Each summer for the past four years, in working on the post-publicity for the Voices of Giving Awards, I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know stories from some of our area’s truly inspiring philanthropists. And I’ve learned about the Cincinnati area nonprofits whose invaluable work is sustainable only through generosity of people like the honorees. (The Voices of Giving Awards is an event of the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council. It was sponsored by PNC and held at CET.)
While the honorees were honored for their planned gifts, they have done so much for their favorite causes often having been long time volunteers and/or supporters.
Emilie Dressler was one of the honorees. A weekly Guest Services Volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati for 10 years, her genuine care is a vital part of what makes the House so special for families with critically ill
children. Emilie is the first person worried families meet with they come to the Ronald McDonald House, and her smiling face has a magical way of putting them at ease.
“I love helping out and making a difference. If there’s anything I can do to make a family’s stay less stressful, I try to do it,” she said.
Emilie actually helps out in so many ways. In fact, I’m told there is hardly a part of the Ronald McDonald House that she hasn’t been involved in. And so, it makes sense that she would also choose to support the cause financially too. Her bequest gift will help ensure future generations of families find relief there too.
“In a perfect world, there would be no need for Ronald McDonald House. But, since there is still such a great need for the House, my great concern is the wait list to get a room. What these families face is truly overwhelming. I just want to do as much as I can now. And, by making a planned gift, my hope is to help make sure that the House will continue to be there for all families, when they need it most, and that the House will continue to grow long after I am gone,” Emilie said.
Her passion for a cause that is dear to her heart is the common thread she shares with all of the Voices of Giving honorees. Together they have collectively given tens of thousands of dollars to help ensure the sustainability of Cincinnati area nonprofits working to strengthen lives and communities.
“It is truly our greatest honor to recognize such a special group of individuals for their purposeful gifts to ensure the long term welfare of many nonprofits whose work strengthens our families and neighborhoods,” said Lori Asmus, co-chair for the event.
All Voices of Giving honorees included: Patrick J. Cleary (posthumously) – on behalf of Xavier University; Anne Zaring on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Bob Friedman on behalf of CET, The Greater Cincinnati Television Educational Foundation; Emilie Dressler – on behalf of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati; Louise Morrison – on behalf of Life Enriching Communities Foundation; Shirley Davies (posthumously) – on behalf of Life Enriching Communities Foundation; Marianne and Snowden Rowe – People Working Cooperatively; Ruth F. Rosevear – on behalf of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Pops Orchestra; Bill Prosser – on behalf of Cincinnati Public Radio, WGUC; Betsy K. Jameson – on behalf of the Cincinnati Bar Foundation; Vincent H. Beckman (posthumously) – on behalf of the College of Mt. St. Joseph; Thomas G. Cody – on behalf of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Carl Bergman – on behalf of Habitat for Humanity Greater Cincinnati; Trey and Chris Heekin, and Kip and Jenny Heekin – on behalf of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati; Wilbur Cohen – on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati; James A. Miller – on behalf of the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Susan and Tom Young – on behalf of the Cancer Support Community Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky; Barbara and Ted High – on behalf of the Episcopal Retirement Homes; and Carole Blackschleger – on behalf of the American Cancer Society. NOTE: Other honorees requested not to be listed.
For more information on them, please click on this link: 2013 Voices of Giving honorees
The 2013 event was co-chaired by Lori Asmus and Telly McGaha. Committee members included Sally Alspaugh, Diana Collins, Jessi Konnagan, Bruce Favret, Jim Friedman, Misty Griesinger, Bill Hitch, Mary Alice Koch, Susan Kulick, Michelle Mancini, Chandra Mathews-Smith, Tracy Monroe, Carol Stevie, Sue Ellen Stuebing, and Molly Talbot.
The Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council is a professional association for people whose work includes developing, marketing, and administering charitable planned gifts for non-profit institutions and a variety of other legal and financial settings.
I don’t know about you but I find it awfully hard to be outside for any length of time in this humid, intense heat called Cincinnati summer. I know I can get away from it easy enough by going inside my air conditioned house.
But imagine what it is like for those who can not afford air conditioning. Pretty unbearable.
So a special thanks goes out to organizations who are helping those in need by supplying fans. United Way of Greater Cincinnati and Duke Energy are doing their part to provide heat relief with fans.
Duke Energy is providing a $20,000 grant to buy fans for seniors, low-income and people with disabilities in the Greater Cincinnati region. United Way will administer the program, distributing funds to non-profit agencies that serve the needs of those populations.
