Gifts, grants and gratitude: Jan. 6, 2021

An occasional update on those earning substantial funding within the nonprofit community

HealthCare Connection

The HealthCare Connection is honored to announce it has received $500,000 from The Humana Foundation to aid in COVID-19 pandemic response and address the growing concern of food insecurity as it affects community and individual health.

The Humana Foundation’s gift is part of its broader, $50 million commitment to coronavirus relief and recovery for organizations that support essential workers, food security, behavioral health and local communities. 

The funding enables The HealthCare Connection to further support its mission of providing quality, culturally sensitive and accessible primary health care services focusing on the medically underserved, underinsured and uninsured residents of northern Hamilton County and surrounding areas. The funds will be used to address food insecurity and social isolation as they relate to chronic disease management and social determinants of good health.

CEO Jolene Joseph of The HealthCare Connection

According to Jolene Joseph, CEO of The HealthCare Connection. “The Humana Foundation’s commitment allows us to build a process to integrate screening for social determinants of health as an additional ‘vital sign’ in our patient care. The funds will also allow us to add case managers to the team who can address patients’ hardships through resource linkages in the community.”

“The Humana Foundation understands the far-reaching strain the pandemic has placed on many organizations working on the frontlines to provide health care, food and employment for those disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, and our aim is to remove barriers and help them respond, recover and rebuild,” said Walter D. Woods, CEO of The Humana Foundation.

The HealthCare Connection is the only safety-net provider focusing on primary care services for low-income, underinsured and uninsured residents of northern Hamilton County who live outside the City of Cincinnati.

Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati

Students at Wyoming Middle School recently surprised the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati with a donation of gently used books. Sixth grade students of Angie Arengo collected 1,270 books to share with those who need them. The students have been learning about literacy to understand the benefits and impact it has on themselves, their community and society.

Wyoming Middle School sixth grade students

According to Arengo, “I am thrilled at my students’ enthusiasm to make an impact, one book at a time, especially when children need access to books more than ever. We hope that these books fill the hands and hearts of all those who read them.”

Sixth grader Maya Patel said, “It felt amazing to see their faces when we handed them the book donations. We have a lack of literacy in our world, making it great to give back when I am so lucky to have access to books!”

In addition to collecting books, students thoughtfully designed custom bookmarks to help inspire and motivate adults and children to continue turning the pages of books. The books were created in English and Spanish and will be used in the Literacy Network’s Little Free Libraries throughout our community.

Literacy Network President Michelle Otten Guenther said, “The generosity of these students demonstrates that you are never too young to make a positive difference in your community. Because of their willingness to share their beloved books, other young people will be able to start their very own personal book collections so that one day they too may have a shelf of favorite books.”

Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road

Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road (GSKWR) launched a ‘Sisterhood Giving Challenge’ on Giving Tuesday with a phenomenal outcome – providing the opportunity for 250 Kentucky girls, who could otherwise not afford to be involved in Girl Scouts, to be part of the Girl Scout Sisterhood.

Rick & Mary Beth Griffith committed to match one hundred Girl Scout memberships. Traditional Bank (fourteen locations in five Kentucky counties: Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Franklin and Montgomery) followed suit by contributing the funds for 40 additional local Girl Scout memberships. Other community supporters, partners and individuals contributed over 100 more Girl Scout memberships, totaling nearly 250 memberships.

Erin Soard from Traditional Bank with Susan Douglas, GSKWR CEO

“As a Council, we couldn’t be more grateful that underserved girls in our local community will have the opportunity to form bonds with other girls, create lasting memories and learn vital life and leadership skills,” said Susan Douglas, CEO of Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road. “The Griffiths, Traditional Bank, and so many others, have reminded us that our community truly sees the value in Girl Scouts and the lifelong impact our programming has on Kentucky’s future leaders.”

And for those ignoring your weight-loss resolutions this year…

Girl Scout Cookies are back and Kentucky Girl Scouts are prepared to sell safely with new innovative virtual tools to optimize socially distant and contactless sales. A brand new cookie, the Toast Yay!™, is exclusively offered by select councils – and only available locally from Kentucky Girl Scouts. Toast Yay!™ is a French toast–inspired cookie dipped in icing.

The Girl Scout Digital Cookie® platform keeps girls front-and- center while offering a convenient way to buy cookies online. Another digital tool, the Smart Cookies Mobile App, allows girls to sell cookies and track their progress right from their mobile devices. Connect with a Girl Scout from your area.

Rotary Club year-end gifts

The Rotary Club of Cincinnati presented more than $72,000 to three charities as a year-end gift to Greater Cincinnati children with disabilities.

Three checks for $24,210.92 each were presented to the executive directors of Autism Society Greater Cincinnati, Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati and Stepping Stones Camp Allyn, which provides recreation, education and social programming for children and adults with disabilities.

Event chairs John Fahrmeier and Carl Kappes III present a check to Mary Helen Richter of the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati.
John Fahrmeier and Carl Kappes III present a check to Jim Hudson, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati.

