2019 Heart Ball honors Fisher family’s generous spirit

The Fisher family: (back) Michael Fisher, Evelyn Fisher, Marc Fisher, David Fisher, Stacey Fisher, Bobby Fisher; (front) Suzette Fisher, Roberta Fisher and Arna Fisher. Photo by paulludwig.com

The Fisher family: (back) Michael Fisher, Evelyn Fisher, Marc Fisher, David Fisher, Stacey Fisher, Bobby Fisher; (front) Suzette Fisher, Roberta Fisher and Arna Fisher. Photo by paulludwig.com

By Jennifer Hogan Redmond

Altruism is so infused into the Fisher family fabric – and their involvement in the Greater Cincinnati community so broad – that the decision to give them this year’s Heart of the City Award at the American Heart Association’s Cincinnati Heart Ball was obvious. 

“We are honored to be presenting them with this award,” said Alicia Lehnert, senior director, Heart Ball.

Created to recognize nonmedical professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the community, the Heart of the City Award is a tribute to Roberta Fisher, her sons and their spouses – Bobby and Arna Fisher, Michael and Suzette Fisher, Marc and Evelyn Fisher, and Stacey and David Fisher – for their impact in the area. The family’s collective philanthropic endeavors include activities in multiple civic and human services organizations. 

The 26th black-tie gala, themed “Young at Heart,” is scheduled for Saturday, March 2, at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Dinner, dancing, silent and live auctions, and a Young Professionals After-Party are part of the festivities.

Reflected in this year’s theme, “the focus is on children,” explained Lori Fovel, AHA communications director. “But the Heart Ball is not just one night of giving. It is through sponsorships that we’re able to do programming throughout the year.” 

The goal is to raise $2 million for heart disease and stroke research, and grassroots programs such as Recess in the Stadium (made possible by Cincinnati Children’s) and Fit 4 Life Bootcamp (made possible by TriHealth), designed to teach healthy-heart lifestyles to youth. Lehnert notes that significant AHA-funded research takes place at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the University of Cincinnati.

Co-chaired by Mark and Karen Jahnke, with presenting sponsors TriHealth and St. Elizabeth Healthcare, the Heart Ball is expected to draw 1,100 guests.


‘Young at Heart’

AHA’s Annual Heart Ball, March 2, 6:30 p.m., Duke Energy Convention Center

‘Heart of the City’ Honorees:

  • Roberta Fisher, mother of Bobby, David, Marc and Michael Fisher
  • Bobby Fisher, chairman, Quiet Star Capital
  • Arna Fisher, professor, Department of Judaic Studies, University of Cincinnati
  • David Fisher, president, Berman Capital Advisors; founder, Coalesce Advisors
  • Stacey Fisher, Hillels of Georgia and The Epstein School, board of directors
  • Marc Fisher, CEO, Mayerson JCC
  • Evelyn Fisher, volunteer leadership roles with the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, Adath Israel Congregation, Adopt-a-Class and ProKids
  • Michael Fisher, president and CEO, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • Suzette Fisher, past volunteer leadership roles with the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, United Way, YWCA and Rockwern, among others

Tickets are $500. 513-699-4214, pam.schramm@heart.org, cincinnatiheartball.heart.org

Roberta Fisher

Roberta Fisher

Cincinnati native Roberta and her late husband, Melvyn “Mel” Fisher, raised four sons in the Queen City. While she said she is inspired by her children, she and Mel remain the inspiration for their family’s philanthropic endeavors.

What is your favorite way to unwind with your family?

We usually try to do Friday night dinners, and that’s always fun. The family has gotten smaller (as people moved away) as it has grown bigger. I think we’re close to 30-something now with spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

What was the first charity in which you were involved and how?

When I was young, we used to have the Jewish Welfare Fund, which is now the Jewish Federation. They used to come door-to-door, and my father always told my brother and me that we had to give something from our allowance. He said, “Even if it’s a quarter, it doesn’t matter. It’s something that you’re doing to help other people.” That was really my first exposure to doing anything for somebody else. It was a lasting memory, and I have been involved with the Jewish Federation, Cedar Village, Hospice and other organizations since.

Who were the inspirational figures in your life?

Our children. My husband and I always did what we could, but when we saw our children become more involved, it inspired us. My husband became especially involved, not only in Cincinnati but in getting a Jewish chapel built at the Naval Academy (Uriah P. Levy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland). There had been no place for the Jewish students to worship.

What is your life philosophy?

I just hope that my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will continue to carry on the tradition that our family started and always be there for somebody else.

Thoughts regarding the Heart Ball?

The Heart Ball is very special to all of us. We have been touched by heart disease in our family, and it’s important that we support this cause, and hopefully, someday find a cure for it. There’s always room for improvement.

Michael and Suzette Fisher

Michael and Suzette Fisher have been married 33 years
and have four adult children.

What is your favorite date night activity?

We just love being together. We like to hike and walk, and we enjoy our Friday night Jewish Sabbath dinners together with extended family.

