Nonprofit fundraiser

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United Way Success Benefits Everyone


Congratulations to the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, its staff, volunteer leadership and army of community volunteers and companies who together campaigned vehemently to raise critical dollars for our region’s very important social services!

United Way of Greater Cincinnati Exceeded Its 2015 Fundraising Goal

photo courtesy of United Way of Greater Cincinnati

It was announced last week that the 2015 United Way Campaign surpassed its $62 million goal – raising $62,000,053! And it is the very first time that the campaign has grown by $1 million since 2007.

This year’s fundraising efforts, which kicked off Aug. 26, also included 18 new donors of $25,000 or more and 115 donors of $10,000 or more.

That is huge!

It is an incredible feat raising that kind of money in a few short months. What those numbers speak about the generosity of our community and the heart of thousands who contributed through time, talent and resources is truly touching.

We live in a region where people connect and care. Neighbors, co-workers, families and friends share in the responsibility of the health and vitality of our community greater than themselves. They understand that unity builds strength and together we are all better.

The United Way of Greater Cincinnati supports a whopping 280 community programs in our region. That $62+ million raised supports efforts helping troubled, abused and/or underserved youth to grow in positive ways; valuable therapy and emotional support for individuals and families impacted by diseases and other health conditions, financial crises, or other traumas; education and other efforts to help parents be better parents; work to empower and include people affected by disability; quality of life efforts for our community’s older adults.

“Reaching this goal in our centennial year is a major accomplishment and a testament to the incredible generosity of this community – one which recognizes the importance of ensuring children get off to a strong start and achieve success in school, families have the financial stability that can come with gainful employment, and individuals lead healthy lives,” United Way of Greater Cincinnati President Robert Reifsnyder told the Enquirer.

A major accomplishment, absolutely! To everyone who contributed to making that success happen, thank you!

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Nonprofit Spotlight: Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati


celebrities who have autism

They all have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD and autism are general terms referring to complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by varying degrees of repetitive behaviors; and social interaction, nonverbal and verbal communication difficulties.


Darryl Hannah was diagnosed with autism as a child and felt isolated from others her age. Her experiences of isolation helped drive her love of old movies and interest in acting. Hannah’s acting career has spanned more than three decades. She has starred in dozens of films, including “Wall Street,” “Grumpy Old Men,” and the “Kill Bill” movies. Hannah is also an environmental activist. In an interview with People magazine, a friend remarked that when she “feels passionate about something, she loses all her fears.”

Known for surprising the judges and viewers with her incredible vocal skills on “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2009, Susan Boyle has released five albums, been nominated for two Grammy Awards, and won the Radio Forth Award in 2013. As a child, Susan was diagnosed with brain damage, but she sought a better diagnosis as an adult. In 2012, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. She has said the diagnosis was a relief because she has a “clearer understanding of what’s wrong.”

“Blues Brothers” and “Ghost Busters” star Dan Aykyroyd was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in the early 1980s after his wife convinced him to see a doctor. He’s said that he has an obsession with ghosts and law enforcement, which led to the creation of “Ghost Busters.” Dan’s career as an actor, writer, and producer has spanned 40 years.

Kids often love to see people “just like” them. While the path of every child with ASD will be different, seeing well-known successful people with ASD can help inspire children as well as give them someone to look up to.

Locally, an estimated 20,000 people are affected by autism (according to the Autism Society) and there are many wonderful resources for families including nonprofit, the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati.

About the Autism Society

The Autism Society is the first organization in our region dedicated to improving the quality of life for those with autism and their families. Founded in 1970 by local parents and professionals, one of the ways it supports families today is by maintaining a communications support system called Autism Connection, available to everyone seven days a week by phone or online. Live, certified specialists are trained and ready to help by providing current and relevant information. Within the quote by Temple GrandinAutism Connection are these programs:

Connect To Live Help is the first step for families to find helpful services is to talk with a trained certified specialist and Autism Society staff are available from 9 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week.

Neighbor 2 Neighbor that links a parent in your area to you as a special personal contact.

Autism Conversations are groups in neighborhoods led by professionals and parents offering parents opportunities to learn more about ASD and treatment approaches.

Adults With ASD Group Meetings are held on the second and fourth Sunday evenings at The Children’s Home (5050 Madison Rd), with a goal being to provide a place for adults identified with Asperger syndrome/high functioning autism and support each other.

Monthly Family Support Meetings are held on the second Tuesdays from 7:00 – 8:30 P.M. at Kenwood Baptist Church at 8341 Kenwood Road.

For more on any of these programs, you can reach the Autism Society at: 513-561-2300 or

The Event To Connect

This Friday, October 23, is a big fundraiser for the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati.

The Event To Connect will include music and dinner by the Bite Open Bar. Plus, there will be a live auction and about 38 fabulous silent auction items including dinner at Ruby’s and cocktails at Ivy, sports memorabilia, a Belterra package, Disney items and a hopper pass, art from various local artists, several golf packages, holiday baskets, fine restaurant certificates, wine and other alcoholic beverages, entertainment tickets, and much more.
(Volunteer Terri Hogan has been volunteering countless hours to coordinate the silent auction.)

at The Transept on Washington Park
1205 Elm St; Cincinnati
from 7 to 11 pm
valet parking is available

There are a few seats still available. Tickets are $100 or a VIP ticket is $150. To register, please call 513-561-2300, email Carole Willenborg at; or register online here.

