I have often said I am so fortunate that my work has introduced me to some pretty incredible people. Carol Stevie is among them. We came to know each other through my work on the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council’s Voices of Giving Awards. A committee member, Carol had been my main point of contact for numerous years. Always appreciative, upbeat and welcoming, she was one of the reasons I looked forward to that project.
Carol was involved through her work with a Cincinnati nonprofit organization, Catholic Inner-City Schools Education (CISE), which supports the education of about 2000 urban students at eight Catholic elementary schools and several Catholic high schools. The CISE schools welcome all children, regardless of their religious backgrounds and economic circumstances. (Around 75% of the students at CISE are not Catholic, 83% are minorities and 93% are poor.) Carol worked there almost twenty years before her retirement, 8.5 years as its part-time associate director and 11 years as its first full-time director.
CISE was, and probably still is, her passion; although now, in her retirement she is enjoying spending quality time with her family – husband Richard, two adult daughters & spouses – Beth Walker (Tom), Laura Ash (Joe) and our four grandchildren Nathan, Evan, Ava and Eli. Retirement also gives me more time to pursue my love of travel and to plan our upcoming adventures. In the fall, she will be doing more volunteering.
Lisa: Tell me about some of what you are most proud of in life.
Carol: One of things of which I am most proud – in addition to my family – is having had the opportunity to work with CISE and have a positive influence on the lives of so many young people. The growth of community support of the CISE program over the past 20 years has been amazing. It was a privilege to work with the dedicated, hardworking CISE Board and staff, as well as with the principals, staff and faculties of the CISE schools. They are all so mission-driven and inspiring. In addition, I am in awe of the extremely generous donors who have done so much for the students at the CISE schools over the years because they feel committed to giving children the same opportunities that they have receive. Everyone involved with CISE shares the belief that education is the key to overcoming poverty.
Lisa: Where does that drive and passion come from?
Carol: My personal belief in the power of education was shaped by my mother. I grew up in East Price Hill and attended St. Lawrence School, now a CISE school. Neither of my parents had the opportunity to attend college and worked hard to provide for our family. My mother was insistent that my sister and I go to college because she wanted us to have more opportunities than she had. Mom went to work full time to pay for our tuition at Seton High School and to put us both through the University of Cincinnati. I am so grateful to her and have been inspired by her selflessness and by the great value she placed on education.
Lisa: Tell me a little about your philosophy on life.
Carol: I believe the reason that I was drawn to CISE is that we are all connected through our humanity. I love the following quote by Dr. Martin Luther King: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.”
It has been such a privilege to be working with the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council for the 7th year in promoting some of our region’s incredibly generous philanthropists through the Voices of Giving Awards. This year the organization honored donors on behalf of 25 nonprofit organizations whose important work is supported by their decision to give a planned gift (and much more in heart and time). Those Greater Cincinnati philanthropists are strengthening local neighborhoods, families and individual lives through their actions.
“Our Voices of Giving honorees have such diverse interests, often with deep rooted passion from personal experiences. They represent the true spirit of philanthropy and their gifts will touch thousands of lives directly and indirectly in our region, for generations to come. Their donations will help these important causes that are close to their hearts to be sustainable for future generations,” said Voices of Giving Co-Chair Molly Talbot, VP of Advancement at St. Ursula Academy.
Several hundred guests attended the Awards Event that was held at CET and emceed by Local 12’s John Lomax.
2016 Honorees included: (please note that honorees from two organizations asked to be left out of publicity and are not listed) Carson Smith (honored posthumously) on behalf of the American Cancer Society; Fran Cohen on behalf of CET – Greater Cincinnati Television Educational Foundation; Joe and Sandy Dominiak on behalf of The Children’s Home of Cincinnati; Thomas Ernst Huenefeld on behalf of Cincinnati Museum Center; Digi France Schueler on behalf of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Mary Rose J. Zink on behalf of Cincinnati Public Radio; Mace Justice on behalf of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Dr. Steve and Diane Dumbauld on behalf of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden; Patricia Armstrong on behalf of the CISE Foundation; Doug Spitler on behalf of Episcopal Retirement Services; Richard Hildbold (honored posthumously) on behalf of the Freestore Foodbank; Jerome and Suzanne Teller on behalf of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute and Isaac M. Wise Temple; Val Schube on behalf of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Rick and Julie Kantor on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati; Rev. Dr. Joseph and Blanch Graham on behalf of Life Enriching Communities Foundation – Twin Towers; Donald L. Neyer on behalf of Life Enriching Communities Foundation – Twin Lakes; Lawrence Klosterkemper on behalf of Mount St. Joseph University and Roger Bacon High School; Jerry W. Warner, Ph.D. on behalf of Northern Kentucky University; Bill and Helene Sedwick on behalf of People Working Cooperatively; Margaret ‘Tuck’ Fraser (honored posthumously) on behalf of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati; Ursulines of Cincinnati on behalf of Saint Ursula Academy; Lisa O’Brien on behalf of United Way of Greater Cincinnati; and Dan and Julie Murphy on behalf of Xavier University.
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.