What was the first charity in which you were involved and how?

We have done a number of things together in our community. We chaired the United Way Campaign in 2003. (We may have been the first couple in Cincinnati to do that.) And, in partnership with the Jewish Federation and Cincinnati Children’s, we have co-chaired several trips to Israel.

Who are the inspirational figures in your lives?

Suzette: My grandmother, my mother and father, who made time for others, no matter how little they had or how much work they had to do.

Michael: My mom and dad were enormously inspirational and continue to be every day. They taught us integrity, optimism and giving back. I must also mention my friend Tom Cody. Tom has given of himself in so many ways for the betterment of our community.

hat is your family philosophy?

One of the things we’ve shared with our children is what our parents instilled in us: Give of yourself – your time, your wealth and your wisdom. Children watch what you do rather than what you say. We also have consistent and meaningful conversations with them about their opportunities and responsibilities.

Why do you feel it is important to give back to the community?

With our now young adult children, we emphasize that for anything that’s worthwhile, you have to pay a price. Making a difference in the community – you can’t expect others to do it, and you can’t do it half-heartedly. You have to give your time, your energies and tap into your relationships to help move the needle.

Thoughts regarding the Heart Ball?

We really value the American Heart Association. We appreciate this event … and the spirit of the Heart of the City Award. What will continue to make Cincinnati great is that we have people from all walks of life who care.

Bobby and Arna Fisher

Bobby and Arna Fisher

Bobby and Arna Fisher have been married 18 years, six months and 18 days – according to Bobby. In addition to a healthy sense of humor, the couple has eight children and “almost 19” grandchildren between them.

What is your favorite date night or family activity?

Bobby: Being at Camp Kawaga, our family-owned summer camp up in Wisconsin.

Arna: Bobby being
at Camp Kawaga.

What was the first charity in which you were involved and how?

Who can remember? We have each been exposed to philanthropy since we were kids. We recently co-chaired the capital campaign for the move of the Holocaust and Humanity Center to the Museum Center. The move represents an extraordinary moment for the center and Union Terminal, which was the first place where many Holocaust survivors arrived to the safety of Cincinnati.

Who are the inspirational
figures in your lives?

Bobby: I am inspired by my maternal grandfather, Louis Lerner. With only a high school diploma, he was able to capitalize on the opportunities that came his way and evolve into not only a successful businessman but a generous philanthropist.

Arna: I’m inspired by my children who each chose educational and career paths dedicated to serving in nonprofits. 

What is your family philosophy?

To live one’s life with an outward-looking focus, asking: How can we improve our families and communities, and what role should we play?

Why do you feel it is important to give back to the community?

Only way to live! 

David and Stacy Fisher

David and Stacey Fisher

David and Stacey, who have been married 26 years, have a son and
three daughters.

What is your favorite family activity?

David: We are really fortunate that our kids all still really enjoy being with us! We love to travel together or just stay home and have a family dinner. The girls and Stacey have gotten into playing mahjong. My son and I, not so much!

What was the first charity in which you were involved and how?

David: For me, it was the Indiana University campaign of the precursor organization of today’s Jewish Federation of North America. I co-chaired the campaign with a friend from the sorority Sigma Delta Tau. I figured it would be a great way to meet more girls.

Stacey: The United Way, when I was working in public accounting in New York after college.

Who are the inspirational figures in your lives?

Our grandparents and parents have been hugely influential in our lives in many ways. There is no way either of us would have been as successful or engaged in our community had it not been for the example of commitment and leadership they provided.

What is your family philosophy?

There are so many we often refer to. The one that reaches across self, family, relationships, profession and community is that “the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.”

Why do you feel it is important to give back to the community?

We are incredibly fortunate to be in the position to give back and to have the opportunity to help others’ lives
be better. 

Marc and Evelyn Fisher

Marc and Evelyn Fisher

Marc and Evelyn Fisher have been married 27 years and have four children, ages 17 to 25.

What is your favorite date night or family activity?

We enjoy grabbing a sushi dinner together and hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our home.

What was the first charity in which you were involved and how?

We have both been involved in the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. We have served as fundraisers and have volunteered in other capacities, including Marc serving as board president. We have never jointly served on a board or committee as lay leaders.

Who are the inspirational figures in your lives?

Melvyn and Roberta Fisher, David’s parents, for their dedication and commitment to family and community.

What is your family philosophy?

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” From Hillel in “Ethics of Our Fathers.”

Why do you feel it is important to give back to the community?

Someone planted the seeds and took care of our community for us and our family to enjoy and engage. If we don’t take care of it for the next generation, who will? We have also been extremely fortunate and somewhat lucky. While it may sound simple, helping others is in our DNA. Taking care of one another just makes sense, for who knows – at some point in our future, our family circumstances could change, and we might require the support and resources of our community.

Thoughts regarding the Heart Ball?

We are honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association. … The AHA is clearly aligned with our personal values of caring for others and one another.

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