‘Party for a Cause’: Rockin’ at Riverfest returns

By Steven D. Wilson, Ed.D.

The Tristate’s largest “Party for a Cause” was held alongside the resurrected Labor Day fireworks on the Ohio River, Sept. 5.

Rockin’ at Riverfest is the largest annual fundraiser for The Children’s Home. It fuels the more than 30 programs provided by the organization that serves nearly 15,000 children and families each year. The event consists of a gala, live and silent auction, premiere fireworks viewing and live entertainment held at Anderson Pavilion in Smale Park.

“We were blessed to have some amazing co-chairs who tirelessly advocated for the children and families who depend on us,” said John Banchy, president and CEO of The Children’s Home. “Their help was instrumental in convening many of Cincinnati’s leaders at our event who remain committed to the future of our Queen City. Together, we raised over $570,000 that will support Cincinnati’s most vulnerable populations.”

Event co-chairs: Mark and Sara Mercurio, Joelle and Nick Ragland

The event has increased in popularity every year and consistently sells out sponsorships from community partners and business organizations that support children and families. This year, nearly 400 attended one of the largest events of its kind since the onset of COVID.

“We knew planning an event of this magnitude would be a challenge, especially since COVID has become part of the global vernacular,” Banchy said. “But we also know our supporters, friends, and leaders in the community remain devoted to our mission of service. This event is a huge part of fueling our programs as well as showcasing our work to fellow community leaders.”

This year’s event was co-chaired by Nick and Joelle Ragland (Nick is co-chair of the board of directors for The Gorilla Glue Company. Joelle is the owner of Cecitino Home, an interior design company), and Mark and Sara Mercurio (Mark is president and CEO of The Gorilla Glue Company. Sara is an assistant teacher at Montgomery Community Church’s preschool program).

Dr. Robert S. Heidt, Jr., and his wife, Julia Scripps-Heidt, accept the Servant’s Heart Award.

The event featured a short film showcasing the story of Jeremiah Phillips and the impact The Children’s Home has made on the young man and his family. At its conclusion, the room exploded in applause.

“Jeremiah and his family were gracious in sharing their Children’s Home story with our attendees,” said Roderick Hinton, chief administrative officer of The Children’s Home. “The standing ovation and well-wishes he received at the film’s conclusion illustrates the impact of our mission firsthand. Our programs change lives and Rockin’ at Riverfest is the signature event that fuels our programs. I’m grateful to everyone who attended or supported us online.”

Other attendees included Dr. Rob and Julia Scripps-Heidt (Rob is a retired orthopedic surgeon with Wellington Orthopedic & Sports Medicine); Greg and Christina Vollmer (Greg is the managing director at First Financial Bank); John Langenderfer and his wife Renee (John is senior vice-president at Huntington National Bank); Pam and Robert Sibcy (Sibcy Cline Realtors); Jeff March and his wife Jeanette (Jeff is the CEO of BRG Realty Group, LLC); Terry Horan and his wife Christy (Terry is the president and CEO of HORAN Securities, Inc.); Dr. Tom Hayes and his wife Mag (Dr. Hayes is dean of the Williams College of Business at Xavier University); Dr. Gail Kist-Kline and her husband Dr. Keith Kline (Dr. G. Kist-Kline is president of The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences; Dr. K. Kline is the executive director of Grant Us Hope); and Rhonda and Larry Sheakley (Rhonda is an active community volunteer and Larry is the CEO of Sheakley Management).

Co-hosts Tanya O’Rourke and Steve Raleigh from WCPO 9 On Your Side

The Servant’s Heart Award, awarded in honor of the late Tad Lawrence, was presented to Dr. Robert Heidt and Julia-Scripps-Heidt.

“The Children’s Home has been woven into the fabric of Cincinnati since 1864,” said Hinton. “This event, and supporters like our co-chairs, our Board of Trustees, our gracious hosts from WCPO, and the other Cincinnati leaders at Rockin’ demonstrate the best qualities of the Tristate – neighbors coming together to serve one another when it’s needed most.”

Next year’s event is scheduled for Sept. 4, 2022.


This content provided by The Children’s Home.

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