Gifts, Grants & Gratitude

An occasional digest of what funds are being invested – and how – in our Greater Cincinnati nonprofit community…

Over-the-Rhine Museum

A recent grant, paired with a matching grant from the Over-the-Rhine Museum, will provide preliminary research required to transform the current two-building complex into a museum space.

The grant, totaling $16,286, comes from the Ohio History Fund, and will be combined with $20,000 from the museum.

“We are so excited to get this recognition and assistance from the Ohio History Fund,” said Rob Gioielli, chair of the museum’s board of directors. “This is truly a vote of confidence in our project and the community.”

Board chair Rob Gioielli

The project will include research on Over-the-Rhine and the families who have inhabited the current buildings at 3 West McMicken Avenue, as well as a Historic Structures Report (HSR) by Gray & Pape, Inc., a cultural resources management firm located in Over-the-Rhine. The HSR will detail the construction history of the property, provide an architectural and structural evaluation of existing conditions, and identify current maintenance requirements. All work will be completed in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation.

“Completion of this project will allow the Over-the-Rhine Museum to begin transforming these buildings into a museum space that benefits both neighborhood residents and visitors by building bridges between the stories of the past and present,” said Anne Delano Steinert, the museum’s vice-chair and the lead researcher on the project.

Now in its ninth year, the Ohio History Fund is a competitive matching grants program that is a “tax check-off” fund found on Ohio’s income tax form line 26a. It is funded entirely through Ohio taxpayers’ voluntary contributions and is now administered by the State Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio History Connection.

The Over-the-Rhine Museum proposes to inspire understanding and respect for the people who have created and lived in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood by working with visitors and community members to uncover, present, and preserve their stories in an immersive experience.

UC College of Medicine

A visionary gift honors a University of Cincinnati pioneer in kidney hypertension research and treatment. The $1 million anonymous gift has helped to create the Robert G. Luke, M.D. Endowed Chair in Nephrology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine’s Division of Nephrology and Hypertension.

This chair recognizes the work of Robert Luke, a pioneer in kidney and hypertension research, treatment and medical ethics, and chair of UC’s Department of Internal Medicine from 1988 until 2004.

At a recent meeting, the UC board of trustees approved Charuhas V. Thakar, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the division, to hold this chair in nephrology, which also was supported through matching gifts by the college and alumni donors.

“We are incredibly grateful for this gift and what it means for the future of patient care, research and education” said Andrew T. Filak Jr., M.D., senior vice president for health affairs, Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean of the College of Medicine. “Having the first endowed chair … be named for Dr. Luke is a fitting tribute to his long-term leadership and pivotal work, as well as to the ongoing advances in the division.”

Luke graduated from the University of Glasgow Medical School, and completed a research fellowship at Yale University before returning to his alma mater to serve on its faculty. Prior to becoming chair of UC’s Department of Internal Medicine, Luke served as director of the Nephrology Division at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, and as director of the Research and Training Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In 2018, he received the prestigious Daniel Drake Medal, the College of Medicine’s highest honor, which recognizes outstanding or unique contributions to medical education, scholarship or research. 

According to Gregory Rouan, M.D., Gordon and Helen Hughes Taylor Professor of Medicine and chair of the UC Department of Internal Medicine, “Dr. Charuhas Thakar is an exemplar of a clinician-researcher and educator. He has already demonstrated these abilities by growing the division in an unparalleled fashion based on his leadership attributes and values.”

Thakar was recruited to UC as an assistant professor in 2004, during Luke’s tenure as the department chair, and appointed as the division director in 2014. He is nationally recognized in his discipline for his creativity, innovation as well as clinical and educational excellence.

“I am honored by the position and deeply appreciative of the donors who support our mission and vision” said Thakar. “I am committed to living up to the namesake’s legacy and to grow a nationally recognized research program and nurture the next generations clinicians and scientists in nephrology.”

UC Engineering & UC Health

Messer Construction Co. is partnering with both the University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) and UC Health to establish two funds that support diversity and inclusion programs. This contribution represents Messer’s philanthropic culture and commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community. 

“As an employee-owned company, this investment truly comes from our entire organization,” said Tim Steigerwald, president and CEO of Messer. “I commend UC’s commitment to bringing more diversity into engineering and construction management programs, as well as UC Health’s efforts to advance equity in health care. This is a meaningful way to put our purpose – building better lives for our customers, communities and each other – into action.”

Messer is a longtime benefactor of CEAS and its Office of Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement (IECE). Both the college and Messer strive to create a diverse pipeline of future engineers because it bolsters both the industry and our global society.

This Messer Inclusive Excellence Fund will support initiatives and programs that eliminate barriers and encourage underrepresented students. Through CPS Strong, Cincinnati Public Schools high school students can access the chemistry and physics classes required for CEAS applicants. In addition, the Summer Bridge STEM program is a seven-week experience that helps students successfully transition from high school to college.

“Through inclusion, our goal is to expand opportunity and enhance the diversity of perspectives and ideas in engineering practice and culture,” said UC President Neville G. Pinto. “Messer’s continued support of the engineering talent pipeline and creation of these new funds are visionary steps that will have a positive impact on the future. We thank them for their partnership.”

Whitney Gaskins, Ph.D., assistant dean of IECE, said Messer’s gift will continue the important work of creating opportunities for future and current students. “Industry partners like Messer make an impact on hundreds of elementary, middle school and high school students through community outreach,” she said. “We also engage with current students through various minority-serving student, LGBTQ+ and veteran organizations in the college.”

At UC Health, the Messer Diversity Discretionary Fund will be used for newinitiatives and programs aimed at increasing awareness and addressing the need for racial and ethnic diversity in health care. This work will be spearheaded by UC Health’s first Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Jeanetta Darno, MBA, SPHR

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