The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati
Today I want to introduce you to a couple I got to know through my work on the ReelAbilities Film Festival. Jenny McCloy co-chaired the 2017 ReelAbilities, and the more I get to know about her and her husband, Bill, the more impressed I become. Jenny and Bill were recently honored by the Community Foundation West Chester/Liberty with its Patricia F. Alderson Philanthropist of the Year Award. It is a befitting award for two people whose passion is making a difference for so many.
Quietly, without need or want of recognition they give generously with their time and their resources to causes close to their hearts. Jenny is president of the board of Melodic Connections, a Cincinnati nonprofit organization that brings out creative expression in people with disabilities. It is a place where their 22 year old son, Sam, who has Down syndrome and is mostly nonverbal has found a voice. Bill has been very involved with the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati, having served on its Board and as chairman of its golf outing for many years, a role he continues. He is also vice president of the Board of the Ken Anderson Alliance, a nonprofit organization committed to building live, work, and play options for adults with disabilities.
The McCloys have four children. Sam is their second. “One of the things Sam does for us is that he brings to the forefront the importance of supporting those in need. We both have come from very humble beginnings and lived paycheck to paycheck until 1998. We have been very fortunate to be able to do all that we do for others,” Bill told me.
When it comes to giving, Bill was very clear, they do what they do not for any kind of recognition, in fact, they would prefer to keep everything they do between themselves and the organizations and lives they touch. While they are very appreciative, accepting this award was not something that came easy for them or something they took lightly but they realized that their example may impact the decisions of others.
“We have never used the word philanthropist (to define themselves) but we knew we had a responsibility to give back and to influence our children and others. If our giving encourages one other person to give then it is worth putting our name out there,” Bill said.
Bill’s advice to others? “Give in any way, shape and form you can and it will come back many fold.”
This post was written by my intern, Andrea Francisco, a senior at Indian Hill High School in Cincinnati
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!
The Rotary Club of Cincinnati annual Believe 2 Achieve event once again sold out with 400 members and guests raising money for three local nonprofit organizations. The event was emceed by Dave Lapham, former Cincinnati Bengals player and radio analyst with Cincinnati Reds bat boy Teddy Kremer serving as assistant. The $101,000 raised was distributed to Stepping Stones for Camp Allyn, The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati, and The Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati.
To learn more about the Rotary Club of Cincinnati, please visit their website, www.cincinnatirotary.org.