Children’s Home fest Rockin’ online for 2020

The global pandemic has prompted one of Cincinnati’s most well-established nonprofits to shift gears for its annual gala, normally held on Labor Day weekend.

The Children’s Home, established in 1864, facilitates a yearly celebration and fundraiser called Rockin’ at Riverfest that the Cincinnati community has dubbed the region’s “biggest party for a cause.”

Co-chairs Leigh and J.B. Buse, Jeff and Jeannette March

“This year is unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” said Leigh Buse, one of the four 2020 Rockin’ at Riverfest co-chairs. “But child poverty in underserved communities and the need for specialized services that The Children’s Home provides for vulnerable youth won’t go away because of a national crisis. 

“We won’t either,” she said.

Instead of the usual gala, premiere fireworks seating and live auction, the Rockin’ at Riverfest co-chairs are asking neighbors and friends to support the event’s online auction.

 The site will include a video that showcases an autism services student who recently graduated from the agency’s Heidt Center of Excellence. 

The goal of the auction and video is to generate donations to fuel The Children’s Home and its more than 30 programs supporting vulnerable and at-risk children and families. 

“We’re overjoyed that our event sponsors have said they still want to contribute and support our annual event, even though it looks different this year,” said Roderick Hinton, chief administrative officer of The Children’s Home. “Our kids rely on these programs and Cincinnati’s leaders continue to help us change lives.”

Since the pandemic began and rapidly altered the nation’s way of life, The Children’s Home remained open. Every child and family served by the agency’s programs was able to continue to receive care.

No new client needing help was turned away.

“The work The Children’s Home has done during this crisis is commendable,” said J.B. Buse, another co-chair for 2020 Rockin’ at Riverfest. “Just during the initial onset of COVID, they delivered well over 7,000 hours of therapeutic services and their preschool became ‘pandemic certified’ in record time to ensure essential workers still had a safe option for childcare. ‘Pandemic certified’ wasn’t even in the national vernacular a few months ago.”

Another 2020 Rockin’ at Riverfest co-chair, Jeff March, said he will continue his advocacy on behalf of the nonprofit because, he says, the legacy of The Children’s Home is part of Cincinnati’s story.

“The people of Cincinnati have a long history of looking to one another for help during times of need,” he said. “The Children’s Home helps more than 14,000 of our neighbors every year and I am very privileged to link Greater Cincinnati’s leaders to a vulnerable population in need. This is really about securing the future of our Queen City.”

Rockin’ co-chair Jeanette March said the virtual event illustrates the importance of community.

“It’s more important than ever for Cincinnati to stand together for those who have nowhere else to turn,” she said. “Supporting the online auction or donating to support The Children’s Home’s mission changes tens of thousands of lives every year and makes our corner of the world a better place.”


Co-chairs J.B. and Leigh Buse, Jeannette and Jeff March flank Children’s Home Chief Administrative Officer Roderick Hinton

About our Rockin’ 2020 co-chairs:

Jeff March was one of the founders of BRG Realty Group, where he now serves as CEO. Over many years, Jeff and his wife Jeanette have generously donated their talents to various educational and housing initiatives, along with other charitable endeavors, to enhance the lives of those in our community. Jeff is a member of The Children’s Home’s board of trustees, the Cincinnati Country Day School’s foundation board of trustees. He is a past board member of Episcopal Retirement Services, where he also served as chairman of its Affordable Living board. He serves as president of the Apartment Association Outreach, Inc. board and is an active member of the National Apartment Association’s legislative committee. He and Jeanette are members of the United Way Tocqueville Society, and they founded the John P. March Educational Foundation in honor of their infant son who passed away in 2000.

 J.B. Buse serves as chairman and CEO of LOTH, Inc. He is in partnership with The Regional Economic Development Initiative Cincinnati and is a member of the board of executive advisors at Xavier University’s Williams College of Business, as well as the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati. He serves on the board of the Johnny Bench Scholarship Foundation and is a member of the United Way Tocqueville Society. 

Leigh Buse is a CPA and corporate secretary/assistant treasurer for Corporex. She is actively involved in philanthropic efforts benefiting the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and the Morgan Judd Memorial Foundation.


Here’s how you can participate in the online auction.

This story provided by The Children’s Home of Cincinnati.

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