidden Pond Foundation.

Photo by John Emerson.

With four children to raise and two businesses to operate, Janet and Peter Simon have a lot on their plates. Still, the Simons donate their time and services to a number of philanthropic pursuits, including Morristown Memorial and Overlook hospitals. “If you’re not juggling,” says Peter, “you’re not doing enough.”

As chairman of the Morristown Memorial Health Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Peter, 57, oversees fundraising for hospital projects. Under his leadership, the Health Foundation collected $12.5 million in 2009. Janet, 56, is co-chair of the Women’s Health Philanthropy Council, formed last year to boost awareness and funding for women’s health initiatives. With Janet spearheading the campaign, the council surpassed its first-year expectations, raising more than $1.5 million.

Supporting Morristown Memorial has long been a family affair for the Simons. The William E. Simon Foundation, one of the hospital’s major supporters, was founded in 1988 by Peter’s late father; the Timothy Charles Simon Wing at the hospital is named after Peter’s brother, who died as an infant; and the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center is named after Peter’s late mother. Through their family foundation, the Hidden Pond Foundation, Peter and Janet also make grants to Morristown Memorial and other entities.

Yet Peter and Janet pride themselves on donating not just money, but time. They were vice chairs for the Campaign for Children in 1998 and were involved with the two major Carol G. Simon Cancer Center campaigns. Peter started and chaired the Oncology Philanthropy Leadership Council in 2005. In 2008, Janet donated the services of her interior design firm to outfit a mind/body center, named after her late sister, Lynda M. Franklin.

“We don’t give to anything that we aren’t a part of,” says Janet. “There’s a responsibility that goes along with giving money. That’s true philanthropy.”

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