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Join Me At The Paw Joggers Run


I am so looking forward to the Paw Joggers Rescue Run on October 18, and hope you will join me.

Billie Mendoza of Paw JoggersThe event is the brainchild of Billie Mendoza, founder and owner of Paw Joggers, a pet fitness and in-home care service, who I have known for years. Since beginning her business, it has grown to serve much of our region including Northern Kentucky. And, as a way of giving back, Billie wanted to raise money for local rescues.

The Paw Joggers Animal Community Fund (Paw Joggers ACF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the local animal welfare community through events, awareness, and monetary donations.  The Paw Joggers ACF and its events are powered solely by Paw Joggers Runvolunteers.

The October 18 event will benefit 43 area animal rescue and advocacy groups. It will include a 5K and 2K raise for people participating with or without dogs. Last year more than 750 raced and $10,659 was given to 32 organizations. Billie and her volunteers are expecting Cincinnati dog trainer Lisa Desatnik to lead a kids and dogs activity at the Paw Joggers Rescue Run at Sharon Woods Parkmany more this year.

I’m excited that this is my second year being a presenter for the event. Through my So Much PETential dog training, I will be leading a contest for children and their dogs, judging with audience participation in categories such as the cutest trick behavior, the best listener (for a dog who listens to and does behaviors asked), and more. If you have a child who will be participating in the race this year, please be sure to enter!

The event will be Sunday, October 18 from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. The race will begin at 10:00 am. It will be at Sharon Woods Park, 11450 Lebanon Rd; Sharonville, OH 45241.

To register, please visit this link.

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Cincinnati Volunteers Raising Money For Amber Rooks Family


At 24, sweet, funny, Amber Rooks, died after a car struck her and four other utility works of the new Liberty Center retail development last month. Friends want to community to join them at a party, May 23, that Amber would have loved – to help raise money for her beloved son who lost his mother way too soon.

Amber RooksThe Memorial Day Mixer will be 1 to 9 pm at Sharon Woods Trail, Saturday May 23. Activities will include volleyball, corn hole tournaments, balloon toss, potato sack races and more. Food will be sold and organizers ask attendees to bring their own drinks.  For more details, please visit the event’s online page.

“Besides challenging the community to come together in this time of loss we want to challenge everyone to help make us all safer by creating what we hope will come to be known as Amber’s List,” said organizer Whitney Lawson. Amber’s List is platform that no one should drive under the influence and that as a family, group of friends, or an organization; we can help each other.

“We challenge such groups of people to create a list of names, phone numbers, and areas close to where they live so that if someone knows that they should not drive there is a willing community to embrace them and make sure that individual and the rest of us are safe,” said Lawson.

theChive Cincinnati is a local organization that focuses on the idea of community with the goal to make the world 10% better. theChive has pinpointed a charity model, just like that of a flash mob. A common ideology of Chivers around is. “We stand tall as individuals and as tall as Everest when someone needs us. We are small percentage wishing to change the world into the best it can be and will not back down for our values.” We invite everyone from all communities to join us for this memorial day mixer for a great cause. If you cannot attend this event there is a gofundme page set up for Dylan at




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Indian Hill High School Students Organize Fundraiser


This post was written by my intern, Andrea Francisco, a senior at Indian Hill High School in Cincinnati

Michael and Becca Daun of Indian Hill in Cincinnati

Becca Daun was inspired by her brother, Michael, to raise money for cognitive research benefiting those with Down syndrome

On Friday, October 24th, come to Indian Hill High School for Touchdown for Downs, a fundraiser that will help fund important cognition research benefiting those who have Down syndrome. A few years ago, an Indian Hill High School student, Becca Daun was inspired by her brother to help fund its research. She created “Touchdown for Downs”, a truly awesome fundraiser that is held during one of Indian Hill’s home football games.

While interviewing my fellow classmate Carissa Contra, a volunteer for Touchdown for Downs, I asked her to tell me what this annual fundraiser is all about. She told me it benefits the Lumind Foundation and The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati. “We are so excited to spread awareness and raise money for a great cause! From raffles to food and drinks, this event is all about having fun and raising money as a community,” she said

After asking her why this cause is important to her and how she got involved, Carissa responded, “Rebecca Daun and I started it to support her brother, Michael, who has Down syndrome, and just raise awareness around the community.”

If you’re wondering, the Lumind Foundation is a foundation that was established in 2004 to fund cognition research relating to Down syndrome. In essence, their mission is to “accelerate the development of treatments to significantly improve cognition, including memory, learning and speech, so they can participate more successfully in school, lead more active and independent lives, and avoid the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.” Their vision is “not a cure, but treatments to improve memory, learning, speech, and ultimately independence.”

Similarly, the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati is another organization that supports people who are impacted by Down syndrome through support programs, community groups, and advocacy work. The organization’s mission is to “empower individuals, educate families, enhance communities and together, celebrate the extraordinary lives of people with Down syndrome.”

Last year’s Touchdown for Downs was a great success: they raised more than $4,000! This year, they hope to have even more people come. This is an event that is sure to stay and create a lasting tradition at Indian Hill. Touchdown for Downs will be held at Indian Hill High School on 6865 Drake Road on Friday, October 24th at 5:30 P.M., where there will be food and drinks under the pavilion. Also, there will be raffles, T-shirt sales, and bake sales. At 7 P.M., Indian Hill will play its game against Wyoming and at halftime there will be a show including the participation of special-needs students. Please come out and support research benefiting people who have Down syndrome while having a fun time at Touchdown for Downs!

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