Roger Grein, who spent much of his life and his fortune nourishing a spirit of giving in generations of students, received the 2022 Greater Cincinnati Jefferson Award for outstanding community service.
The award was presented March 24 at a luncheon sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cincinnati, which administers the local award.
As the Greater Cincinnati Jefferson Award winner, the 79-year-old Grein becomes a finalist for one of five national Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Awards for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities awards. The awards have long been known as the Jefferson Awards, considered the Nobel Prizes for community service.
The national awards will be presented in Indianapolis this summer.
Grein, of Montgomery, spent his life sharing what he had with others, living a modest lifestyle while anonymously giving away his wealth to support dozens of charities, said Kelly Collison, executive director of Magnified Giving, the nonprofit agency Grein founded in 2008 at age 65.
Magnified Giving is designed to nourish a philanthropic spirit in students through a school-based program that empowers students to give $1,000 grants to charities that they research.
Grein personally funded the early grant programs and championed the concept with students and teachers. Today, Magnified Giving hosts $1,000-grant programs in 126 schools and youth organizations throughout Greater Cincinnati, holds service-learning summer camps where students engage in hands-on service projects and provides service-learning resources, training and education.
Grein continues to be the face and the heart of Magnified Giving as the agency’s board president and a key member of the finance committee said Collison, who nominated Grein for the award.
Other finalists for the local award were Tracy Brumfield of Price Hill and Rev. Mary Laymon of Mt. Healthy.
Brumfield took her own struggles to find housing and employment after incarceration and turned it into a map for others, creating RISE UP News – a non-profit that publishes RISE newspaper to help inmates prepare for their new life after incarceration.
Rev. Laymon turned a dilapidated dairy farm in Mt. Healthy into a center for hope and transformation called Tikkun Farm. Today it serves about 25,000 people annually, providing free fresh produce, home-delivered crockpot meals, after school and summer camp programs, job training, social interaction and emotional growth and healing programs for people dealing with trauma.
Co-chairs of the 2022 program were Rotary members Doug Adams, a past local winner, and Ali Hubbard. In the past 16 years, nine Greater Cincinnati winners have gone on to receive the national award. Rotarian Bill Shula has spearheaded the program for all those years.
The Rotary Club of Cincinnati, the 17th oldest out of 34,000 clubs worldwide and one of the biggest in the nation, is a service and networking organization with a mission to provide selfless service in the community and the world.