A philanthropist, a pastor and a prison volunteer have been named finalists for the 2022 Greater Cincinnati Jefferson Award.
Rev. Dr. Mary Laymon has been nominated for her volunteer efforts in Mount Healthy’s diverse community. Laymon works as the executive director of Tikkun Farm, a 3.5-acre farm located in Mt. Healthy and founded in 2015. The nonprofit’s name comes from the Hebrew phrase, tikkun olam, which means “repair the world.” Its mission is to heal people, repair community and to call social action and justice through opportunities of meaningful work. Laymon alone has recruited over 200 volunteers and has done even more to strength the lives of those troubled within the community. On top of sharing her surplus food from Tikkun Farm’s free market with smaller food pantries and creating a trauma-informed school and summer program for troubled kids and teens, she also has created a network of partnerships to join forces with other nonprofits to help boost the community’s common life.
Roger Grein was nominated for his time, talent, and treasure to educate youth in our community to be philanthropists, while uplifting educators and nonprofits in the process. In 2008, Grein started Magnified Giving with eight schools, granting thousands of dollars to local nonprofits during that first year. Magnified Giving’s mission is to teach students the importance of philanthropy, service, social causes, and community nonprofits. Its mission is further carried out in three programs: Youth Philanthropy Program, Camp Give, and Service-Learning resources for the community. Since then, Grein has served as the organization’s board chair and president and devoted most of his time inspiring students to be lifelong philanthropists. As a volunteer, and at 79 years old, Grein is still active daily in the organization by visiting classrooms to give motivational speeches, regularly meeting with potential donors and partners, in addition to financially supporting dozens of local nonprofits as well.
Also nominated is Tracy Brumfield, a formerly incarcerated individual who started a nonprofit to publish the only known newspaper being delivered in a jail facility to help inmates prepare for their future after prison. RISE Newspaper was launched in 2017 in Hamilton County with a privately funded grant. RISE newspaper has grown since then, as it is published six times a year. It has also launched RiseTV for multimedia content to play in jails. The organization hopes to launch a Rise Youth edition sometime this year as well. The organization’s media shared to inmates has shown positive responses to their mission of empowering its readers and articles covering helpful information on re-entry needs of anyone who has faced incarceration and the barriers they may face once released. As a former inmate herself, Brumfield experienced these barriers first-hand when returning to the outside community. Brumfield still overcame these obstacles and used her past experiences to help others that will go through the same experiences and delivers a motivating newspaper for them to look forward to until their release date.
One of the three will be named March 24 at a Rotary Club of Cincinnati meeting to advance to the national Jefferson Awards program, which will be held in June. The local winner has won a national honor nine times. The award is presented to those special people in a community who have created a program that serves an unmet need, or a special volunteer who has provided extraordinary service to an organization.