Donor Spotlight: Cleo C. Gibson

Investing in AAUW’s Future

A longtime AAUW member and former Nevada County, California, branch president, Cleo C. Gibson created a lasting legacy by investing in AAUW’s future. Sadly, Cleo passed away in 2020, but her gift to AAUW’s strategic priorities ensures that her commitment to bolstering women and girls in education and in the workplace will live on.

“Cleo’s generous estate gift through a bequest is already having a positive impact on AAUW’s mission,” said AAUW CEO Kim Churches. “Her lifelong commitment to women’s education and economic security are deeply valued, and all of us at AAUW are grateful for her generosity.”

Photo of young Cleo Gibson.An AAUW member since 1988, Cleo served as president of the Nevada County, California branch of AAUW in 1996. Her family, friends and colleagues describe her as a dedicated activist who was proud of her AAUW membership and service. She was also a member of The League of Women Voters and a passionate supporter of animal welfare organizations.

Fellow AAUW members recall how Cleo was key in the branch’s grant to a program aimed at encouraging pregnant teens to stay in school. She believed in the importance of sex education and reproductive choice, and supported Citizens for Choice, a local family planning and reproductive health care clinic

Cleo graduated from University of California Berkeley in 1950, with a degree in business administration and economics major. She subsequently enrolled in the Industrial Relations Certificate program and was a member of the California Personnel Management Association. Her career in personnel services began with a job at Emporium-Capwell company, where among other accomplishments, she developed a program to enhance job skills for women. In 1958, she moved to the Pacific Telephone Company.

Cleo was married to Gerald Gibson, a California civil engineer. When they moved to rural Nevada County, California, Gerry designed their home, which became a little piece of paradise for Cleo: She loved the woods and wildlife and took pride in the home they built. After Gerry’s passing in 2017, Cleo remained in the house until her health necessitated a move to assisted living.

In addition to her bequest to AAUW National’s strategic priorities, Cleo also provided for AAUW’s Nevada County branch charitable trust. Those funds will be used for scholarships and other educational programs for girls. We honor Cleo’s passionate commitment to advance equity for women and girls, and thank her for investing in our future.

For more information about leaving a bequest or naming AAUW in your estate plans, please contact

Katrina Sun Breese, Director of Advancement, 202-785-7766 or

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