The funds were raised at the Rotary’s Believe 2 Achieve event. Co-chairs this year were Carl Kappes III and John Fahrmeier. The check presentation was part of the Rotary’s final meeting of the year, which included a performance by members of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

John Fahrmeier, left, and Carl Kappes III, right, present a check to Chris Adams,  executive director of Stepping Stones.
Manami White and Mark Kosmala of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra

A handful of Rotary members conducted the meeting activities, with all participants in masks and carefully distanced. Members and guests accessed the meeting virtually.

Since its inception in 2012, Believe 2 Achieve has raised more than $1 million for nonprofit agencies serving children with disabilities.

United Way of Greater Cincinnati

United Way of Greater Cincinnati reached the $50 million mark in its annual campaign, assuring it has resources to help the Greater Cincinnati region recover and revitalize from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement wraps up a campaign that started three months early, in May, to respond to a community experiencing great need. Food banks saw 300 to 500 percent increases in demand, thousands of emergency food boxes were needed for isolated seniors and homeless women and children required relocation from shelters to places they could safely isolate.

Moira Weir, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati, said many of those challenges remain.

“Hitting the goal is fantastic news for United Way and our community – lives will be changed with this money,” she said. “We thank everyone who helped get us here because the unrelenting effects of COVID-19 assure this money is needed. United Way will continue its path to recovery and revitalization. So many are depending on us and our community – as it always does – rallied to the cause.”

The good campaign news comes on the heels of the amazing $25 million investment national philanthropist MacKenzie Scott made in United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s work. Ms. Scott’s donation is incremental to the $50 million raised through the annual giving campaign.

“I want to thank everyone in the Greater Cincinnati community who stepped up to help United Way reach its goal of $50 million,” said David Taylor, campaign chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble. “I especially want to thank and recognize the 2020 campaign cabinet; so many new voices and perspectives joined those of us long-familiar with United Way to help achieve this milestone.

“With a greater diversity of leaders and ideas, we were able to reach people we haven’t reached before,” he said. “This was not a one-year effort. Our hope is those new to this effort will remain donors and be a critical part of United Way’s long-term success. We are building bridges and opening doors for the future.”

A celebration event will be held via Zoom on Jan. 21, 5-6 p.m.

Envision Partnerships

The Hamilton Prevention Partners Coalition, housed at Envision Partnerships, was awarded a 5-year federal grant that will bring $625,000 to Greater Hamilton. The grant is focused on reducing youth drug and alcohol use. Community partners, including Mayor Pat Moeller, 17Strong! Neighborhoods, Police Chief Bucheit, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Hamilton City Schools, Primary Health Solutions, and H.Y.P.E., will bring their areas of expertise to help determine root causes of substance use among youth and come up with long-term solutions.


ArtsWave, the engine for the region’s arts, announced that $100,000-plus is now available in new relief funds for artists whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 Regional Artist Relief Fund will provide grants of $1,000 each to as many as 100 performing and visual artists who live within the 15-county Greater Cincinnati MSA.* Applications received by 5 p.m. on Jan. 12 will be reviewed by or around Jan. 19; applications received by 5 p.m. on Jan. 26 will be reviewed by or around Feb. 2.  

This funding opportunity mirrors the December distribution of $200,000 in CARES Act dollars by ArtsWave on behalf of the City of Cincinnati, to 107 city-based artists. Thanks to new private sources, including ArtsWave’s Arts Vibrancy Recovery Fund, this next relief program expands assistance to artists who live beyond the city limits.

“We can’t expect our region to restore its cultural vibrancy if our resident artists don’t survive the prolonged loss of work due to COVID-19,” said Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave President & CEO. “Whether they are musicians who perform in clubs or pit orchestras, actors or crew in our regional theaters, visual artists who depend on galleries and art fairs to sell their work, or arts educators whose contracts with schools have been suspended, these highly skilled creative workers are under grave threat as the pandemic wears on.” 

Grant awards will be based on clear demonstration of lost work and financial hardship due to the coronavirus. Awards will reflect the broadest possible range of diversity based on the applicant pool. To be eligible, artists must earn 25% or more of their income through their art and must not have received funding in the prior round.

The 2021 Regional Artist Relief Fund includes $50,000 from the Kent and Martha Savage Family Charitable Fund at Greater Cincinnati Foundation, matched by ArtsWave’s Arts Vibrancy Recovery Fund. In addition, proceeds from Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park’s last day (Jan. 3) of Journey BOREALIS are being donated, as are exhibition revenues from Cincinnati Art Museum’s community engagement days in December and January.

Donate to the 2021 Artist Relief program between now and Jan. 31.  
Eligibility guidelines and application.

*Applicants must live in the Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA, which includes the following counties: Brown, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren Counties in Ohio; Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, and Pendleton Counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn, Ohio, and Union Counties in Indiana.

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