“We know how overwhelming the oppressive heat and high humidity can be for our customers,” said Jim Henning, president, Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “We hope this grant joins other support in helping people in the community get some relief.”
By dialing 2-1-1 for fan distribution resources, individuals can reach United Way 211, United Way’s 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week health and social services information and referral helpline. Fans will be available in Duke Energy’s service territory of Southwestern Ohio and Northern Kentucky.
Gosh, for so many reasons I am proud to call Cincinnati home. Look around and it is not difficult to find people doing good things, giving back and helping one another, beautifying neighborhoods, and strengthening lives. Diverse cultures joined in workplaces, schools, and gatherings. Together, we make this region thrive.
We have literally hundreds of truly valuable nonprofit organizations whose programs offer hope and enrichment and improve community. They are sustainable only because people – neighbors and friends – care. And for 50 years, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation has been matching charitable donations with causes to bring it all together.
I’d say that is an anniversary worth observing! How neat it is that the GCF is celebrating by inspiring more giving and innovation.
The Big Idea Challenge
In a ground breaking effort, GCF is inviting individuals to come forward with their creative ideas for creating a more vibrant region for The Big Idea Challenge. Through July 29, you can submit your plan online (at this link) that should fall under one of these seven categories:
- Strong Communities: Ensure we have the best places to live by getting more people and organizations involved in comprehensive approaches.
- Cultural Vibrancy: Expand everyone’s connection to the arts, and support the roles of arts and cultural organizations in economic activity in our communities.
- Job Creation: Make more jobs available here by attracting and growing businesses and cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship.
- Environmental Stewardship: Protect our natural environment and promote development of a “green economy.”
- Educational Success: Support children’s learning all along the way from cradle to career.
- Health & Wellness: Pursue healthy lifestyles and create access to health, dental and mental health care.
- Economic Opportunity: Help all individuals and families address their basic needs, get meaningful work, and achieve family financial security.
All submissions are being posted on the Big Idea Challenge web site. After July 29, a panel of community reviewers will narrow down the plans before the ideas are put before the public to vote. In addition to cash prizes for the winners, GCF will find a nonprofit organization to test or implement the seven winning ideas and provide grants to make them happen.
Here are just a few of the great ideas submitted so far:
Piano Mobile – Keys on Wheels
In a retro-fitted van, a keyboard lab will be set-up for 8 students to park and play in neighborhoods across the Greater Cincinnati area. The facilitators aboard each van will instruct students in a 10-week introductory course designed with the beginner in mind. The van will move every 10 weeks to a new neighborhood. Materials and keyboards will be provided to students in daily classes. Minimal tuition could be charged or this could be a scholarship-based program or combination of both.
“I Can” Van
This program is designed to tackle self-esteem issues that continue to hinder the ability of children to build the confidence they need to excel in school & welcome new experiences for lifelong success.
The “I Can” van will partner with local schools and arts organizations to provide approachable, fun and educational programming to be delivered at area parks, community centers and clubs.
What are you waiting for? The time to share your Big Idea is now!
Thanks Greater Cincinnati Foundation for all you do!
The Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project of Northern Kentucky University provides an opportunity for students to participate in experiential philanthropy through a wide variety of courses each year.
The Mayerson project is designed to use a “learn by giving” approach in the college classroom. Every semester select university courses are named Mayerson courses, are given a sum of money, and are asked to evaluate nonprofits and then invest in those they think will make the most effective use of the funds (typically, $1,000 per nonprofit).
Fuel Cincinnati provides micro-grants in amounts ranging from $250 to $2,000 to fund non-profit projects in the Greater Cincinnati region, including the city of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and contiguous communities. Its central mission is to involve young professionals in the region in nonprofit projects in four core areas: (1) education, (2) community building, (3) the environment, and (4) diversity.
If an applicant has a great idea for improving the greater Cincinnati region through a nonprofit project related to one of FUEL’s core areas, and if all that’s standing in the applicant’s way is the lack of a few hundred or a couple of thousand dollars, FUEL exists to remove that obstacle. This is why FUEL prefers to provide the majority of the budget for projects it funds; FUEL’s mission is to make great things happen that wouldn’t happen without it. FUEL fills a gap by making capital available for projects smaller in scale than those typically funded by traditional foundations.
Fuel is supported by generous grants from The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile US Bank Foundation and from The Mayerson Family Foundations.